Home Business News Southwark Liberal Democrats expose scale of council failures in major works programmes

Southwark Liberal Democrats expose scale of council failures in major works programmes

by LLB political Reporter
6th Mar 24 7:29 am

In a scathing critique of Southwark Labour council administration’s handling of major works programmes.

The Opposition Group unveiled concerning data and highlighted systemic failures that have plagued projects between April 2016 and January 2024.

During a three hour grilling of the Devon Mansions and Canada Estate major works programme by the Overview and Scrutiny committee, Cllr Victor Chamberlain, Leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrat Group, raised damning data he received from senior officers three minutes after the meeting started which showed since the QHIP (major works) programme started: 1,658 stage 1 complaints have been received, one in four projects have run over by more than 100 days, and the same proportion have overspent, with half of those being overspends of more than £100k.

The data Reveals Troubling Trends:

  • Complaints Escalate: Southwark Liberal Democrats’ data exposes a disturbing rise in most serious second stage complaints
  • Financial Mismanagement: Shocking overspends and delays in project completion paint a dire picture of fiscal mismanagement, with 55 projects showing significant budgetary discrepancies.
  • Lack of Accountability: The Lib Dem Leader condemned the administration’s lack of accountability, pointing to a failure to address resident concerns and deliver projects within stipulated timelines.
  • Inadequate Oversight: The data underscores a lack of oversight, with projects experiencing delays and cost overruns, further eroding public trust in the council’s ability to effectively manage public funds.

In October 2023, the Southwark Liberal Democrat Leader called on Southwark Council Bosses to conduct a “root and branch” review of the Housing Department because it doesn’t seem fit for purpose.

In December, Lib Dems invited the Housing Watchdog to inspect Southwark first under new powers after the interim housing director said he expected the regulator would be ‘appalled’ at the situation in Southwark. Last night, the Liberal Democrat Leader suggested it is time the Council referred itself to the Regulator of Social Housing .

Cllr Chamberlain said it was hard to have faith in the council after evidence provided by residents in the meeting exposed miscommunications, lack of transparency, and that, residents are still being charged since October for failed works programmes.

Cllr Victor Chamberlain said: “There is a very serious lack of transparency and accountability from the administration on the Major Works scandal. Why are Council sending data about the depth of the scale after a meeting has started to look into it?

Residents have been left frustrated and don’t trust Southwark Council. We need those responsible for this fiasco to hold themselves accountable. Southwark desperately needs fresh leadership and a drive to get the basics right for residents.”

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