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Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Double trouble ahead?

PUBLISHED: 14:00 29 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 October 2010

ALTHOUGH I seriously doubt the wisdom of Islington Council's recent decision to engage in the latest money-saving trend of 'sharing to save' ('Councils could share chief to save money', Gazette, September 10) I can at least applaud its decision not to au

ALTHOUGH I seriously doubt the wisdom of Islington Council's recent decision to engage in the latest money-saving trend of "sharing to save" ("Councils could share chief to save money", Gazette, September 10) I can at least applaud its decision not to automatically replace the position vacated by the present chief executive, John Foster, with another grossly overpaid senior manager.

I doubt that what I perceive to be another whimsical attempt by the council to halt the borough's financial freefall into debt will succeed. It will effectively send residents' services into a severe decline as a result of staff redundancies and the consequential use of the controversial implementation of "hot desking" in order to reduce costs associated with office space.

Nevertheless, the possibility of an extremely unexpected, and welcome, result does exist in regard to the council's housing stock.

While Camden Council was extremely sensible and retained its council housing management, thereby establishing housing as being the direct responsibility of its councillors, Islington rather irresponsibly placed the responsibility for managing its housing stock under the somewhat dubious auspices of an arm's-length management organisation.

So, how will a part-time joint chief executive view the possibilities associated with running two boroughs with different housing regimes, and cope with the problems which will inevitably arise as a result of potential conflicts of interest? With a great deal of difficulty, I would suggest.

The bright side is that Islington might decide that this is the perfect time to keep its pre-election promise to residents by returning housing management to where it rightfully belongs - under the direct control of councillors, thereby disposing of the wasteful services of its extremely expensive arm's-length company, Homes for Islington, at the same time. - Dr B.S. Potter, Chairman, Islington Leaseholders' Association, Federation of Islington Tenants' Associations, via e-mail.


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