Swan Housing staff deliberately falsified documents for �50m cash boost

Staff at Swan Housing Association deliberately falsified documents in a bid to secure �50m in grants before it was entitled to them, it has emerged.

In a damning judgment handed down by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) last week, Swan was found guilty of claiming the money it was not yet entitled to in order to “enhance its reputation”, and of falsifying documents to try to cover its tracks.

The housing group controls Tower Hamlets’ Exmouth and Bow Cross estates, and won the contract for the �500m redevelopment of the Robin Hood Gardens estate in Poplar.

However, the government-run HCA has criticised the association for “significant failures” since 2005.

The HCA judgment said: “The regulator has significant concerns about the strength of the internal control environment at Swan.

“There were widespread control failures within the development department and the organisation failed to identify these.”

The judgment concludes an eight month investigation into the housing association, and has led to the HCA downgrading its rating of Swan’s governance.

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The housing group is now required by the regulator to carry out four further internal investigations on the issue.

A Swan statement said it is “fully complying with requests made by the regulator and is confident that it can improve its governance rating over time”.

Chief executive John Synnuck added: “We accept it and recognise that we need to learn lessons and make any necessary adjustments to our working practices.”

Swan recently submitted plans to Tower Hamlets council for the first stage of the redevelopment of Robin Hood Gardens, due to be completed in March 2015.