Stand-off between Housing Minister and Housing Executive?

The BBC are pointing to a potential stand-off between the Northern Ireland Social Development Minister, the DUP’s Nelson McCausland, and the NI Housing Executive over the use of Red Sky building maintenance company.  From the BBC report

The housing minister had asked the executive to extend the contract with the Belfast maintenance company.

The housing body announced in April that the contract would end on 14 July due to allegations of overcharging.

Earlier, Mr McCausland denied Red Sky received preferential treatment from his party the DUP.

Last week, Mr McCausland asked for the contract to be extended until a new system for awarding contracts was put in place.

However, it is understood the Housing Executive has said it is sticking to the 14 July date for terminating the contract and has threatened the minister with judicial action if he issues a directive to the contrary. [added emphasis]

That could make the outcome of tomorrow’s Northern Ireland Executive Committee meeting very interesting indeed.

Update  UTV reports that new building maintenance firms are expected to take over the Red Sky contracts by the end of the week.  Some Red Sky workers are also expected to “be transferred, under existing pay and conditions, to posts with the three new contractors”.

The BBC report adds

At the start of July, Mr McCausland asked the [Housing] executive to extend the contract past the 14 July deadline.

However, on Thursday he said Red Sky’s administrator could not give an assurance he could extend the contract.

“The administrator was unable to give an assurance to the Housing Executive that he could continue a service beyond 14 July with Red Sky,” Mr McCausland said.

And

On Thursday, Mr McCausland accused the Housing Executive of being aggressive and said a letter he received from its chairman sounded like “a declaration of war”.

“If someone declares war, I’m not going to back away from that.

“I’m going to continue doing want I want to do, which is to get to the bottom of the contracts issue,” he said.

“It’s clear from all the evidence that there are serious problems in the Housing Executive as regards the management and monitoring of contracts.”

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