Wales politics

Sport Wales: Welsh Government faces 'serious questions'

Adele Baumgardt
Image caption Adele Baumgardt was sacked as vice-chairwoman of Sport Wales by the Welsh Government on Wednesday

"Serious questions" should be asked of the Welsh Government over public appointments, the former vice-chairwoman of Sport Wales has said.

Adele Baumgardt was sacked alongside chairman of the troubled quango Paul Thomas on Wednesday.

Ms Baumgardt, who had worked for Sport Wales for more than 10 years, said Mr Thomas was not fit for the job - an allegation he denies

The Welsh Government said there were "lessons to be learned".

In November, the Welsh Government suspended the entire Sport Wales board, over concerns the organisation was dysfunctional.

On Wednesday Public Health Minister Rebecca Evans sacked Mr Thomas and Ms Baumgardt saying there had been "an irretrievable breakdown in relationships" in the board's leadership.

Speaking to BBC's Good Morning Wales programme, Ms Baumgardt said the board had been "well governed, managed and led" and would go from "strength to strength" under new leadership.

She claimed Sport Wales had been one of the most successful public organisations in Wales until the appointment of Mr Thomas in April 2016.

"To have ended up in this situation, I think serious questions need to be asked about how the process works with public appointments," said Ms Baumgardt.

"This is a really strong organisation with a strong board."

Image copyright Welsh Government
Image caption Paul Thomas was suspended in November

Ms Baumgardt, who worked at the organisation for more than 10 years, repeated claims that Mr Thomas was not fit for the job, an accusation Mr Thomas has rejected.

She insisted there was no evidence she had done anything wrong and there was no reason why she should have been sacked.

Mr Thomas has accused the Welsh Government of being "appalling" in its dealings with him, saying he had not been given the support he needed to change the organisation,

Sport Wales, originally called the Sports Council for Wales, was created in 1972 to promote elite and grassroots sport. It has an annual budget of £22m.

Over the last six months it has become embroiled in a series of rows over the operation of the board and the way it awards contracts.

A review of Sport Wales, by the Welsh Government, has been completed, but has not been released to the public.

A Welsh Government spokesman said a review examining Mr Thomas' appointment confirmed the proper process had been followed.

"The appointment process complied fully with the principles of merit, fairness and openness," he said.

"There are lessons to be learned from the situation that arose and what is required of individuals being appointed to a public leadership role."

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