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Council house maintenance set to be deprivatised for 4,000 Islington properties

PUBLISHED: 13:55 09 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:55 09 July 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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Maintenance for more than 4,000 council houses in Islington are set to be deprivatised and brought back under the authority’s control.

An Islington Council house resident in her bathroom, which is maintained with the PFI2 contract. Picture: Polly HancockAn Islington Council house resident in her bathroom, which is maintained with the PFI2 contract. Picture: Polly Hancock

One of two Private Finance Initiative (PFI2) contracts between Islington Council and property management company Partners for Improvement in Islington ends in April 2022.

Both contracts were initially agreed with Partners - a consortium of Hyde Housing Association, Rydon Property Maintenance, United Living and Halifax Bank of Scotland - to secure funding for improving the condition of the properties.

However, they came under fire in recent years over alleged failures, including in 2018 by then-Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, who branded the service as “poor”.

READ MORE: ‘End the PFI rip off’ with Partners for Improvement, urges MP Jeremy Corbyn

READ MORE: Partners for Improvement blasted for making people’s lives a ‘living hell’

The authority held a month-long consultation with residents about the future of housing maintenance after PFI2 is over, and found 91 per cent of 392 respondents wanted the service back in-house.

A report published by Islington Council yesterday (July 8) has recommended that the council’s executive follows that advice, in line with its ‘in-house by default’ policy.

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The executive is due to make a final decision on July 16.

Islington Council already delivers housing management, repairs and maintenance services to more than 25,000 homes.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, executive member for housing and development, said: “Bringing these homes back under council management will allow us to put customer satisfaction and quality service provision at the heart of these services, while at the same time delivering value for money for all of our residents.

“We will continue to work closely with Partners while they continue to manage our council homes.”

If the executive approves the proposals and PFI2 ends, socially-distanced surveyors will visit some of the homes to assess any maintenance issues.

A spokesperson for Partners said: “We feel privileged to have delivered the investment which residents needed, fitting new kitchens, bathrooms and full central heating systems and managing these 4,000 homes since 2006.”

They said Partners will “continue to work closely with the council to ensure a smooth transition”.


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