Why does the Wales Audit Office hold events?

Why do we attend events across the country? Our Communications Officer Megan Powell-Williams tells us more…

Recently, I was speaking to friends over dinner and mentioned that I’d be working at the Royal Welsh Show in July. A few of them looked puzzled and questioned why the Wales Audit Office would need to exhibit at an agricultural event full of sheep, cattle and other farm animals – given the nature of our work.

This made me wonder; why do we bother with events such as this?

I know that most of my friends have an understanding of what it is that I do as a Communications Officer, but not as many of them know what the Wales Audit Office actually does, and I feel this may well be the same for many people in Wales (including me, before I joined the organisation!)

Taking the message to the masses

This is where exhibiting at a show that attracted 241,971 visitors last year is important. It provides an opportunity for the general public (who use the public services provided by the organisations we audit) the chance to talk to us face to face, understand more about us, and hear more about the great work that we do.

We are also able to demonstrate that our work has an important role to play in everyone’s lives.

Wales Audit Office staff talking to the public at the Royal Welsh Show 2015

Staff of the Wales Audit Office speaking to the public at the Royal Welsh Show in July 2015

Working together

As the broader political and financial environment alters, events can demonstrate how the Wales Audit Office is adapting to change, as well as identifying risks, challenges or benefits that accompany these changes.

A good example of this is the Royal Welsh Show. For us, it is the perfect opportunity to communicate the findings of our most recent or significant reports to the public and other stakeholders who are affected by their outcomes.

The chance to meet people face to face and talk about our work is fundamental to the way we operate. We strive to make public money count, and in doing so we have an obligation to inform taxpayers in Wales about the work we are undertaking.

Wales Audit Office staff talking to the public at the Royal Welsh Show 2015

This year we will be exhibiting at the event with  Inspection Wales; a programme of joint and collaborative working between the other external review bodies in Wales – CSSIW, Estyn, HIW and the WAO.

Where else are we going?

The Royal Welsh isn’t the only event we’re preparing for. For example, we’ll be hosting a joint event between the new Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, and the Auditor General for Wales on the 22nd November – to promote the new working relationship between the two, and their organisations, to leaders of public bodies in Wales, and working through how they intend to work with public bodies to make the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act a reality and a success in Wales.

Events can also provide us with the opportunity to work with other public bodies to inspire future leaders. We’re working across the public sector to hold a conference on 1 November for all finance trainees working in the Welsh public service to promote the value and importance of a finance career in publically-funded organisations.

Our Good Practice Exchange team also hosts a number of events during the year, promoting and sharing good practice in the public sector using real life examples with a wide audience.

Delegates listening to speakers at the Staff Trust Seminar in September 2015

The Good Practice Exchange held a Staff Trust seminar in September 2015, sharing practical case studies from academics and public bodies.

The next time I talk to friends about my events role, I’ll have complete confidence in saying that the people of Wales deserve to know that their money is being accounted for and used wisely, and that those who are responsible for the services we use day to day are delivering them well – and we help them to succeed in doing so.

Megan Powell-WilliamsAbout the author:
Megan Powell-Williams is a Communications Officer at the Wales Audit Office, helping to support the day to day activities of the Communications team, with a particular focus on events. Megan previously worked as a Bilingual Publisher within the team, and came to the organisation after working for England 2015 to help deliver the Rugby World Cup matches in Cardiff.

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