Audit Office adds to housing executive woes
The Northern Ireland Audit Office has published a damning report on the beleaguered Northern Ireland Housing Executive today.
Kieran Donnelly, comptroller and auditor general of the Audit Office, identifies a range of issues with the UK’s biggest landlord.
He talks about ‘questionable land deals undertaken over a number of years by NIHE’ in his report and ‘continuing concerns in relation to governance’ at the 90,000-home housing association.
This comes on the day Inside Housing revealed NIHE has been placed under supervision after another highly critical report into its management of repairs contracts.
The Audit Office report talks of ‘favouritism towards buyers in most off-market sales’ of NIHE land sold to private developers.
‘The NIHE has a statutory duty to obtain “best consideration” for land disposals, except with the department’s consent, and its land and property manual states that this means selling on the open market by way of public tender,’ it said.
‘However, a significant proportion of these disposals were sold “off-market” to preferred buyers.’
Mr Donnelly also highlights £500,000 was over paid to contractors who were carrying out kitchen replacment schemes in 8,000 homes.
The decision over the organisation’s handling of its £170 million annual maintenance contracts followed the resignation of NIHE’s chair Brian Rowntree on Monday.
Social development minister Nelson McCausland has ordered the NIHE to report to his department every two weeks under ‘special accountability measures’.