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Islington Council to launch consultation on bringing housing stock back in-house after controversial PFI deal ends

PUBLISHED: 17:35 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:56 04 March 2020

Ronalds Road. A typical Islington Street, where there are a number of Partners for Improvement in Islington homes. Picture: Polly Hancock

Ronalds Road. A typical Islington Street, where there are a number of Partners for Improvement in Islington homes. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Islington Council is consulting on what it should do when a outsourced housing deal with a private sector consortium ends in April 2022.

A public finance initiative deal, known as PFI 2, that sees Partners for Improvement in Islington manage and maintain 4,042 properties in the borough, ends in April 2022.

And the council is calling on those affected by the PFI 2 contact to take part in the consultation, which will run from February 24 to March 22.

The town hall is asking if people would prefer services were brought back in-house or outsourced again via a procurement process.

Islington Council's preference is it to reassume control of these properties, because it thinks in can offer a better service which will be democratically accountable to people in the borough.

Expanding on this sentiment, housing chief Cllr Diarmaid Ward told the Gazette: "As a council we want to get as many services in-house as possible to save money and to have the best possible services we can for residents.

"We are currently consulting on bringing one of the Partners contracts back in house when it ends. My preferred option position, and the council's preferred position, is that we need to bring it back in-house. And we are very keen to hear residents views on this."

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He added: "Council officers are working with Partners to ensure a smooth transition if the services do come in-house in 2022."

But the PFI 1 deal, which was the first housing deal of its kind in the country, covers about 2,000 homes and doesn't end until 2033.

Partners was owned by a private sector consortium originally comprised of Bank of Scotland, United House Group and Hyde Housing Association, with Rydon Property Maintenance providing repairs and cyclical maintenance.

But John Laing Infrastructure Fund (JLIF) bought out United House's 45 per cent stake in both deals in 2012, and extracted at least £9million of taxpayers money offshore to Guernsey over the next six years.

Islington Council expects to pay Partners £44million this year, £44.9m in 2020-2021 and £45.9m in 2021-22.

It's estimated the total contract value of PFI 2 is about £421.3million.

Partners has been approached for comment. A spokesperson for the group previously told us: "Partners remains committed to the continued successful delivery and completion of our contracts, maintaining homes to agreed standards and delivering services at or above target performance."

You can engage with the consultation here.

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