Council change approach to statutory repair complaints

Statutory noticesThis week the Council is set to agree to a new approach to dealing with legacy issues surrounding the statutory repairs scandal in the city.

There are various strands to this story including complaints resolution, outstanding project billing, the recovery of outstanding debt and the delivery of a new replacement service.

Until this week, each of these strands was being overseen by different departments of the Council.  However, a review of the whole process has found that the fragmented approach has hampered progress.

In response, the Council has decided to bring responsibility for all aspects of the statutory repairs legacy under the control of the Director of Corporate Governance, Alastair Maclean.  As part of that responsibility, Mr Maclean will be given authority to write off sums and approve compensation settlements of up to £100,000.

I believe that bringing these strands together is a sensible approach which should hopefully provide strategic focus in ensuring a faster, fairer outcome for the hundreds of households still affected.

Also this week, the Council received the latest update on progress towards delivering a new enforcement service to replace the statutory notice model. To date the Council has commissioned work to consult with homeowners to gauge their thoughts on what the new service should deliver and has sought legal advice on the most suitable method of delivering the new service.

It is vital that we get the detail of the replacement service right to ensure the safety of our buildings and the amenity of people’s homes.   I am continuing to discuss this issue with colleagues on the Council to make clear my support for a new enforcement system that can command public support.  At the same time, I am working on amendments to the Scottish Government’s Housing Bill to try to address some of the issues that prevent owners from taking forward repairs themselves.

To that end I’m meeting the Housing Minister, Margaret Burgess MSP, tomorrow to follow up the discussions from last week’s Stage 2 of the Housing Bill.  You can read our discussions in the Official Report here.