Headlines: December 22nd, 1999

The National Audit Office has criticised the Fire Service College for a glaring gap in its financial information system. The College is required to recover all its costs from fire authorities and other customers. At the same time the prices charged must not exceed the full cost of the courses. The auditors could not discover whether the College was meeting these requirements because there was no reliable link between costs and charges.The auditors were also critical of the way in which course costings had been calculated. The costings were based on 1995 data which had not been updated and the recovery of indirect costs had risen from 50% of direct costs in 1993 to 130% in 1997. There was no data to support the rise of indirect costs.