North Wales AM slams ‘waffle’ response from Assembly Government

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

AN ASSEMBLY Member who helped expose the Plas Madoc Communities First scandal has dismissed the Assembly Government’s response as “waffle”.

Janet Ryder, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, told the public accounts committee, which produced a damning report on the matter, that the government had failed to take on board the criticisms level at the Communities First programme.

Her criticism’s were echoed by the Auditor General for Wales, Gillian Body, who described the WAG response as “vague” in her evidence to the accounts committee.

According to the committee’s report, the Communities First programme has not delivered good value for the millions of pounds of public money spent on the most disadvantaged communities in Wales.

The report blames the “weaknesses in the Welsh Government’s construction and management of the programme”.

Ms Ryder said: “The original report was a comprehensive and rigorous critique of the government’s failure to monitor and evaluate the Communities First project.

“That failing led to a real breakdown in the organisation in Plas Madoc.

“Although I’m sure some other Communities First projects are delivering good results, there may be other Plas Madocs out there because we have not seen proper political supervision.”

She added: “The government’s response really is just a lot of waffle and seems complacent about the extent of the problem.

“They have been given a damning verdict on a pet project from the auditor general and should now face up to their responsibilities.

“I am not happy at all that the government is recommending an evaluation of Communities First that would take us into 2011.

“I want a clear timescale from WAG on how they intend to measure the programme’s success and achievement. That should happen within a matter of
weeks and months not years.”

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