Weaknesses found at housing executive
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive is setting up a group to oversee change within the organisation after a report identified a range of weaknesses.
Social development minister Alex Attwood presented the findings of a governance review of the organisation, which owns and manages 93,000 homes in Northern Ireland, on Tuesday this week.
The minister ordered the review after the executive launched three separate investigations into relationships between its staff and contractors or developers. An audit team from the social development department has been examining the NIHE’s internal operations since October.
The review found the NIHE had good governance structures in place, but needed to address a number of weaknesses. The team recommended a review of risk management, a review of the board’s standing orders, formal terms of reference for the board, greater use of the NIHE’s repairs inspection unit, a review of the indicators that measure the performance of contractors and that key documents are subject to review and challenge.
In all, the review made 16 recommendations to improve control and 59 best practice recommendations. A separate review of the Egan contracts for repairs and maintenance work to the executive’s stock also made 14 recommendations on tighter procurement processes and better contract management.
The NIHE has already given the minister a first draft of its plans to put the recommendations into practice.
Mr Attwood said: ‘I want to see these recommendations in the report implemented quickly by the housing executive. I have already put arrangements in place to make sure that happens.
‘I will meet much more regularly with the housing executive board and my permanent secretary will chair an oversight group to ensure these recommendations are completed. In my view this is a critical piece of work and has major consequences going forward.’