COUNCIL OFFICERS FACING ACTION OVER FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS – “Gave misleading information to councillors”
Lambeth council housing officers are facing disciplinary action after giving ‘misleading information’ to councillors and council officers about fire and electrical safety risk assessments of Lambeth properties.
The revelation comes in a press statement from Lambeth council’s Conservative group.
“At the corporate committee meeting on Thursday 30th March 2017, David Hughes, head of internal audit for Lambeth council, announced that disciplinary proceedings were underway against a number of Lambeth housing officers who had given misleading information to councillors and council officers about fire and electrical safety risk assessments of Lambeth properties.
“He was unable to name the individual council officers to ensure that the disciplinary proceedings against them were not prejudiced.
“In the last edition of our newsletter Streatham Matters, residents were alerted that 12 out of 23 buildings selected had not had up-to-date fire safety risk assessments, and that the failure to do the assessments was rated a ‘critical’ risk by Lambeth internal audit department.
“The report came despite the 2013 inquest into the Lakanal building fire in Southwark where six people died, and where the council had failed to carry out fire risk assessments.
“After the publication of Streatham Matters in October, worried Lambeth residents living in properties owned or managed by Lambeth contacted the housing department, and were told that the assessments had already been completed.
“Conservative councillors and opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs followed up with other informal inquiries with housing officers, and with a number of questions at subsequent meetings in his corporate committee role.
“Cllr Briggs and other corporate committee members were assured that all fire safety assessments and electrical safety assessments had now been finished.
“It now appears that housing officers were lying about the safety assessments being completed.
Cllr Briggs said: “Questions have to be asked about the leadership of the housing department under Labour leader Cllr Lib Peck and cabinet member for ousing Cllr Matthew Bennett.
“In 2008 Cllr Lib Peck chaired a commission to improve the housing department, yet her failure to achieve any lasting reform is now putting the lives of residents and their families in danger.’
“Cllr Matthew Bennett is at the centre of the council borrowing money to set up a private housing company called ‘Homes for Lambeth’ that will have no scrutiny by opposition councillors or residents, and will do whatever it likes.
“No-one can have any confidence that Lambeth housing department can ever improve under the current leadership. “The worst rogue landlord in Lambeth is Lambeth council.”
Conservatives say the original report showed that seven of the 12 buildings without fire risk assessments had not been assessed for more than three years and that Lambeth has some 34,000 tenants across the borough, and owns £3.2 billion in property assets.