Belfast Telegraph

More scrutiny for Housing Executive

Special accountability measures are to be introduced in a bid to tighten up on the management of the Housing Executive.

The executive is failing its tenants and taxpayers, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has told the assembly.

He is to bring in extra measures including greater oversight of the executive by the department.

He disclosed details of an independent report on multimillion-pound maintenance contracts and said tenants were "not getting the services expected or being paid for by the taxpayer".

It follows the resignation of executive chairman Brian Rowntree over the controversy.

Mr McCausland said contractors claimed for more doors than existed in a house.

"Once again whilst officials will wish to consider this report in detail its overall conclusion is that senior management within the Northern Ireland Housing Executive have not acted quickly enough to resolve the issue of the agreement of the draft reports from the (Housing Executive's) Repairs Inspection Unit," he said.

"In expending so much effort in debating the methodology used in producing the reports, the Housing Executive has failed to focus on the significant findings in the reports. Time that could have been better spent addressing the issues identified has instead been lost in protracted internal debate."

He said 11 of 12 executive reports on repairs contained a negative rating and highlighted issues of poor workmanship and inaccurate charging.

New accountability measures will see the executive more closely watched by the Department of Social Development, including fortnightly reports on areas of concern and increased meetings.

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