Connaught investigated by MP
An MP is investigating the nationwide performance of troubled social housing firm Connaught, Construction News reported.
Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South, contacted fellow members of parliament, as well as councillors, after receiving a deluge of complaints from constituents about the firm.
“It is a new contract and you expect teething problems but I am concerned so many complaints are being made,” he said. Complaints include missed appointments for boiler replacements and grass not being cut.
A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said: “We have a contractual agreement with Connaught and the company is continuing to fulfil its obligations.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation carefully and, as with any of our major contracts, contingency plans are in place should things change.”
Meanwhile, Barnet Council’s social housing management company Barnet Homes said it intends to terminate its contract with Connaught in February 2011.
Connaught has been under the spotlight since issuing a profits warning in June.
It identified 31 contracts in its social housing division where capital spending would be deferred as part of the government’s austerity drive.
It said earlier this month that it would make a material loss for its current financial year, including exceptional charges, as a result of a review into its accounting practices.
A spokesman for the company said this week: “Barnet Homes is looking at the procurement for all its future maintenance suppliers. We understand that it would wish to consider our contract at the same time and we are pleased to have agreed this
“We have an excellent working relationship with Norwich City Council and look forward to working alongside them to build on the strong start we have made.”
In the West Midlands, Sandwell Homes is also ending work with Connaught as its workstream reduces.
Sandwell Homes investment director John Clayton said: “Sandwell’s Decent Homes programme of housing refurbishment is reducing in scale as it enters its final years of operation.
“It is unfortunate but inevitable that this will result in reductions in the workforce of our partners.” He added that new supplier arrangements in Sandwell would commence in December 2010.