- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Category: Assembly Speeches
18 July 2018
Retirement of Huw Vaughan Thomas
Mike Hedges AM I welcome the opportunity to say a few words on the retirement of the auditor general, Huw Vaughan Thomas. I’ve been a member of the Public Accounts Committee, or a substitute member, since 2011. To me, the outgoing auditor general had two great strengths, which I hope Nick Ramsay will agree with me on: knowing what the key areas to investigate and report on were, and proportionality in his response. If anybody follows the auditor general’s reports, the auditor general’s office produces many each year, but it’s actually about identifying the key ones, going into them in detail, and reporting back and taking them before the Public Accounts Committee, because if the Public Accounts Committee received all of them, they’d spend an hour each week just receiving and accepting. So, it’s the proportionality in what to deal with and highlighting major failings of Government departments—Penmon fish farm, Kancoat, Powys Fadog, the Circuit of Wales—projects that could never have succeeded and that should have been picked up by the civil servants at the very earliest moment as projects that were incapable of success. The failure to do that—. The auditor general has brought those to the attention of Welsh Government, which I hope will work in the future—that people will cast a critical eye over projects and whether they actually can work or not. Many projects will fail, many good projects will fail for all sorts of reasons, but if the auditor general leaves us with something, it’s that people cast a critical eye over projects and say, ‘Can this project actually succeed?’, and when the answer is ‘no’, then those projects don’t get taken forward and money is not spent on them. Can I just finally wish Huw Vaughan Thomas a long and happy retirement? I’ve enjoyed seven years of discussions, not always agreements with him, but always something that I think I’ve learnt a lot from, and I hope he’s enjoyed.