When I read in your article “there are arguments for and against HFI” (Petition in call for HFI axe, July 1st), I realised that stating the obvious is alive and well in Islington Council.
However, rather than dwell on the glib fence-sitting, I thought I’d set out the arguments for better informed consideration.
So, in the order of the quote – the arguments for HFI:
1. Keeping HFI allows elected councillors to shirk a core responsibility of the local authority and plead impotence when approached by residents about mismanagement of services, shoddy workmanship, extortionate charging and ultimately non-delivery.
2. It creates superfluous layers of highly paid senior management (at our expense).
3. HFI has great expertise in producing glossy brochures telling us about “fundamental housing issues” such as who will be participating in the 2012 Olympics, as well as reassuring the thousands of us who constantly experience appalling standards and treatment that ours are isolated incidents.
The arguments against HFI:
1. HFI has the best part of 1000 staff to manage 28,000 properties (let’s call it 30 properties per head?) and yet they can’t even organise repairs, let alone carry them out
2. Islington currently receives more from the national rent account (the HRA) than it collects in rent. From next year Islington will have to be self-financing, so rents will have to go up. And that’s before HFI’s extra costs for management fees and glossy brochures etc.
3. HFI “Resident Directors” were elected as volunteers but pay themselves £10,000s in salaries (+ expenses).
In summary, HFI is inefficient, ineffective and unaccountable.
The online petition is now accepting signatures, but is not easy to locate on the council’s website. Anyone wishing to support the petition can easily link to it atwww.disbandHFI.org.uk
Petition Creator, N5