KEVIN Madge, leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, tonight released the following statement following the disclosure that the local authority will be investigated by Gloucestershire Constabulary over the Wales Audit Office findings.

“I welcome the police involvement as this is now the only way for the public to have the re-assurance that they deserve.

“I am proud of what we have achieved in these past two years and with our budget proposals moving us towards a living wage, investing in the future and protecting vital services I am confident for the future.

"We need an end to the political point-scoring that have dogged this authority, and I am hopeful that the other parties and groups are willing to put aside past differences and work together to secure a better future for Carmarthenshire.”

"The last few weeks have been difficult for the authority and I want to put on record my thanks to the staff for their hard work and continued commitment. Above all else we need to continue to deliver high quality public services and to invest in the future of our communities. Anything which prevents that is a distraction and needs to be urgently addressed.

"This is why today I have instigated action so that the authority can learn the lessons from the past and move forward.

"I have today asked the Welsh Local Government Association to lead on an external review of our corporate governance and oversight so that it meets the highest possible standards.

"Furthermore I am today inviting all group leaders to join a cross-party working group on improving accountability and transparency.

" Together, these actions will ensure that the public we serve have the ability to influence and question the work we do on their behalf. This will improve the decisions taken and the services we deliver.

“I will be meeting with colleagues and officers over the coming days to discuss next steps.”