The National Audit Office is an agency renowned for its stuffiness and humourless value-for-money reports. And with such a serious job to do, it is no wonder. So Taking Stock was surprised to discover a rather strange phenomenon in the NAO's latest report entitled 'The millennium threat: Are we ready?' which examines the government's preparedness for the threat. In a section on emergency planning in authorities such as Birmingham City Council, readers will be amused to find a photograph of pop star Sir Cliff Richard. But the accompanying comments offer no insight into what councils should do in case of the dire emergency of the ageing crooner making a personal appearance at their offices. Should public-sector accountants be prepared to turn off the lights? Perhaps they should unplug the computers? No? It turns out that Sir Cliff is simply being used to illustrate the city's millennium celebration where he is set to perform in another musical extravaganza.
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