Brexit is greatest ‘risk’ for Islington Council in coming year – and major homes project also makes list
PUBLISHED: 09:49 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:08 04 March 2019
A £40million “slippage” has contributed to the council’s major housebuilding project being flagged as a “principal risk” for the coming year – but Brexit is straight in at number one on the list of concerns.
Town hall chiefs have added the “new homes programme” to its list of risks due to “resourcing, contractor failure, delays in planning approval and poor resident engagement”.
The target of the project is to deliver 550 “genuinely affordable” homes in four years, but it is hoped that will be surpassed with 662 homes for social rent the most recent aim.
But a report ahead of a meeting next week states: “We have experienced delays to some schemes due to factors outside of our control.
“There has been some initial slippage in schedule and spend (circa £40m) at the start of the programme. This slippage is mainly due to the environment of operating in the feasibility/pre-commencement stage of individual projects.
“We conducted a workshop in 2018 to understand the issues with the scheme and to identify improvement actions to help move the programme forward.”
An action plan has now been produced, a communications officer has been employed to improve engagement with tenants and a team of architects have been hired to review building opportunities.
Top of the list of risks facing the council is Brexit, and Islington has set up its own “Brexit Resilience Group” to prepare for possible challenges around cost and availability of labour, goods and services and more funding cuts from government.
Also deemed risks are data breaches, one of which is currently being dealt with by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). A CD of an audio recording of an interview into Food Standards Agency offences was “lost in the post”.
Cyber security is a risk as well, and for good reason.
In July 2017 the council was hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) cyber-attack on the My e-account portal, which allows people to manage their services and payments through a personal online account.
The unknown hacker struck on a Saturday but staff from across Shared Digital – the then-shared service between Camden, Islington and Haringey, shut it down within 24 hours.