Who is the Council answerable to?
Council elections are held every 4-5 years.
All councils must identify three statutory officers - the head of paid service, the monitoring officer, and the chief financial officer. These posts have special powers and duties to intervene where an authority is acting unlawfully. These officers have special protection in law to allow them to carry out their duties without fear of losing their jobs.
In Powys the Head of Paid Service is the Chief Executive, the Monitoring Officer is the Solicitor to the council and the Head of Finance and Corporate Performance is the chief financial officer.
The council's powers and duties are set out in various Acts of Parliament. Some of these powers are mandatory, which means that the council must do what is required by law. Others are discretionary, allowing the council to do something if it wishes.
The council's Monitoring Officer makes sure that the council works within the law at all times.
Audit and inspection
A variety of regulators and inspectorates hold the council to account and provide information on how well we're doing. The aim of this national framework, established through statute or government guidance, is to ensure that minimum standards of service are met.
The Wales Audit Office is an independent body with statutory responsibilities to audit public sector bodies in Wales and to promote improvements in the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of public services. External audit is an important part of making sure the council is accountable for the way it spends public money. External auditors give an independent opinion on our annual accounts and report on some of the methods we use to make sure we conduct our financial affairs and use resources properly. This report takes the form of the audit letter.
We know that one of our major roles is to make sure people and businesses get good services which are good value for money. We therefore welcomed the Government's legislation requiring local authorities to continuously improve through the application of the principles of Best Value, and the Wales Programme for improvement.
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
The Ombudsman looks into complaints about public services in Wales and is independent and impartial. The service is provided free of charge.
The ombudsman can look at local government; National Health Service organisations, including GPs; the National Assembly for Wales and many of the public bodies that it funds. From 1 April 2006 the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales took on additional powers dealing with the conduct of Town and Community Councils.
The Ombudsman also investigates complaints that local authority councillors, including community councillors, have broken their authority's code of conduct.
The current Public Services Ombudsman for Wales is Peter Tyndall.