THE Audit Commission has praised Durham Aged Mineworkers' Homes Association (Dahma) for the way it runs its organisation.

Dahma was recently reviewed by inspectors from the commission and was given a two-star rating, citing its strong customer focus and good, low-cost services.

The inspection also found that the association, which is an almshouse charity and a housing association, also demonstrated an effective approach to repairs and maintenance.

In achieving two out of a possible three stars, it was also found that there were "excellent prospects" for improvement.

June Slatter, the Audit Commission's leading housing inspector for the North-East, said: "This is a pleasing result. Although it is the largest almshouse association in the country, it is only half the size of the average housing association.

"Notwithstanding its small size, it delivers good services. The inspection showed an organisation which combines a high level of customer care with services that are above average when compared to other associations."