National Park improvements recognised in Auditor General’s Annual Report

The report, which is the first of its kind under new legislation introduced in April 2010, delivered some important messages on how Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority is planning to improve its services over the coming months.  For release 28th January 2011

The report praised many elements of the National Park Authority’s work, particularly the effective leadership that has laid firm foundations for improvement, but also challenged the Authority to sustain the momentum that will lead to further improvement. 

The report highlighted positive improvements in these areas:

1. Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority has successfully restructured to give a stronger role to Members and a clearer direction from senior staff.  Partnerships and staff management are working well.
2. The Authority’s financial transactions were fair and effective in controlling the money it spends.  It also acknowledged that the Authority is responding in a positive manner to likely funding cuts.
3. A significant improvement has been made in planning appeals for 2009/2010.
4. Planning applications are being dealt with relatively quickly.
5. The Authority has done well in reducing its electricity use by 10% and reducing its carbon footprint by 13.5% in 2009/2010.

The report highlighted that the Authority needed to work on improving the response time to enforcement complaints, although acknowledged that a small management team meant that some improvements would take time to implement.

Cllr Eric Saxon, Chairman for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said:  “The National Park Authority welcomes the Wales Audit Office Annual Improvement Report.   We have had the chance to express our views throughout the assessment and these have been accurately reflected in the report.  The report very clearly shows that the Authority has improved in many areas and I, along with my fellow Members have great faith in John Cook, our Chief Executive and his Corporate Management Team to drive the Authority’s good work forward.  We have made enormous progress in recent years having had the benefit of an effective improvement programme in place. 

“There are still, of course, areas of concern and over the coming months we will work together to make sure that any shortcomings will be addressed.  As Chairman, I am particularly focussed on ensuring that Members and staff understand the important role they play in the improvement of the National Park Authority and stand shoulder to shoulder to deliver those improvements to the communities and the people who rely on our services.”