HC Deb 28 November 1967 vol 755 c222
26. Mr. Rossi

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what discussions he has held with representatives of the London Borough of Camden regarding the extraordinary audit of that borough's direct labour department; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. MacColl

None. As I told the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Chan-non), in reply to his Question on 26th October, my right hon. Friend has received only a copy of an interim report, and the Council is already taking action on the lines suggested in that report.—[Vol. 751, c. 541.]

Mr. Rossi

Is not the Minister aware that the district auditor roundly castigated the council for lack of control within its direct labour force, resulting in a loss to the ratepayer of up to £12,000 per annum in bogus claims? Is he not aware also that the district auditor recommended to the Camden Council that it should revert to the former practice of going out to tender from time to time as a check against inefficiency? Do not the Government accept responsibility in reverting against the former policy of requiring local councils to go out to tender for one in three?

Mr. Speaker

Order. Long questions prevent someone else from asking a question.

Mr. MacColl

As a matter of fact, in his report, the district auditor commented that he had a firm impression of a keen desire to ensure the maximum efficiency in the building department. The local authority has gone a long way to follow the district auditor's advice. It is also in consultation with the National Building Agency, which is very warm to the hon. Gentleman's heart and, therefore, it is doing all that it can to make its direct labour department efficient.