HC Deb 18 November 2003 vol 413 c724W
Mr. Gerald Howarth

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons the Defence Dental Agency's Account Direction for financial year 1997–98 was withdrawn. [139685]

Ruth Kelly

An accounts direction for the Defence Dental Agency (DDA) for 1997–98 was issued in March 1996 on the understanding that satisfactory accounting systems would be in place for that financial year. It was withdrawn in January 1999 when it became apparent that, because of difficulties with the stock recording systems on which DDA and a number of agencies within MOD relied, DDA would be unable to prepare accounts for 1997–98 which would have received an unqualified audit opinion from the Comptroller and Auditor General. At that time, the policy was not to issue accounts directions if there was a probability that the auditors would be unable to give an unqualified opinion–this policy is no longer applied.