Published Tuesday, 03 July 2012
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland. (© Pacemaker)
The independent investigation revealed examples of poor workmanship including screws missing on hinges and doors that did not fit properly.
There were even cases where contractors had claimed for work on more doors than exist on a property, Mr McCausland said.
It was revealed by the minister the day after it emerged that Chairman of the NIHE, Brian Rowntree, had resigned from his post.
Mr McCausland said: "Once again whilst officials will wish to consider this report in detail its overall conclusion is that senior management within the Northern Ireland Housing Executive have not acted quickly enough to resolve the issue of the agreement of the draft reports from the (Housing Executive's) Repairs Inspection Unit.
"In expending so much effort in debating the methodology used in producing the reports, the Housing Executive has failed to focus on the significant findings in the reports.
"Time, that could have been better spent addressing the issues identified, has instead been lost in protracted internal debate."
The minister said two of 12 reports by the Repairs Inspection Unit had been finalised.
Out of the 10 inspections outstanding, two have been outstanding from November 2011, four from January 2012 and the remaining four were issued on 9 May.
Eleven of the 12 reports contained a negative rating and outlined issues such as poor workmanship and inaccurate charging.
Some examples of the failings included claims for doors and a bathroom fan that do not exist, fire doors fitted where they were not required, a door fitted with an excessive gap, screws missing from hinges, floor ties poorly laid and a door being rehung as it did not fit.
I am very concerned that the findings and the evidence clearly demonstrate there are considerable issues in relation to the Housing Executive's management of response maintenance contracts.
The Assembly Committee for Social Development has expressed its concern over the issues raised in the Minister's statement.
Chairman Alex Maskey said that while the committee had yet to see the report, on the basis of the Minister's statement, they believed a number of significant questions needed to be answered by the Housing Executive.
"Today's statement has also raised concerns about governance within the Housing Executive and the overall control mechanisms it has in place for contract management."
Mr Maskey continued: "We must remember that as well as ensuring value for money in public contracts, in situations like this it is often the thousands of local Housing Executive tenants who will ultimately suffer as a result."
The Sinn Féin MLA said that the committee has scheduled an urgent briefing with the department to discuss the report.
"The Committee is mindful that it must proceed on the basis of having the full picture in relation to these contracts.
"The Minister has indicated that the Housing Executive will respond to this report in the coming weeks and we will therefore be returning to this issue when all the facts are at hand," he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Housing Executive has released a statement saying they are "determined" to ensure tenants are getting the service they expect.
" We do recognise there have been problems and over the last 18 months we have been working with the Department for Social Development to improve governance arrangements and will continue to do so."
The statement continued: "We have completely reviewed the provision of maintenance contracts and this will see more effective contract management. Crucial to this will be the new internal monitoring processes which we have already put in place."