Service gets audit praise

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A FIRE service has been given the thumbs up by a Government watchdog.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Authority has been handed a clean bill of financial health by the Audit Commission following the annual audit of accounts for the 2011-12 financial year.

The Audit Commission has undertaken the annual audit that looks at the financial accounting policies and procedures that are in place and assesses arrangements for value for money.

Coun Ossie Johnson, chairman of the audit and finance committee at the authority, said: “The Audit Commission has again issued an unqualified audit opinion and importantly, has identified that we have proper arrangements in place for securing value for money. We have worked hard to ensure we are as prepared as we can be for the cuts we expect to receive over the next few years.”

Authority treasurer John Hewitt said: “The Audit Commission has recognised that this fire authority has strong financial governance arrangements in place and a robust approach to managing the public’s money.

“While the future financial position for the authority will clearly be challenging, this authority has already taken a number of difficult decisions to ensure it is well placed to respond to the further anticipated cuts to service funding.”