Essex Fire Authority Audit, Governance & Review Committee

Amongst the items discussed at yesterday’s Essex Fire Authority Audit, Governance & Review Committee was the Annual Governance Review. This one of a number of audit documents, which despite the good and hard work of those at the EFA, showed that there are some causes for concern.

On page four of the document, under a section entitled ‘Effectiveness’, is the following table.

This is described thus: The table below compares the audit results for the last five years:

Limited Assurance or No Assurance Reasonable Assurance Substantial Assurance
2010/11 0 10 4
2011/12 0 4 2
2012/13 1 5 2
2013/14 2 4 3
2014/15 2 4 3

The Essex Fire Authority is not a body to play political games with. However, because of the critically important job that it does I think it must be properly scrutinised.

The internal controls appear to be robust, but when three follow-up items have not been passed, and therefore have to go forward for another year, then this is an area for concern.

I asked of the auditor at one point: “I work in the automotive industry. To use a motoring analogy, would you drive a car with this level of assurance?” That I got no answer to this spoke volumes. The EFA has got to do better.

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