17th May 2011
‘Beware of tenants’ ‘friends’ in Islington Tribune (13.5.2011) clearly outlined 2 things:
1. The promise by all political parties during last years May elections to return Council Housing back to Islington Councils’ direct responsibility at the completion of ‘Decent Homes’ work, which has now been officially completed. So the question remains why has Islington Council decided not to take back in-house the management and maintenance of Islington’s housing stock as several other London boroughs did immediately following their local elections, without further stalling?
2. The expensive and intentional delays caused by advertising for a so-called ‘independent tenants’ advisor’, estimated costs of £50,000+ to pay yet another ‘private company’ to do another survey, plus the additional unknown cost of ‘incentives’ for the input from the “interested residents, staff and councillors… .involved in the consultation” (James Murray 13.5.11). JM has also clearly indicated that “councillors, staff and anonymous residents will have their say”, a majority of whom do not live in Islington council properties and therefore have no right to make leading decisions that will affect council tenants and leaseholders who actually pay rent/rates and management charges on their properties. I completely agree with Phil Cosgrove 13.5.11 that this is yet another “expensive layer of bureaucracy” of faceless patronising so-called ‘volunteers’ steering the ship onto the rocks.
This three way system, in place since May 2010, because newly elected Councillors preferred to use the HFI/ALMO buffer zone rather than take full responsibility for their full statutory duties, and instructed staff to undertake other work than the jobs they were employed to do, has created so many financial errors that even the official Council Auditors (PWC) were stopped from completing their investigative work into the appalling number of invoices paid without evidence of work completed and shoddy workmanship cases that has led to duplicate payments and overcharging on so many contracts.
Due to this ingrained lack of controls I investigated and found that a single contract of £211,625.00 has resulted in 9357 Leaseholders being overcharged £8.04p each on just one of their service charge invoices of £25.64p, equally £75,230.28p boroughwide (approx.36%). Surely this continuing waste of public money through lack of monetary controls by Councillors (of all parties, without excuse) should at last be taken seriously and all work brought back in house to ensure taxpayers money is spent wisely and effectively for everybody’s benefit. Or are my expectations too high for todays career politicians.