Parties unite in call to make repair scandal report public

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PARTY leaders have today called for the independent investigation into the council’s property repairs scandal to be made public.

All of the Edinburgh group leaders have now seen the top-secret report from auditor Deloitte, which has been with council bosses for three weeks.

SNP leader Steve Cardownie, who read the 100-page document last Friday, said it was a “horrific situation” and agreed that residents should be shown the results as soon as possible.

Releasing the information is complicated by an ongoing police investigation into the statutory notice repairs system.

“This is a horrific situation,” said Councillor Cardownie. “I’ve spoken to the chief executive and said as much of the report as possible should be made public. Only the parts crucial to the police investigation should be removed.

“The heartache this has caused across the city is totally unacceptable. It’s like a double whammy. People may have been overcharged for work, and money was not recovered [from homeowners] vigorously.

“This is not a party political matter, councillors are united in their desire to solve this.”

Labour leader Andrew Burns echoed Cllr Cardownie’s views. He said: “We want to see both the Deloitte and the police investigation concluded as soon as possible.

“What the group leaders have seen does need to come out.”

Council and Lib Dem leader Jenny Dawe said: “It certainly has helped illuminate some of the darker corners about what’s been going on and there will be follow-up action on the issues raised in the report.”

Asked if the report should be made public, she said: “It will have to wait until the police investigation is finished. Once that has come to a conclusion, it will be possible to decide what is in the public interest.”

Conservative head Jeremy Balfour said: “It’s a very full report. It raises issues the council have to deal with.”

Greens leader Steve Burgess said: “It is clearly not a good situation at all. The only reason not to release any information is if it would prejudice any ongoing investigations. We would be in favour of releasing as much information as is possible.”

Allegations of fraud, corruption and mismanagement have been levied against four arms of services for communities.

To date, seven people have been sacked and the manager of the property conservation department has resigned.

The Evening News revealed on April 2 that more than £30 million of taxpayers’ money has been paid out by the council to building contractors, while the bills have not yet been sent out to homeowners.