Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council reported themselves to the Social Housing Regulator earlier this year, and in a report published in July, the regulator found literally thousands of statutory checks had been missed. The council had failed to realise they were missing, putting potentially tens of thousands of tenants at risk of serious injury or worse, breaking a number of laws in the process.
So it was with a sense of total bemusement that the Welwyn Hatfield Lib Dems learnt this week that the meeting of the Cabinet Housing Panel scheduled for Monday 13th September, the council body where housing issues are discussed, had been cancelled ‘due to lack of business’.
Leader of the Opposition, Lib Dem Cllr Paul Zukowskyj, commented: “This just goes to show what the culture and ethos in Welwyn Hatfield council is. Councillors are treated as an annoyance and should be kept in the dark wherever possible. Secrecy is paramount. Sweep bad news away and don’t mention it.
“There is a promised investigation, so why could a timetable for that not be reported to the panel? Perhaps its remit and extent? Who is leading it? How about a timeline for getting back to being a legal landlord? There are massively important questions that need answers, but all we get from WHBC is silence and secrecy. We’ve not even had a guarantee that when the investigation concludes it will be published.
“Next week, Labour and Lib Dem groups will present a motion to Full Council calling for the leader of the council to resign. This culture of secrecy starts at the top. He needs to take responsibility for the failings that happened under his watch and the corrosive culture that the council has.”