DCSIMG

Timeline: 12 years on and still no sign of a resolution to the affair

AUSTRALIAN waitress Christine Foster was killed by falling masonry outside Ryan’s Bar in the capital’s west end in June of 2000, but nearly 12 years on, very little progress has been made.

JUNE 2000

Australian waitress Christine Foster is killed by a falling masonry while working at Ryan’s Bar in the West End.

FEBRUARY 2002

A fatal accident inquiry rules that shoddy workmanship on the roof of the Ryan’s Bar building was to blame for the death of Ms Foster. Sheriff Charles Stoddart urges the council to carry out an immediate audit of historic buildings.

JUNE 2005

New figures revealed that chunks of masonry are still falling from buildings in the city at the rate of one incident every two days.

January 2006

Control of statutory repairs in Edinburgh is taken away from councillors and put in the hands of the city development department, which is to compile a database of “hotspots”.

September 2007

Growing numbers of complaints are raised on behalf of constituents by councillors and MSPS about the way statutory repairs are being carried out.

June 2010

Councillrs Ewan Aitken and Stefan Tymkewycz demand an investigation into the way the service is being run – as it emerges £30 million worth of repairs are under way across Edinburgh amid allegations of an abuse of powers by the council.

October 2010

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack publishes a letter to city development director Dave Anderson calling a complete overhaul of the system. A report by Mr Anderson weeks later confirms a reform is under way following an initial audit which has revealed “specific areas of failure”.

November 2010

The scale of the crisis begins to emerge as Lothian & Borders Police confirm they have been brought in by the council over alleged irregularities involving £4.5m worth of contracts. One employee is already suspended after a sample of repairs on 33 properties are examined.

MARCH 2011

The council reveals that it has hired external consultants from Deloitte to take charge of their investigation as it emerges four other workers have been sent home.

APRIL 2011

A LEAKED report by Mark Turley, director of community services, admits the statutory repairs service “suffers from a number of significant weaknesses”. It emerges that one contractor deliberately gained access to confidential information to blow the whistle on the scandal.

MAY 2011

The number of council officials suspended soars to 14 as it emerged concerns over the property conservation department were raised as far back as 2005.

OCTOBER 2011

Council officials admit the cost of the inquiry alone has soared to £1.8m and it could take another two years to investigate all 513 complaints that have been made.

DECEMBER 2011

It EMERGES that four staff at the centre of the investigation have been dismissed. Members of the public who have outstanding comlaints hold a meeting to discuss the investigations.

JANUARY 2012

The scale of over-charging for repairs since 2005 is estimated at £13.5m, according to leaks from the investigation. It emerges that a number of senior managers are among the 14 suspended staff.

MARCH 2012

A FIFTH worker is confirmed as having been sacked. The council admits £30m has been paid out to contractors over a five-year period without any bills being sent to property owners. The figure does not include any of the disputed bills said to have been over-charged or involving shoddy workmanship.

 

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