The new joint chief executive for Waverley and Guildford borough councils said he wants no financial “surprises” and to “draw a line under” the fraud investigation into the latter authority. 

A fraud investigation into Guildford’s housing department was launched in November 2023 after allegations in housing repair contracts for work on council properties.

The Regional Organised Crime Unit has so far arrested one man and issued several warrants in the ongoing investigation.

Pedro Wrobel, who has a background as an economist and a civil servant, said he wants to “account for every penny”, understand what went wrong and ensure the council deals with it.

“An issue like that can’t happen without there being plain management failings,” Pedro said. “There should be systems in place to prevent it and from getting to that size.”

The fraud investigation in the housing maintenance repairs service was escalated to the regional organised crime unit because of the “size and complexity” of the issue.

While the police enquiries are ongoing, an internal investigation has also been probing the housing department. Pedro said he wants everything to be brought to a “swift conclusion” and “draw a line” under the investigation. 

Working on corporate management and financial governance, the new CEO hopes to bring forward his Improvement Plan for June 2024. 

Stressing that the councils’ administration takes the fraud investigation “seriously”, Mr Wrobel said Guildford and Waverley will learn from what has gone wrong and “put it right”. He said he wants to put the councils in a petition showing how every pound given by the taxpayer is being used.

Admitting there is “work to do” on Guildford’s reputation, Mr Wrobel said there is the “essence of a good council” and hopes the “issues don’t overshadow the good work the council has done”.