‘Property repairs scandal report is not in the public interest’, say council chiefs

Report 'not in the public interest', say council chiefs

Report 'not in the public interest', say council chiefs

79
Have your say

THE top secret Deloitte report into the Capital’s property repairs scandal will not be made available to residents because it is “not in the public interest”, according to council officials.

Even though staff have been sacked, with police and financial investigators brought in and thousands of families left in misery, bosses have refused to release the report via Freedom of Information legislation due to an exemption.

The £1.5 million document, paid for by the taxpayer, has been under lock and key since it was concluded in March.

The FOI response said: “It is not in the public interest to release this information at this time as it relates to ongoing internal disciplinary investigations. The release of this information could prejudice the disciplinary process and any subsequent claims which may arise.”

Now the Evening News has appealed the decision, calling for at least a redacted version of the report to be made available.

Despite numerous requests by residents, only a core number of bosses, including party leaders, have been privy to the comprehensive report, which insiders label “damning”. Deputy council leader 
Steve Cardownie called on parts of the report to be released. He said: “As much information as possible should be made available. We need to make sure this mismanagement is not occuring now, and the public need to know what the extent of this problem was.

“I want all the people responsible for this brought to book. It has ruined people’s lives and decimated their life savings.

“Although I would not want to allow them [those responsible] to wiggle off the hook by giving too much information away, so maybe there are 
certain restrictions. In future, there will be a full exposé of everything that went on.”

Director of the services for communities department, Mark Turley, said the council was consulting lawyers. He said: “We are taking regular legal advice about when the report can be made public. At present there are still disciplinary cases and other matters to be resolved and it would not be appropriate in these circumstances.

“However, we have made significant parts of the findings available to councillors and this is likely to continue in the coming weeks. When we are in a position to make the report public then we will do so.”

The Evening News told yesterday how it had seen a damning dossier of documents which highlight the extent to which the problem was ignored when bosses were presented with evidence in 2009. An independent audit into the scandal did not take place until March 2011.

vraimes@edinburghnews.com