Council reports on stat notices investigation

At the end of October Councillors in Edinburgh approved a report on the on-going investigation into statutory repairs in the city.

The report confirms that over 500 cases will be reviewed after complaints from residents on a number of aspects of the system.

In addition, the report outlines initial proposals to develop a new property conservation service, details of interim arrangements to continue repairs work and some of the financial implications of the situation.

The 513 complaints received by the Council have identified concerns about the quality, necessity and cost of work carried out on homes as well as concerns over project management and communication from the Council.

I have written to the Council on behalf of those who have contacted me about this issue to ask if their cases are amongst the 513 on record. 

I am anxious that constituents’ concerns are considered as part of the Council’s investigations.

This review, along with a police investigation which has seen staff suspended is still on-going but the findings to date have allowed the Council to make some initial plans.

Consultation on a new service will begin shortly and the findings will be reported back to the Council by the middle of next year.

Key components of the new system are greater emphasis on owner involvement, a thorough review of financial controls and clearer project management arrangements.

Importantly, a requirement to review projects with owners, seeking their agreement where scope, cost or timescale of works are changed, is included in the proposals.

While arrangements for the new service are being developed, interim plans will allow work to continue and bring to an end to the restriction which has seen only urgent and on-going work undertaken.

While this interim report is a step in the right direction, there are a number of outstanding issues that need to be addressed including any potential compensation and the alleged corrupt practices in the system.

Over the last couple of years I have assisted a number of constituents with complaints. People accept that there is a need to ensure the quality and safety of our built environment and I will continue to press for an improved system which can command public confidence.