Friday, 8 October 2021

Full Scrutiny recommendations to Brent Council Cabinet after Granville New Homes costly debacle

The full recommendations to the Cabinet from Brent Scrutiny Committee after their meeting last night have now been published as a Supplementary report on the agenda of Monday's 10am Cabinet meeting. LINK

Supplementary Paper – Cabinet: 11 October 2021

Agenda Item 9 (Proposals for ownership & refurbishment of Granville New Homes Blocks)

Scrutiny of implications for BHM (Brent Housing Management) and HRA (Housing Revenue Account) of proposals for ownership and refurbishment of Granville New Homes blocks undertaken by Community & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 7 October 21

Scrutiny Committee recommendations to Cabinet:

· That the officers give assurance that the council has undertaken due diligence reviews of its subsidiary bodies, including governance, fitness for purpose, financial soundness and reputational risk. 

· That the officers ensure the Ridge report is made available to the scrutiny committee and audit committee. 

· That the officers review arrangements for entering into contracts of this kind, in particular to ensure adequate arrangements are made to ensure appropriate design/build quality – and that the council has appropriate recourse where latent defects are later identified. 

· That the officers ensure all potential contractors are made aware of the standards expected by the council – and to ensure these are met before buildings are formally accepted by the council. 

· That the council provide written assurance that it has taken or will take independent legal and financial advice (including tax) regarding the proposals and next steps. 

· That all contracts procured by the council and its subsidiaries include a review of past delivery of any potential contractors. 

· That the council ensures where issues are evident in a particular project, all remaining projects by the same contractor are reviewed as a matter of urgency. 

· That the officers review the steps that make-up the procurement, commissioning and contract monitoring system to identify any gaps especially in relation to risk and review aspects. Where these are identified that immediate action is taken. 

· That the council put in place arrangements to ensure learning about this case – and any others raising issues of similar significance – is shared across the council as well as with existing and potential future partners/contractors. 

· That the officers establish and publish a comprehensive plan for ongoing engagement with residents.



Anonymous said...

Love the cartoon - very appropriate!!!

Martin Francis said...

Emailed comment from a reader. I was expecting to see how the council will pay for these repairs in one of their options and how will residents be able to remain in their homes while the repairs are carried out. One of the repairs involves removing roofs and replacing them, which I know cannot be done within a day, resulting in the residents affected having to live under the stars while they wait for a new roof.

I also noticed that they have put a restriction on Appendix 2 citing sensitive financial information, with possible legal implications.

Both First Wave Housing and iB14 have published their 22/23 business plans but these too seem to be confidential.

Do you remember Cllr. Buttt saying "Brent will always be open & transparent in everything we do for our residents---no secrets in Brent".

Or when the council closed BHP down at the end of Sept. 2017 he said something like--our residents were very unhappy with BHP especially over repairs but now we have taken back our housing services, things will change for the better but it may take some time.

Philip Grant said...

One other recommendation I would have liked to see was that the single leasehold homeowner (presumably after exercising "right to buy"?) should not be charged any of the costs for remedying these basis defects in the building.

We have seen the crippling costs being passed on to shared-ownership and other leaseholders as the result of the cladding scandal. With the estimated cost of the works at GNH being £15.4m (if the Council can avoid paying VAT on them), a 1/110th share of that would be £140k!

The officers at the Scrutiny meeting, when this question was put to them, did say that they didn't expect the Council to recharge the leaseholder for the remediation work, but a firm public commitment on that at the Cabinet meeting would help to give that person some peace of mind.