Monday, 3 February 2014

Conservatives challenge Property Repairs secrecy

Conservative Finance Spokesman Cllr Iain Whyte today challenged the need to hold a discussion of a report on the Council's resolution of the Property Repairs scandal in private.  The Committee went ahead behind closed doors after the Convener accepted that there may be confidential legal advice given to Committee. 
Iain Whyte said:  "I wanted as much discussion of this issue as possible in public as people are angry that the Council hasn't yet resolved the affected property owners complaints or finalised bills for those left in limbo as they haven't been given a cost for work that was carried out.  The report at the meeting today was largely about setting the procedure and not about individual cases and I believe the procedure should be a matter of public record.
"Following the discussion I successfully pressed for a greater proportion of cases where there is a proposal to write off debt, to come to a Council Committee rather than simply be decided behind closed doors by officers.  This can give councillors and the affected owners more confidence that their case is being dealt with in an open way.  It can also strike a balance by ensuring Council officers don't just throw further large amounts of public money at the issue to 'make the problem go away'. 
"Finally, I have successfully persuaded the Committee that we need monthly reports on the resolution process as many owners are concerned at the slow progress made to date so far.  Now we can hold the officers to account over the performance of the system.  Conservative councillors want to see a more open approach in future and a swift resolution to the many cases that have caused owners so much distress."
For further information contact Iain Whyte on 07879 486133.

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