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Our Accounts – Audit

Documents with figures, and an iPad with graphs and charts
Documents with figures, and an iPad with graphs and charts

WEST MIDLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY

EXTERNAL AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS: YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2020

Publication of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority Statement of Accounts and Audit Opinion

The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015 – Regulation 10

As Amended By

The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

The audit of the draft statement of accounts for the year ended 31 March 2020 for West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority has not yet been completed by the external auditors, Grant Thornton UK LLP. The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 require that the audited accounts and opinion is published by 30 November 2020.

The delay has arisen due to a combination of factors, comprising the following:

  • the impact of Covid-19 on both the complexity of the audit and pace at which it can be completed;
  • the increased assurance work that auditors are required to carry out nationally with respect to asset valuations.

The audit and issue of the audit opinion is expected to conclude during January 2021 after which the statement of accounts and audit opinion will be published as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Therefore, this notice of delayed audit is being published in accordance with Regulation 10, paragraph (2a) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015. See attached link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/234/regulation/10/made

Electrical Fire Safety Week

Light bulb electrical

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is urging people to take extra care as they head online to snap up Black Friday bargains. 

With nearly two thirds of fires in West Midlands homes linked to electrical equipment, WMFS is urging consumers only to buy from legitimate and reputable sellers.

A photo of a electric extension catching fire with 'It only takes one accident to start a fire' written over it

The warning comes in Electrical Fire Safety Week, in which the organisation Electrical Safety First joins forces with the Home Office to promote safety in the home. 

Partnership Support Officer, Julie Winpenny, from our Community Safety team said: “The pandemic means that more people than ever are expected to head online to do their Christmas shopping or to bag a Black Friday bargain. We’re urging shoppers to be extra vigilant when buying electrical items, to avoid a potentially dangerous Christmas.

Over the last three years, we’ve seen an almost 20 per cent increase in casualties linked to electrical fires. With more people at home during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we all ‘think electrical fire safety’.

Faults in wiring or devices make electrical fires one of the top three suspected causes of fires at home. If you’re working from home, avoid overloading plug sockets and only use the correct charging units for your devices. Never leave laptops or mobile phones charging overnight.

Many people are reaching for the Christmas decorations earlier than usual this year, to bring some festive cheer to 2020.

Julie added: Before you plug in your Christmas lights, be sure to give them a thorough check for any signs of damage. If you’re lighting up the outside of your home, only use lights designed for that purpose.  And always remember to switch your Christmas lights off if you go out and when you go to bed.”

More tips to help you put electrical safety first:  

  • never leave items charging under pillows or on/in your bed 
  • in a microwave only use containers, plates and bowls that are certified for microwave use 
  • regularly check electric blankets for wear and tear – for example, frayed wires – and don’t use them if you spot damage 
  • ensure that large kitchen appliances such as fridges and freezers have adequate ventilation space and use correct wiring and venting pipes (where appropriate) 
  • register your electrical goods! This helps manufacturers to contact you if a product is faulty or dangerous. You can find popular brands and their registration pages on our Register Products page.

 Please visit our electrical safety page for more advice.

No need to speed

A car's speedometer

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is supporting this year’s BRAKE National Road Safety Week 2020 (16- 22 Nov 2020).

This year’s campaign focuses on the ‘what, why and where’ of speed – and the wide-ranging impacts it can have on different people in different environments.

Road safety week no need to speed graphic

Peter Allington, of WMFS’s Road Casualty Reduction Team, said; “We work closely with local road safety partners to coordinate our road safety prevention activities.

“Our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions across the West Midlands by 40% over the next 10 years, as set out in the West Midlands Regional Road Safety Strategy.

“We fully support BRAKE’s ‘No Need To Speed’ campaign. We would urge all drivers to drive safely, within the speed limit or road conditions. This is especially important where there are more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and e-scooter riders.”

Slower traffic can make places feel more welcoming for the people who live, work, and play in them. Choosing, for example, to walk or cycle to get around can also bring health, fitness and wellbeing benefits.

Did you know?

Almost a quarter of road traffic collisions involve someone who was driving too fast (Source: Department for Transport 2020)

Every year, more than 3,000 children and young people aged 0-17 are killed or suffer life-changing injuries on Britain’s roads Department of Transport, 2019)

Road traffic collisions are the biggest killer of children and young people aged 5-29 worldwide (Source: World Health Organisation, 2019)

Check out our ‘On the Roads’ advice and safety tips: https://www.wmfs.net/safety/on-the-road/

Have a happy, safe Diwali!

Diwali divas in a circle

This Diwali (Sat 14-Sun 15 Nov), West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is urging families to celebrate with extra care.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is one of the biggest celebrations in the Sikh, Hindu and Jain calendar. Fireworks, candles and oil lamps, as well as special meals with family and friends, usually add to the festive mood.

This year, however, restrictions on social gatherings because of the pandemic and the current lockdown, mean that many public events have been cancelled – meaning that more people might be tempted to use fireworks at home.

Diwali divas in a circle

Between 2014 and 2019, WMFS firefighters responded to some 1,760 firework and bonfire-related incidents. During the same period, there were more than 1,000 severe burn injuries involving fireworks in England and Wales, with 38% of these involving under-15s and the majority being male.

Divas and candles also have the potential to cause serious burns and fires if not used and extinguished properly. Families are being encouraged to take care with hot oil and ensure that traditional clothing, such as saris, and long hair are kept away from naked flames.

Watch Commander Gurpreet Gill, of WMFS, said: “Diwali is a really special time for me and my family, as well as thousands of other households across the West Midlands. This year the celebrations will be much smaller and feel very different, but it’s important we all keep a focus on safety.

“Please be sure to follow the current rules on social gatherings, and take extra care with candles and divas – LEDs can be a safe, colourful alternative. If you’re cooking up a feast, never leave your cooking unattended, be careful with hot oil and keep an eye on the kids in the kitchen.

“Our biggest concern this year is the use of fireworks in back gardens. If you feel you must go ahead with your own Diwali firework celebration, plan ahead and remember that fireworks are explosives. Buy suitable, legal fireworks from a licensed supplier and ensure you have enough outdoor space to use them safely – usually between five and 25 metres – in accordance with the instructions.”

For more fire safety advice and guidance to keep you and your family safe during Diwali, please visit https://www.wmfs.net/safety/at-home/

Recently-introduced Government legislation gives police the powers to fine people who break lockdown measures. Restrictions on social gatherings – both nationally and locally – are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ease pressures on the NHS.

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