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Friday, 26 May, 2000, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
International aid department praised
Clare Short
Clare Short's department was praised over Kosovo aid
The Department for International Development has been praised by the National Audit Office for the role it played in easing the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo last year.

The NAO said Clare Short's department had "worked quickly with a wide range of other organisations to deliver aid on the ground in difficult and dangerous conditions."

David Davis, chairman of the House of Commons public accounts committee, said that the report showed that the DfID "deserved congratulations for its work in restoring power and water supplies, providing health services and clearing mines."

However, the spending watchdog noted that some aspects of the 110m effort could have been improved. It made recommendations aimed at making sure that future operations had the maximum impact.

'Can improve in some areas'

It noted that the DfID had deposited 14m with the Crown Agents Financial Services to pay for its operations when the crisis began. However, this amount of money was not needed at any one time and the month-end balance never fell below 2.7m.

The NAO said that if that situation arose again. the excess money should be used elsewhere rather than allowed to sit there, unused.

Another point was that the department could not show it was getting the best deal on chartering aircraft, an area in which it spent 2.3m.

The watchdog also said that lack of standardised procedures meant field workers had to spend too much time on administration, and it wanted the DfID to make sure it had clear arrangements to monitor all the projects it funded.

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Kosovo: One year on
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Key stories:
Nato's incomplete victory
The view from Kosovo
Serbs fear new war
Nato strikes: The untold story
An Uneasy Peace
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