Housing Minister Nelson McCausland has restated his serious concerns over Housing Executive maintenance contracts.
The Minister said; "My concern all along has been to ensure tenants, whose homes are included in these contracts, continue to receive the high standard of service they are entitled to, and that taxpayers money is well spent.
"I continue to have concerns about how maintenance contracts have been managed. I raised these concerns at the Executive meeting, and they are shared by Executive colleagues. I am also concerned about how the Housing Executive has dealt with this whole issue.
"My Department has commenced the forensic investigation into contracts which I announced on 1 July. The outcome of these investigations will determine if further action needs to be taken to ensure best use is made of public money.
"My preference is for an open and transparent contracts process rather than reassign the Red Sky contracts to adjacent contractors. I have been advised that the Administrator cannot provide assurances that he can maintain the existing contract until a new procurement exercise is completed.
"I have also noted the position of the Housing Executive, which has provided my Department with some information regarding the reassignment of the contracts from Red Sky. I am, however, awaiting further clarification from the Housing Executive on the TUPE arrangements regarding the Red Sky employees and have asked for confirmation that robust and appropriate contract monitoring arrangements will be put in place.
"Taking all this additional information into account, reassignment of the contracts due to expire on 14 July is not the ideal option, but the only practical approach under current circumstances. I have written in these terms to the Chairman of the Housing Executive."