A new report claims a single Fire and Rescue Service in Scotland will face major challenges, including "weak leadership" and "high spending".
The Scottish Government's policy of creating a single force by next April has been described as the most radical plan in the history of the modern fire service.
And, despite the arguments that the move will lead to greater efficiency and less bureaucracy, many people in Scotland remain to be convinced that the plans will have any benefits for communities.
On Thursday, an Accounts Commission report delivered its verdict on the scheme to trim the existing emergency organisations to just one centralised body which will happen in less than nine months.
The report claimed that a single fire service would face major challenges, including "weak leadership", "an inward-looking competitive culture" and "high spending."
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said a single force would harness the best of Scotland's services.
He said: "This is about making sure we level up, it certainly won't be levelling down, we'll maintain the coninuity of services.
"Where we can learn from best practice in another area we'll seek to make sure that is what is done."
The Government expects the new measure to save £293m over the course of 15 years.
And supporters claim the proposal was part of the manifesto, which preceded a stunning victory for Alex Salmond's Nationalist party at last year's Holyrood elections.
However, critics say the reforms will lead to increased risk for many parts of Scotland, particularly those out with the central belt and in isolated areas.