Friday, 26 April 2013

Property Repairs Scandal

The full extent of Edinburgh's property repairs scandal is closer to being uncovered with the long delayed publication of the two Deloitte reports which investigated the scandal. 

The reports were published at noon today (Friday 26 May) on the Council website.  As there are still some disciplinary issues ongoing there are many redactions in the published reports.  The release follows repeated calls from Cllr Cameron Rose, leader of the Edinburgh Conservatives on the Council for the publication of the reports.

Four issues stand out.
  1. The human cost of the scandal: There are 726 official complaints from property owners under review. Each of these represents a group of people who believe they have been dealt with unfairly. Complaints include owners who believe they have been overcharged, had inflated work carried out or received sub standard work.  The majority of these have still to be resolved and the speed is worryingly slow.
  2. The financial cost of the scandal:  By the end of 2012 there still remained almost £40m of uncollected debt owing to Edinburgh Council - a result of the mismanagement.  The scale of the scandal and its cost to the people of Edinburgh is emphasised by this amount being outstanding 9 months after the Project Power report was completed in March 2012.
  3. Release of the report.  Despite repeated claims of openness and transparency by the current administration there has been delay after delay in releasing this information which show some of the extent of the malpractice and mismanagement which has taken place on a very damaging scale.
  4. Corruption and mismanagement: Police proceedings are live in relation to a number of people and companies related to the activity of the Council's Property Conservation and Property Care services. Internal disciplinary proceedings are continuing.
The publication of the two Deloitte reports, even with redactions, is an important, if belated, step in shining a light on what really went on and bringing redress to the many who have suffered - some over many years.  It is not the full story by any means.

The delays in the publication of the reports, the slow response to resolving the outstanding complaints and the delays in recovering legitimate debts, continue to cost the Edinburgh taxpayer dear.

The Labour/SNP administration need to do much more to resolve the blockages preventing quicker redress to the many aggrieved property owners.  The financial losses to the Council need to be addressed more quickly.

The reports can be found here

The Project Power Report was provided to the Council in March 2012 and the Project Solar report in June 2012

Further infomation from Cllr Cameron Rose.

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