Islington Council contractor says it is in the clear after fraud probe
PUBLISHED: 16:16 15 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:16 15 April 2013
A company which has received millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash said an internal fraud investigation has concluded allegations it fiddled targets which can carry financial penalties if not met are untrue.
An anonymous ‘‘insider’’ alleged that Rydon, a sub-contractor for Islington Council which carries out work in council-owned properties, had manipulated key performance indicators (KPIs) – but a probe completed this week found no evidence of any wrongdoing.
The company is also being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over further accusations scaffolding safety regulations had been flouted.
The whistleblowing Rydon employee raised concerns in an email to Islington Council, seen by the Gazette. It alleged that dates for jobs had been changed on computer systems so missed KPI targets – which can incur penalties – would not show.
The employee who has raised the concerns added that inspections required by law to take place every seven days were not being conducted on one scaffolding site, instead filling in the forms off-site without visiting.
The HSE confirmed that inquiries are being carried out following the complaint.
The investigations come weeks after we revealed another council-employed company – Kier – is also conducting an investigation after suspending a member of staff over allegations the employee created fake work.
A spokesman for Islington Council explained the council monitors KPIs set out in contracts and can impose financial penalties if the targets are not met.
Separate targets are also agreed between Rydon and council contractor Partners, which employs the company to carry out some of its work.
Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of Islington’s Lib Dem opposition, said: “The council needs to come clean with residents sooner rather than later about the details about these investigations and whether they have cost our residents a lot of cash.
“What provisions do they have in place to monitor arms-length contracts which are sub-contracted out? We need answers for this.”
Rydon Holdings Limited, the parent company of several subsidiaries under which work is carried out, posted turnovers of £147.8m last year and £125.2m the year before.
PFI Islington (Holdings) Limited, which owns Partners for Improvement in Islington Limited, turned over £6m last year and £5.2m the year before.
A Partners spokesman, responding on behalf of Rydon and themselves, said: “Partners has worked with Rydon to fully investigate the anonymous allegations, and, based on the information reviewed we have concluded that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.
“We are taking the allegations very seriously and are willing to meet the anonymous person if they so wish.”
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