Lambeth council takes all allegations of breaches of any health, safety and well-being legislation seriously.
We have conducted some swift and immediate enquiries into the published claims by Dr Stuart Hodkinson on behalf of Leeds University. The final report may take some weeks to compile but we are able to provide a ‘snapshot’ of progress to date as follows:
We have visited the site unannounced on a number of occasions and have seen a busy, safe and efficient working site and no apparent issues of concern.
The Health & Safety Executive has confirmed in writing to Lambeth council that there was nothing that warranted the concern of the HSE when they made a recent unannounced visit. The HSE have also confirmed in writing that they are satisfied with responses received by Rydon to their enquiries.
We have conducted a table top review of finance and procurement and the related documents for this major project as a whole and have found nothing significant or untoward at this stage.
Reference has been made publicly to penalties imposed on Regenter due to health and safety failings. There have been financial performance deductions governed by the contract payment mechanism for underperformance relative to performance criteria expected for a development of this magnitude. None of these deductions relate to health and safety failures.
Dr Hodkinson’s report on health and safety concerns does not provide the level of detail we would normally receive when any health and safety allegations are made. For each alleged breach this would ordinarily be evidenced by more than just the outline allegation. It would note the location and timing and usually state the legislation and the breach (Act and section), allowing it to be supplemented by a programme plan for action or repair. Our current view is that the report contains little if anything of technical merit under health and safety legislation.
In this case the report is based on the broad concerns and observations of some residents and an account from a former employee working on the MFN site. It has though highlighted delivery imperfections which were likely to have been sanctioned under the above performance deductions mechanism, though the level of detail provided in the report is not sufficient to verify for certain. It is also apparent that the publicised process for raising complaints by residents does not appear to have been followed, making it difficult for such complaints to be logged and actioned.
Regardless of a lack of qualifying health and safety issues, these resident concerns have been carefully listened to and with them, we are working to improve how their views are recorded and resolved. We are continuing to work with all relevant parties to ensure the issues raised by Dr Hodkinson’s report and subsequent representations from residents are fully addressed openly and transparently.