Spending watchdog chief 'quit over laptop porn'

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The Independent Online

The head of Wales's public spending watchdog resigned after pornography was found on his laptop, it was reported today.

Jeremy Colman stood down as the Auditor General for Wales yesterday after an internal investigation into his personal conduct.



Today the Western Mail reported that pornography had been discovered on his computer.



His departure caused surprise around Cardiff Bay when it was announced suddenly by the Welsh Assembly's authorities.



The Wales Audit Office (WAO), the body he led, would not be drawn on the specific reasons for his resignation, which was forwarded to the Queen and will take effect immediately once accepted.



In a statement today, the WAO said: "Jeremy Colman stood down yesterday from the office of Auditor General for Wales following an internal review around matters of personal conduct.



"We cannot elaborate any further at this moment in time."



Mr Colman was appointed for a five-year term in 2005, extended for a further three years last May.



An interim appointment is likely to be made as finding a permanent replacement will take several months.



The Assembly's Public Accounts Committee is responsible for overseeing the selection process. Members were briefed on the procedure by its chairman Jonathan Morgan.



The WAO's day-to-day running will be handled by its executive committee.



Created in 2005, it is responsible for auditing and inspecting a wide range of public services.



The Auditor General is independent of the Assembly and of the Welsh Assembly Government.



His statutory powers and responsibilities include auditing the accounts of the Assembly Government and other public bodies, including within the NHS.



A report into the WAO last year said a small number of staff grievances alleged bullying and harassment.



The International Peer Review, published in October, criticised a "lack of trust" within the organisation.



It said the Auditor General was accessible and willing to speak to any member of staff, but there were "clearly wider issues of trust and confidence in decision-making and the wider senior management team".



Leaked staff surveys and other sensitive information was damaging the WAO's reputation, it added.



Unhealthy tensions between bosses were highlighted, as were perceptions of nepotism in the way staff were chosen for projects.



Information obtained by an AM also revealed five WAO managers were subject to disciplinary action or investigations between April 2005 and last October following complaints by staff.



All managers were given advice or asked to attend courses on workplace bullying.



Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood called for an investigation into the organisation after the disclosure.

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