Housing Executive: Maintenance Contracts
Nelson McCausland (DUP)
Last year, I became increasingly concerned that the issues that led to the termination of the Red Sky contract by the Housing Executive in July 2011 may be present in other contracts that had not been the subject of any full investigation. I asked for a forensic investigation to be carried out of a sample of Housing Executive maintenance contracts, including those of the contractors to whom the Red Sky contract was reassigned on its termination on 14 July 2011. That is to provide me with assurances in relation to: ensuring the issues that led to the termination of the Red Sky contract are not present in other response maintenance contracts; the provision of the best possible value-for-money services to Housing Executive tenants; and the appropriate use of public funds.
The investigation has been carried out, and it considered, amongst other things: the quality of the workmanship undertaken; whether the invoices submitted by the contractors and paid by the Housing Executive were appropriate within the context of the work requested and the work actually carried out; whether the inspection regime in place in the Housing Executive operated as expected; whether the key controls in place to manage contracts — to ensure that the quality of works undertaken is monitored and price variations are identified, valued and approved — are adequate and operate effectively; a classification of any financial anomalies identified during round 1, which involved contractors assigned to the Red Sky contract, and round 2 inspections, which involved other contractors; and an extrapolation of any findings from round 1 and round 2 to determine the possible level of any overcharging or errors. That investigation work has now been completed, and I am due to meet the Housing Executive later this afternoon. The final report will be due on 29 June 2012, which is this Friday, and I am sure that it is eagerly awaited.