Watchdog points to Blaenau Gwent 'weaknesses'
12:01pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
A WALES Audit Office report into information management has found that Blaenau Gwent council is on track but still has weaknesses which need addressing.
The Wales Audit Office has conducted information management reviews in all local authorities in Wales. The report was part of an attempt to address concerns about the management and quality of information and records within local authorities and the public sector following widely publicised failures, and a perception that improvements in public services are being hampered by inefficient management of information.
The report found arrangements for information governance are developing but are not yet fully established and the developing collaboration with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council is bringing benefit and should allow the Council to make rapid progress to address the current weaknesses.
At a meeting of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee today (Mon), following the presentation of the report councillors heard that the Senior Information Risk Owner or SIRO, currently the Chief Finance Officer, David McAuliffe, will be the responsible officer for the Information Strategy and that the committee will receive periodic reports on the implementation of the proposals for improvement, highlighted in the report.
The report, which was written in November last year but has only just been released said: “Our review of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council concluded that the council’s arrangements for information governance are developing and are not yet fully established.
“The developing collaboration with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council is bringing benefit and should allow the Council to make rapid progress to address the current weaknesses.”
The report said it came to this conclusion because: “The council’s new arrangements for the governance and management of information are sound but need to be fully established and become embedded, before it is possible to properly evaluate their effectiveness. The lack of a formal information strategy makes it difficult to understand the Council’s overall aims and ambitions for information governance.”
The report also found information management performance is mixed, in that in some key areas such as electronic information security and Freedom of Information requests the council had ‘sound’ arrangements in place. The report added weaknesses in other key areas such as disaster recovery pose a risk to the council.
The report suggested a number of proposals for improvement, including reviewing and refreshing the FOI content, including the council’s online publication scheme for its website.
Following the presentation of the report, cllr John Morgan asked that the committee get regular briefings on the collaboration with Merthyr Tydfil, which was approved.
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