The Shepwayvox Team can exclusively reveal that P & R Installation Company Limited five year £27 million pound gas maintenance and installations contract with Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Thanet District Councils – overseen by East Kent Housing – will be terminated in July due to a dispute regarding overcharging issues and other emerging issues, such as gas safety certificates, electrical safety and legionella.
A variety of sources state the overcharging amounts to £1m – £1.5m of public money. It is also known P & R made an offer to refund approx £600,000 for the overcharging. In return P & R requested additional payments. In effect P & R were offering from one hand and asking for in the other. So on the 2nd April P & R issued a notice to break their contract as the councils refused their offer. The contract will end on or around the 3rd July.
As we understand there are emerging issues with the Gas Safety Certificates (LGSRs). No doubt East Kent Housing who manage the P & R contract will ignore this emrerging issue until mid, late May, then act surprised. It will do this we believe because it wants more money. This is our prediction. If they behave as we predict, then they will be able to extract more money from each of the respective councils of East Kent.
None of the above should comes as a surprise to any of you who has read our blog over the last year.
In Dec 2018 documents leaked to the Shepwayvox Team showed that the auditor, East Kent Audit Partnership could give no assurance for the P & R contract with an annual value of £4.2 million.
Tenants and leaseholders in the Councils properties managed by East Kent Housing complained vociferously and finally there voices have been heard. In Nov 2018 it was reported in the national press that a Grandmother had died of hypothermia due to no heating caused by a cock up between P & R and East Kent Housing. It is also know a complaint is with the ombudsman about potential carbon monoxide poisoning allegedly caused by P & R to fit a flue properly.
It is known that Dover District Council are looking for a new contractor (for and on behalf of Canterbury City Council, Folkestone & Hythe District Council & Thanet District Council.) DDC are looking to appoint a suitably qualified and experienced contractor for heating systems servicing, maintenance and inspections with installation works. The tender opened on Monday 8th April and will close on the 8th May 2019.
The estimated start date is the 3rd July 2019 and the end date is the 31/03/22. There is an option to extend the contract for the new contractor for a further 12 months.
East Kent Housing manage nearly 17,000 properties, comprising of both individual domestic and sheltered schemes for the elderly and disabled. They are the largest ALMO in the country.
Coming back to P&R, according to their parent company Bilby’s website, won the contract on the following grounds:
Previous experience on similar contracts
A can-do attitude by all staff members
Previous winners of multiple customer service awards
The flexibility and enthusiasm to deliver on tight deadlines
Ability and experience to integrate all 4 councils’ asset data into a joint working operating system with transparency throughout
London & Quadrant Housing Association
Gallions Housing Association
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Phoenix Community Housing
Amey (MoD properties in three regions)
Should these Councils and housing associations have concerns about potential overcharging? That is for them to discover.
Finally, we understand that there are further substantial issues around not just Gas Safety, but Fire Safety, Electrical Safety, Legionella and Asbestos. According to East Kent Housing minutes of the 18th July 2016 at page 54 issues regarding Legionella have been outstanding since then. The fact that nothing has been done doesn’t surprise the SV Team. We believe an urgent audit ought to be undertaken by East Kent Audit Partnership and report to our Councils. It is only a matter of time before these significant and non compliant issues come to light and when they do, our newly elected Cllrs will be speaking about these problems in their respective chambers sometime in June/July 2019.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful