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£150million deal to fix Islington homes officially torn up today

PUBLISHED: 16:58 01 August 2014

Islington Council have written to the Secretary of State

Islington Council have written to the Secretary of State

Archant

The death knell for a £150million repair deal was sounded today as Islington Council bought its homes repair contract back in house.

Last year the town hall announced it would rip up its contract with Kier to look after the borough’s 30,000 council houses early – even though it could cost £30million more.

The deal, signed in 2010 for £15million a year, was due to run until 2020, but from today the 140 staff and estimated 40,000 annual jobs will be under town hall control.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing said: “This is an important milestone for Islington’s council housing.

“At the same time as building a new generation of council housing we want to provide a high-quality service for our residents.

“Two years ago we brought housing management back in-house – and now our decision to bringing the repairs service in-house too shows how important it is for us to get it right.

“By running the repairs service directly, we can ensure resident satisfaction is a priority over profit. Over time, we want to maximise local employment and apprenticeships, alongside supporting the workforce and reducing dependence on sub-contractors.”

When the council announced the decision last year it admitted the costs were uncertain – because they weren’t guaranteed by a contract – and could spiral by up to 20 per cent.

Kier’s relationship with the council has suffered a number of controversies.

Last year it was alleged a senior employee in the company’s Islington branch was involved in a seven figure fraud.

The town hall kept no record of any investigation into the matter, but the contractor concluded there was “no evidence to support allegations of fraud concerning any public money”.

And a previous deal, which was legitimate, came under fire for being a profit-sharing “sweetheart” deal which saw the company pocket £12million of taxpayers’ cash.

The town hall say its decision to bring the service back in-house is unrelated.

During the last 18 months the council has brought recycling, waste and street cleaning teams, cleaning staff at the town hall and Homes for Islington back under its control.

The Housing Direct number for tenants to report repairs will remain the same: 0800 694 3344.

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