WE SUSPECT that for many people in this corner of Wales the fact that there is an organisation called the Caldicot and Wentlooge Levels Internal Drainage Board will come as a bit of a surprise.

But following the publication of the damning Wales Audit Office report into the running of this body, it will now certainly be recognised.

And in our view the increasing public scrutiny which will inevitably follow today’s report has to be a good thing.

This public body has existed for many years, working to make sure the Gwent Levels do not flood. Its remit it to serve the people who live and work on the Gwent Levels.

It is not a glamorous or high-profile role, but it is vital and the public does need to be able to have confidence that it is being run properly.

Today we are able to reveal the full extent of problems at the heart of this small organisation which, according to the WAO report, lost sight of the fact that it was a public body.

Instead it allowed money to be spent on trips abroad for members, overpaid its most senior member of staff and on occasions acted contrary to the law.

The criticism could not be more serious.

We are aware fundamental changes have now been made to ensure the body operates as it should, in the interests of the public it serves.