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Auditor to probe Pembrokeshire Council chief's £330,000 pay-off

The Wales Audit Office has confirmed it is investigating the severance arrangement agreed with Pembrokeshire Council's departing Chief Executive Bryn Parry-Jones.

Credit: Pembrokeshire Council

On Thursday, the council announced that Mr Parry-Jones would leave his post by the end of the month, with councillors agreeing a settlement thought to be £330,000.

It follows a row over cash payments to Mr Parry-Jones in lieu of pension contributions.

Welsh NHS: Health Minister hits out at 'spurious accusations'

Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM has tweeted a strong defence of the Welsh NHS.

It follows allegations printed in the Mail on Sunday over poor care for dementia patients at a ward at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

On Sunday, the Welsh Government said it was aware of a review commissioned by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the police investigation.

The health board says it has apologised to patients and their families, adding that the ward has been closed since last December.

Minister: Charity 'deliberately misleads' public about prisons

The Prisons Minister has strongly rejected claims from charity the Howard League for Penal Reform that prisons are "in crisis" due to staff shortages.

Andrew Selous said: "It's beyond me why the Howard League go out of their way to deliberately mislead the public on the state of our prisons."

"They are less overcrowded than they have been for a decade and they are well-run, due to the dedication of the hard-working staff in them. Consistently trying to claim otherwise helps no one," he added.

The charity says the number of officers at Cardiff Prison fell by 40% between 2010 and 2014 Credit: PA

The Howard League says its figures, obtained from MoJ 'statistical releases', showed a 40% fall in officer numbers at Cardiff Prison, a 32% fall at Swansea, and a 33% fall at Usk/Pencoed.

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Public-sector prison officers in Wales 'cut by 37%'

Prison reform charity The Howard League for Penal Reform says the number of officers at public sector prisons in Wales has been reduced by 37% over the last four years.

Credit: PA

The charity says officer numbers have fallen from 505 to 320 between August 2010 and June 2014.

Frances Crook, the Howard League's chief executive, said: "The prison system is in crisis, and these figures reveal why."

"While the prison population has grown, officer numbers have been cut without any thought for the consequences."

Hundreds of jobs created following Canadian IT firm expansion plans

First Minister Carwyn Jones with Michael Roach, President of CGI Group in Montreal earlier this year. Credit: Welsh Government

£3.2 million in business finance from the Welsh Government has secured 620 new jobs at information technology firm CGI in Bridgend. Elsewhere US car exhaust firm Tenneco-Walker is opening its new factory in Merthyr Tydfil today - creating over 220 posts.

CGI is an important employer in south Wales and I am delighted it has committed to continuing to develop its workforce in the region. Today’s announcement is excellent news for the region with 620 new skilled jobs that will yield knock-on benefits for local businesses and the wider community. The Welsh Government has recently awarded CGI anchor company status in recognition of its economic contribution and commitment to on going expansion in Wales. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the company to support its contribution to the Welsh economy.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones met CGI's president during a visit to Canada in July, when he awarded CGI the status of an anchor company in the Welsh economy. It's been given Skills Growth Wales' largest ever training grant and the statements after the meeting in Canada hinted at further expansion in Wales.

CGI describes its Welsh business as delivering "a range of outsourcing, application services and infrastructure services to clients across the UK" and claims to be the fifth largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world.

The announcement is being made on the same day the Economy Minister Edwina Hart officially opens Tenneco-Walker's new manufacturing facility in Merthyr Tydfil.

The car parts manufacturing company's investment in this new plant has been supported by the Welsh Government.

It will create 224 jobs and help maintain a further 36 and will complement the company's existing plant in Tredegar.

"Tenneco-Walker's decision to open another factory in the vicinity reflects the productivity, loyalty and calibre of the staff they employ...It is a major vote of confidence in Wales and I am delighted that support from the Welsh Government helped encourage the investment here as other locations were under consideration."

– Edwina Hart, Economy Minister

Welsh Government 'aware of independent report'

The Welsh Government said it was aware of review commissioned by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the police investigation. A spokesperson added that it would be inappropriate to comment further while the police investigation was ongoing.

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar described the allegations as "deeply shocking" and said ministers needed to clarify their knowledge of the allegations and what action was taken.

Former Welsh Secretary David Jones MP says allegations about the care on dementia ward at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd make 'shocking reading.'

It is clear that professional standards at Tawel Fan were disgracefully low. They impacted badly on highly vulnerable patients, whose families were entitled to look to the NHS for proper standards of care.

– David Jones MP, Conservative, West
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