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Fraud In The Statutory Repairs System In Edinburgh?


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#1 Scunnered

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 09:35 AM

This might be of interest. There were some stories in the local press a while ago about alleged fraud in the council in connection with Edinburgh's system for statutory repairs. Now the BBC has this:

Corruption claims against Edinburgh council officials

BBC Scotland has uncovered evidence of possible fraud and serious wrongdoing in building works overseen by Edinburgh City Council.

There are calls for a review of recent work carried out under the statutory notice system, which allows the council to order repairs to private homes.

The BBC heard claims of bribes being offered by contractors, overcharging, unnecessary and poor quality work.

The council said it would not comment until a police inquiry had ended.

Mark Turley, director of Services for communities at Edinburgh City Council, said: "The ongoing independent investigations by Deloitte and the police mean it wouldn't be appropriate for us to carry out an interview."

The fraud unit at Lothian and Borders Police is currently investigating the council's property conservation department, which deals with statutory notices.

Over the past year about 15 of its officials - nearly half the department - have been suspended in a move the council described as "precautionary". The local authority also called in Deloitte auditors to carry out an investigation, which is still ongoing.

[continues...]


There's a TV programme as well which seems to have been broadcast last Tuesday, but is on again this evening [Saturday 24th] at 7.15pm on BBC Scotland. See http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b0154z83, where there's also an iPlayer link.

[Edit for typo in title]

Edited by Scunnered, 24 September 2011 - 11:15 AM.

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#2 qwerty1984

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 09:55 AM

This might be of interest. There were some stories in the local press a while ago about alleged fraud in the council in connection with Edinburgh's system for statutory repairs. Now the BBC has this:

Corruption claims against Edinburgh council officials



There's a TV programme as well which seems to have been broadcast last Tuesday, but is on again this evening [Saturday 24th] at 7.15pm on BBC Scotland. See http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b0154z83, where there's also an iPlayer link.


Half the department suspended as a "precautionary" measure. Jesus wept! :o :o

I've always thought that the statutory notice system was a licence to print money for the contractors involved. In many cases they are doing work charging thousands of pounds and the repairs are never seen by any of the residents being up on the roof or gables, so you only have their and the council's word for it that it was ever done or even necessary in the first place.

The whole thing was ripe for exploitation on both sides-brown envelopes in exchange for getting the contract to do the works, more brown envelopes in exchange for signing off additional work that suddenly needs doing.

When I owned my flat in Merchiston we got off "lightly" when the council swept through in 2007 (about 500) inspecting roofs and stonework but only because as a stair we had annual inspections and running repairs from our own roofer and were in a position to dispute any claimed work that needed doing. The 500 related to chimneys on the top of the roof that were common to many stairs and so we could not organise the repairs ourselves.

In many cases people that are not wealthy have been hit with 5 figure bills. If any of the council are convicted of fraud or corruption then all the work that was approved could be subject to refund claims by the affected residents. What a mess!

At least the council are running the tram project well or they really would be a laughing stock. Eh? Oh.

but the block next door got hit for thousands

#3 Scunnered

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 11:12 AM

Evening News: Four more staff suspended over statutory repairs.

AT LEAST four more council employees have been suspended following the wide-scale investigation into the city's statutory repairs system, the Evening News can reveal.
Three more workers were suspended last week and a fourth was ordered from his post at the end of August, taking the total number of suspensions to around 18.

The Evening News understands that Lothian and Borders Police fraud unit has now cranked up its investigation, appointing a full-time team to trawl through documents.

Sources have told how police and independent auditor Deloitte have already uncovered evidence of serious wrongdoing, which could lead a number of people being charged

...


No wonder houses cost so much in Edinburgh.
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#4 BessOfHardwick

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 11:04 PM

I totally accept that there has been corruption in some quarters here. But I have to say the system has worked well in the case of my stair.

When I bought my flat, the stair was under stat.notice for repairs from roof to other vital structural repairs. Looking at the several (independent) survey reports, the tenement - Victorian but not listed - desperately needed the repairs, e.g. the roof had not been touched for more than 40 years, causing a variety of damage. The reason the owners in the building couldn't get the work done, and eventually applied to the council for a stat. notice, was because 3 landlords out of 9 flats - all absentee landlords - refused point blank to contribute to any repairs. A local and reputable firm was contracted and the work all done over a period of 3 years. I bought my flat with no liability for the work, which cost about 10k per flat, from one of the landlords who threw his cards in in disgust at actually having to maintain his own building. The price was fair and the work has been fully documented and inspectable.

If such a system of stat. notices didn't exist, our repairs would be well nigh impossible to execute.

#5 suggs

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:38 PM

Half the department suspended as a "precautionary" measure. Jesus wept! :o :o

I've always thought that the statutory notice system was a licence to print money for the contractors involved. In many cases they are doing work charging thousands of pounds and the repairs are never seen by any of the residents being up on the roof or gables, so you only have their and the council's word for it that it was ever done or even necessary in the first place.

The whole thing was ripe for exploitation on both sides-brown envelopes in exchange for getting the contract to do the works, more brown envelopes in exchange for signing off additional work that suddenly needs doing.

When I owned my flat in Merchiston we got off "lightly" when the council swept through in 2007 (about 500) inspecting roofs and stonework but only because as a stair we had annual inspections and running repairs from our own roofer and were in a position to dispute any claimed work that needed doing. The 500 related to chimneys on the top of the roof that were common to many stairs and so we could not organise the repairs ourselves.

In many cases people that are not wealthy have been hit with 5 figure bills. If any of the council are convicted of fraud or corruption then all the work that was approved could be subject to refund claims by the affected residents. What a mess!

At least the council are running the tram project well or they really would be a laughing stock. Eh? Oh.

but the block next door got hit for thousands


SFS Are undertaking a root and branch investigation into this and i heard the other day on the radio there have been arrests made.

#6 wurdoomed

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:50 AM

SFS Are undertaking a root and branch investigation into this and i heard the other day on the radio there have been arrests made.





I hope they get what they deserve, and not just hit on the back of the head with a plastic cup.

#7 oligotroph

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 11:18 AM

I totally accept that there has been corruption in some quarters here. But I have to say the system has worked well in the case of my stair.

When I bought my flat, the stair was under stat.notice for repairs from roof to other vital structural repairs. Looking at the several (independent) survey reports, the tenement - Victorian but not listed - desperately needed the repairs, e.g. the roof had not been touched for more than 40 years, causing a variety of damage. The reason the owners in the building couldn't get the work done, and eventually applied to the council for a stat. notice, was because 3 landlords out of 9 flats - all absentee landlords - refused point blank to contribute to any repairs. A local and reputable firm was contracted and the work all done over a period of 3 years. I bought my flat with no liability for the work, which cost about 10k per flat, from one of the landlords who threw his cards in in disgust at actually having to maintain his own building. The price was fair and the work has been fully documented and inspectable.

If such a system of stat. notices didn't exist, our repairs would be well nigh impossible to execute.


When it works properly it is a good system, I hope the people involved in this get handed a sentence that serves as a deterrent to further corruption.

I do wonder if the high building standards of old scottish tennements (compared to crappy modern buildings) tempts factors/contractors into fraud because they wouldnt make much cash from just fixing the odd fallen slate.

#8 wurdoomed

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 02:05 PM

When it works properly it is a good system, I hope the people involved in this get handed a sentence that serves as a deterrent to further corruption.

I do wonder if the high building standards of old scottish tennements (compared to crappy modern buildings) tempts factors/contractors into fraud because they wouldnt make much cash from just fixing the odd fallen slate.



Its a lethal mix, ....putting public sector workers in charge of spending the private sectors money, with insufficient oversight and the opportunity for personal gain of the conspirators.....surprising its taken so long to surface when you think about it




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