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Council's 'step-change' over accounts

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A district auditor has cautiously commended Norwich City Council for starting to address significant problems in the handling of its accounts.

“The council has undoubtedly made a step-change in terms of the presentation of its accounts,” says Andy Perrin.

“We are still striving for an unqualified opinion for 2007/8. I can't say for sure you will get there. We have listed a number of issues that remain to be resolved.”

He added there was likely to issue some qualification on a 'value for money' opinion following his latest interim report on behalf of the Audit Commission.

“There is still room for improvement in three areas. It's an improvement on last year, but work still needs to be done as we move forward,” he said.

According to the local Eastern Daily press newspaper website, accounts had gone£2m into the red and the Audit Commission issued a warning notice the authority would be taken over if it could not get its books right.

The website report on the latest meeting of the council's audit committee says Mr Perrin was encouraged by progress made in the last 12 months.

Norwich City Council chief executive Laura McGillivray is quoted: "I think we are now moving very positively in the right direction.

"I would like to reassure people that not only do we have sound financial accounts and regular financial information, but we have also built up reserves, so that we are in a position to weather the difficult financial teams, and because of sound financial advice we did not put any money in Iceland."

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