INTERNATIONAL accountancy firm Mazars is to open its first office in the North East after winning a five-year contract for public sector audit work.
The company is taking on the work and 49 staff previously employed by the Audit Commission, which is being shut by the Government.
The new office, at Aykley Heads in Durham, will cover the North East and North Yorkshire and builds on Mazars’ presence in the North, where it also has offices in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.
The Durham office will open with 34 public sector audit clients on its books, including include councils, police authorities, fire and rescue authorities, NHS primary care trusts and the Tyne & Wear passenger transport executive, Nexus.
They are part of a five-year contract, which is worth £3.7m annually.
Partner Gareth Davies, Mazars’ head of public sector, said: “We will be building on the new team’s huge public sector experience to offer an exciting new choice to clients across the region.
“I joined the firm in May, before that I was with the Audit Commission. The Government is abolishing the Audit Commission.
“We won the contract for the North East and North Yorks. From November 1, we take over that work and the team that did that work.”
Mazars is aiming to win additional work in the education and housing association sectors and is also targeting the private sector.
Davies added: “It’s been growing quickly. The North East was the last part of the country where he hadn’t opened an office.
“Mazars has taken 4,500 sq ft there on a nine-year lease, demonstrating our commitment to the North East and to our new clients there.”
Ian Wrightson, Mazars’ managing partner for the North, said: “We’re delighted with the opportunity to bring Mazars’ full range of services to the North East and look forward to developing our links with businesses in the region.”
The public sector team at the Durham office will be led by directors Cameron Waddell, Mark Kirkham and Steve Nicklin.
A similar situation is going on nationwide with the abolition of the Audit Commission, with private sector firms bidding for its work and transferring its staff.