£12.3m cost of housing repairs mistakes
Date published: 02 September 2013
HOUSING 21’s chief executive has left her post after mistakes were made costing the company a staggering £12.3 million.
Pushpa Raguvaran quit following the discovery of sub-standard works at properties being refurbished as part of a private finance initiative contract in Oldham.
Housing 21 has had to cover the cost of correcting inadequate heating and drainage systems put in place by contractors Bullock Construction after Oldham Council said the work didn’t meet the specification agreed in the contract. The problems relate to work on a £132 million PFI project to build or refurbish more than 1,400 homes for retired Oldhamers.
Housing 21 has now come to an agreement with the council to put the mistakes right and complete the project over the next three years.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet member for environment and housing, said: “Oldham Council always acts to protect tenants’ rights.
“We recognise that the tenants are living in much better conditions and are happy with the works that have been carried out to their homes.
“However, it would be wrong of us not to ensure that the works conform exactly to the specifications that were laid down in the original PFI agreement. That is also part of our wider duty to ensure that we deliver value for money for all council taxpayers.
“As a co-operative council we work closely with partners, across all sectors, to get the right outcomes for tenants. We have stuck to our guns on these matters since 2006. Our stance has been vindicated by independent legal opinion and we’re now pleased to have new contractual agreements with Housing 21.
“These will rectify the properties and we now look forward, with confidence, to the completion of this rebuilding and refurbishment programme in a manner that will minimise any disruption and inconvenience to our tenants.”
When the problems came to light, Housing 21 commissioned an external review agreed with the Homes and Communities Agency to examine what went wrong.
HCA inspectors said they had identified weaknesses in risk management and in internal controls.
Bruce Moore, former chief executive at Hanover, will take over as interim chief executive at Housing 21 on Monday, September 9.
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