Lambeth’s chief executive Sean Harriss has ruled out an independent investigation into the council’s housing management service.

Responding to a call by Lambeth’s opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs for the inquiry he says he has asked officers for a detailed response to points he has raised.

Cllr Briggs had highlighted a recent report by Internal Audit and Fraud presented to the council’s corporate committee on 29th September 2016 which showed that of a sample of 23 buildings assessed by council audit officers, 12 did not have up-to-date fire risk assessments, rating Lambeth’s failure as ‘critical’. Seven of those 12 had not been assessed for more than three years.

If that sample percentage is applied across Lambeth, then more than half of the buildings managed by the council were unsafe, said Cllr Briggs.

The Lambeth report also found that it was not clear that records of inspection reports had even been kept by the council, and that there
was ‘no central oversight of compliance with policies and procedures.’

In his reply Mr Harriss says:

“Dear Cllr Briggs

“I have now had an opportunity to look at your letter in more detail.  “As a result,  I have asked the relevant officers to prepare a detailed response to the points you raise, some of which have been or are subject to separate investigation/response.

“Given,  therefore, that the matters you raise are subject to other processes and action, I can see no reason why there is a need for an independent investigation as you have requested.

“Finally, while I agree that you have raised relevant questions and highlighted your concerns as is entirely appropriate, I would ask that if you have similar concerns or requests in the future that you do not  raise them with me via an “open letter”.

“The letter is overtly political but is addressed to me as chief executive and this potentially places me in an difficult position..

“Perhaps we can discuss how best your concerns can be responded to at our next catch up in a couple of weeks.”


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