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Housing body extends Red Sky deal

The Housing Executive has extended its contract with in-administration maintenance firm Red Sky for eight weeks to allow for further investigation.

The Housing Executive terminated an £8 million-a-year deal with Red Sky in April following a finance dispute. The company is still working for the Executive while new arrangements are made.

Red Sky employs 450 people. The Executive made the decision to withdraw the contract after it carried out an investigation into the firm's work practices, including the finance issues.

A Department of Social Development spokesman confirmed that the minister has asked the Housing Executive to extend the Red Sky contract for eight weeks from July 14 while investigations continue. The contract had been due to end on July 14 but has been temporarily renewed while the financial allegations are probed to ensure maintenance work continues at Housing Executive properties.

DSD minister Nelson McCausland said: "Since coming into office I have become increasingly concerned about the processes in place in the Housing Executive to ensure that contracts for maintenance work are properly managed."

He said investigations into two contractors have revealed serious issues and significant failures in the Housing Executive. Meanwhile, investigations into activities of Housing Executive staff, which are ongoing, have led to disciplinary action being taken including dismissal, suspension and demotion.

Mr McCausland added: "The public deserve the highest level of service. Clearly the Housing Executive has not delivered this.

"Initially there will be a full forensic examination into a sample of the current contracts. Should it prove necessary, further investigations will be taken forward. I need to know how far these failings go, both within the Housing Executive and amongst appointed contractors.

"I now have significant concerns about the contracts process and I have asked the Housing Executive to suspend any actions to reassign current contracts, provided services to tenants are maintained, until detailed investigations have been carried out in relation to all contracts."

Press Association

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