16th July 2011
40 Camden Road
Give credit where credit is due
It is amazing how memories of past events are used to change the historical facts to claim ‘success’ where none is due (letters 15.7.11 J.-White & R.Schunemann).
Also as a resident activist I would like to inform tenants and leaseholders of Islington how the ‘improvements in services’ they are referring to came about. It took years of face-to-face meetings between FITA Directors with the then contractor Kier to improve the repair services as well as their Call Direct system. FITA Directors monthly meetings resulted in visiting the various department offices several times to check how the services were run and put forward suggestions of ways to make improvements to benefit all tenants. Kier took our suggestions seriously enough to implement them as well as attending centrally held FITA meetings to answer individual tenants problems. By the time HFI banned meetings between FITA and Kier the Call Direct service was such a wonderful model of efficiency that all the work FITA and Kier had put into effect was moved ‘in-house’ (lock, stock and barrel, including the staff) to the HFI Headquarters, who are now claiming the credit for its success.
The other areas FITA Directors and Kier agreed on was to train and use ‘multi-skilled operatives’, complete ‘jobs in one visit’ and clean up before they left, which many residents (particularly the elderly) appreciated. Plus, of course, FITA got Kier to agree to ‘train apprentices’ in all the areas of work they undertook – another scheme that HFI claim was their idea and stole the credit for. And when FITA/Kier managed to reach 99.5% + efficiency in Islingtons ‘Gas Servicing annual checks’, HFI promptly removed the southern half of the contract to British Gas and then onto MITIE, and if you wish to hear how ‘inefficient’ that part of the gas contract has become just ask anyone south of the Angel for their comment!!
Finally, the so-called 6-7 Tenant Directors were elected as ‘volunteers’ and voted themselves the Annualised Allowances mentioned, adding further costs to Islington tenants and leaseholders of £13,271.50 in 2009 and £18,300.11 in 2010 (shown in annual HFI accounts attached). However, the total cost of £52-54 million paid annually to HFI, from tenants and leaseholders HRA income, is reason enough to support the petition to disband HFI and return the full responsibility back to locally elected Councillors (who are now paid adequately to do this work) together with our newly employed ‘clean-broom CEO’ overviewing competent employees to ensure the work is carried out efficiently.