Overpriced Contract Services, Substandard Work in Scotland Under Investigation

Lucas Gilmore, “Big 4″ observer
April 21, 2011 /

The Edinburgh Council has called in auditors from global accounting firm Deloitte to conduct an investigation into the alleged overpriced contract services and insufficient and substandard works in property repairs.

The council has so far suspended eight of its staff tagged in the anomalous practices that involved millions of pounds worth of property repair contracts. The suspensions were only part of the “precautionary measures” of the council according to its spokesperson.

The first suspension took place in November, followed by another in succeeding months until March.

Deloitte auditors and Lothian and Borders Police took the task to investigate the inflated price of contract services that produced insufficient works which did not meet the council’s standards. The appointment was confirmed by Mark Turley, director of the council’s services for communities department.

The malpractices involved Edinburgh’s statutory notice system used by the council to effect necessary repairs to private properties and reclaim the total costs from the property owners.

According to a local news source, the contract services, valued at around £300,000, involved roofing works whose implementation took mandate from the statutory notice system but turned out to be substandard, thus the need to redo the project.

The project covered 13 properties that got repaired using insufficient materials which were one third less than the specified thickness by the council. Claims accused the council staff of deliberately overlooking the anomaly.

The allegations of contract services overpricing and substandard works were raised by Councillor Stefan Tymkewycz who met up with the investigators last week to share further information about the fraudulent practices.

The Edinburgh Council serves 3000 statutory notices on properties annually.

The council expects to receive Deloitte’s report on April 28.

Sue Bruce, the council’s chief executive, appointed the investigators and ordered a review into the questioned contract services and on-site inspection.

Meanwhile, the repair works will continue amid investigation by Deloitte and police authorities. Bruce assured that the remaining works will be completed on time.

 

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