Monday, December 5, 2022

Building firms tell Thurrock Council: “You are killing our businesses”

THURROCK BUILDING FIRMS have reacted with anger with what they claim are at the delays in payments due to them by Thurrock Council.

Last week, two Conservative Ockendon councillors took up the cause of a local building firm, who claimed they are £245,000 out of pocket, having not been paid by Thurrock Council.

Their concerns have been echoed by another building firm, who also claim to be out of pocket to the tune of £70,000.

And other firms are on the brink..

A representative, who did not wish to be named, spoke to YT to express their concerns.

They said: “It feels like we have been caught in crossfire between Thurrock Council and the company they outsource work to (Europa).

“We have been waiting for nine months for payment. If I had the same attitude to my council tax, I would be in jail now.”

Their complaints were put to council boss, John Kent.

Cllr Kent issued the following statement.

“Thurrock has made no secret of its need to change the way housing repairs were dealt with in the past and statements have been made in cabinet and council since the end of last year.

Thurrock Council is determined to get the best value for all residents – including tenants – and now is making sure that best practice is followed. The cost of replacing council house kitchens and bathrooms has been halved in recent months and the standard of work has improved.

“We will be clear in our contracts with the companies we do use – large or small, local or national – that we want them to use local people and particularly local young people through apprentice schemes.

“The difference is, that now we have the proper processes in place to make sure all these things happen.

“You wouldn’t run your home the way these deals were done previously and if you ran your business this way you’d soon be in the insolvency courts.

“We’re getting there now and unfortunately there will be losers as well as winners – to me what’s most important is that our tenants, our residents, are among the winners now.”

The comments have not gone down well with the building “losers”

A spokesperson for one company said:

“The response mentions everything except the main problem. WHY ARE LOCAL SUPPLIERS LEFT WAITING FOR MONTHS FOR THEIR MONEY!

The recent demands from MPs to end the endemic nature of ‘Late Payments’ within the construction industry is clearly not in the hearts of Thurrock officers.

Four companies known to us have been left waiting for money in a greater or lesser extent than others, all had carried out works for Housing.

Invoices are due when the given time period for payment is reached, unless challenged within a specified and contractually correct time frame. Payments cannot be idly left until ’a proper team is place’ and ‘time to root out details’ has expired. The truth of the matter is that Thurrock needed to get rid of the bad seed within their midst, and quite coldly and callously they used their supply chain to do it, regardless of the impact on local trade.

Thirdly, the running of the contract was done by the councils own in-house contractors, and should have been over seen and corrected long before now if things were that bad. Where was the scrutiny of the contractors, or were they left to self-administer themselves in much the same way the Morrison debacle came about?

We now find out that Thurrocks’ procurement department who spent money employing a consultant to improve the policy of purchasing and invoke the new ‘social value’ element in all local authority spending has been ignored.

Thurrock has now allied itself with the LHC framework allowing them to cherry pick national contractors wherever ‘Price is King’ without allowing others to compete.

The deception continues with claims that kitchen and bathroom replacement costs have now been halved! Yes the council is reducing costs, but this is by reducing the quantity of works being carried out.

The specification of works has been drastically reined in and monies for essential works tied to other budgets.

If the council can legitimately halve the cost, how can it suddenly do ten times the amount of work from 200 to 2000 properties?

With regard to quantity of works, the figures just don’t stack up, when works done by one contractor alone during the calendar year of 2012 were in excess of 255 individual kitchens or bathrooms? The claims of 2000 properties is borne from the other works involved in the ‘decent home’ remit, I.E: Roofing, Gas central heating, Replacement windows and doors, Cavity wall insulation etc. All of this work was once split up across the borough employing 10s of hundreds of local people, we assume is now to be given to a select few.

In response to ‘quality’ I think the verdict is very much out on that particular subject, we are aware of disgruntled residents around Thurrock, that are not happy with the results from the ‘Large Nationals’ and until a significant quantity of satisfaction questionnaires are returned and analysed we can’t imagine they will match the 94% ‘very satisfied’ results and ‘Best in customer service’ award achieved by others!

14 COMMENTS

  1. The response by Mr Kent would be laughable if it was not so serious, he has just spouted the standard Political answer to a direct question, he has not even once stated why TBC owe these local companies the amounts stated or has he even defended why TBC still have these outstanding debts.

    TBC need to get their own house in order if they are to be taken seriously when chasing others for their money, after all what is good for the goose is good for the gander

  2. Its now time for Comrade Kent to go, how many more fiascos are we to have or does he think we will forget about the 7 week bin Saga, the no show councillors and now trying to kill of local firms.

  3. It’s obvious the comrade cannot give a straight answer to any question put to him. Comrade the council owes hundreds of thousands of pounds to businesses. If you have a contractual reason as to why these companies shpuo;dn’t receive their money then say so. You are costing the council money in inevitable interest claims.

    We have the claims that he is investigating a no show councillor receiving money for doing nothing which are false. We have another councillor being investigated for fraud that appears to be purposely delayed .The bin debacle, this issues, dubious planning decisions, failing schools. Yet all this is being done for the people.

    When will the comtade be going down to the Thames to hold back the tide. No doubt the Labour party would claim that it was the problems caused by Tory cuts that prevented him from doing so.

  4. Lots of waffle from Kent. Are these the invoices they refuse to pay because of poor quality of work or being overcharged? I think we should be told!

  5. Talk about skirt around the question Mr Kent. Surely this is another reason why we should not be sharing services with Barking & Dagenham, we need to get our own house in order first, and maybe have a good clean out first!

  6. So glad the person quoted pointed out the amount of spin used by local councillors, why on earth do they not answer a simple question, and rather talk forever about everything but the subject at hand. The same will be for the bins and the absent councillor I’m sure.
    Shameful that these companies are still waiting for their money.

  7. I agree with sending the bailiffs in but I wonder how long it would be before the council was withdrawing trading licenses, blocking those firms from going for council contracts, enforcing H&S laws. The comrade is full of bu11sh1it. He would rather see ordinary working people unemployed and watch these firms go under than admit the council got it wrong.

    Everything this man supports goes against what applies to ordinary people in Thurrock and he tells us it’s all done for the people. The great leader looks after our interests. Yeah right, just as long as it fills his pockets he does.

  8. Unbelievable…… How can it be allowed that Thurrock can withhold in excess of £300k from local businesses for over 7 months???? Mr Kent is spinning faster than a whirling derbisher.
    All talk about what they have know in place and nothing about rectifying the mess they left behind. Although their claims appear to be flawed before it gets off the ground. Is this more spin Mr Kent? You must be permanently dizzy.
    How can in be the contractors fault if the contract wasn’t run correctly by the councils partners? If the council need to withhold money from someone it should be them and not the builders.
    The builders should go back into the properties and take back the goods that rightfully belong to them and see where that leaves the council. Pay up NOW Mr Kent. Or is your real name Dick Turpin?
    If these builders go bust because of the councils incompetence, then the railings outside the council offices should have the heads of Mr Kent and his housing officers attached to it, as the axe must fall on all those responsible.

  9. Maybe Cllr Kent should watch the BBC programme “the Sheriff’s are Coming” these people managed to get £149k from Fujitsu including fees…..
    Watch your desk and Chair Cllr Kent you could find yourself sitting on the floor…..

  10. Sounds like Thurrock Council has said no to shoddy work from local firms also. What’s wrong, did TC not agree to cash in hand? More to this story than meets the eye. Well done YT.

  11. Looks like c100boyz seems to be in the know, or maybe he is another labour councillor full of spin ?

  12. local council shafts local building firms, great PR. It’s simple, if there’s a contractual argument, go to court. Flowery statements about past council fmuck up’s aint going to solve the problem of contractual breach.

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