Inquiry into Local Authority Governance Scrutiny etc

Dear Islington Leaseholders,
Overview and scrutiny in local government inquiry

Dr Potter has asked me to forward this onto you all and has kindly suggested that everybody should reply to this by sending in a written submission….. A.S.A.P…. Deadline = Friday, 10 March 2017

Please click on the link below in BLUE to submit your written submissions.

Dr B.S. Potter Chairman (ILA)

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/communities-and-local-government-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/inquiry6/

MPs launch inquiry into overview and scrutiny in local government

Tuesday, 24 January 2017 14:58

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has launched a “long-overdue” inquiry into overview and scrutiny in local government.

The committee said it would “consider whether overview and scrutiny arrangements in England are working effectively and whether local communities are able to contribute to and monitor the work of their councils”.

Written evidence is invited on:

Whether scrutiny committees in local authorities in England are effective in holding decision-makers to account

The extent to which scrutiny committees operate with political impartiality and independence from executives

Whether scrutiny officers are independent of and separate from those being scrutinised

How chairs and members are selected

Whether powers to summon witnesses are adequate

The potential for local authority scrutiny to act as a voice for local service users

How topics for scrutiny are selected

The support given to the scrutiny function by political leaders and senior officers, including the resources allocated (for example whether there is a designated officer team)

What use is made of specialist external advisers

The effectiveness and importance of local authority scrutiny of external organisations

The role of scrutiny in devolution deals and the scrutiny models used in combined authorities

Examples where scrutiny has worked well and not so well

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 10 March 2017.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the committee, said: “This inquiry is long overdue. Local authority executives have more powers than ever before but there has not been any review about how effectively the current overview and scrutiny arrangements are working since they were introduced in 2000.

“Local authorities have a considerable degree of discretion when it comes to overview and scrutiny. We will examine these arrangements and consider what changes may be needed to ensure decision-makers in councils and local services are better held to account.”

Overview and scrutiny arrangements were introduced by the Local Government Act in 2000 as a counterweight to increasing decision-making powers of Leaders and Cabinets or directly elected mayors.

The committee said that shortcomings had been exposed, however, following a number of high profile cases, including child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, poor care and high mortality rates at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and governance failings in Tower Hamlets.

Housing cash raided as we struggle to get basic repairs done

Islington Tribune Leaseholder’s Letters.  

Housing cash raided as we struggle to get basic repairs done

Published:15 July, 2016

• IF you are an ordinary, working-class council tenant who ever thought Islington’s Labour council was on your side, think again.

Our rents and service charges are supposed to be ringfenced for managing, maintaining and repairing our homes. They are paid into the council’s housing revenue account (HRA), as distinct from the general fund, which all households pay into (including council tenants) through council tax.

The council, though, has just been exposed (in Inside Housing magazine) for using a loophole to raid the HRA to pay for “democratic and corporate core services”.  

While other councils have likewise been caught out, Islington has taken much more from the HRA than others. In 2014-15, 44 per cent of the cost of its “democratic and corporate core services” was taken from its HRA, while the London average (still inexcusable) was 6.9 per cent.  

This has been going on for years, with the percentage hiked up six per cent from 2011-12 to 2014-15.  Presumably, at the very least, the outgoing Islington housing lead member, now Deputy London Mayor, James Murray would have to have been aware that our rents are being used to subsidise other households, including some of the country’s wealthiest middle class. 

All tenants’ and residents’ associations should demand that the HRA raids stop and that any money taken for “democratic and core services” be paid back, especially as many of us struggle to get basic repairs done on our estates and are told that the budgets which council TRAs might bid for (for estate improvements) could be cut.  

PHIL COSGROVE 
Finsbury estate, EC1

Listed Building Consents on works done by Council Agent

Islington Council ( PFI) managing agent for street properties “Partners” have recently said that they will only obtain Listed Building Consents (LBC)/ planning permissions on works that they have done on properties in conservation areas or that are listed buildings IF the matter is brought to the attention of Partners directly by the resident concerned.
Islingtons  Planning Conservation department on the other hand says that ” that unauthorised works carried out to listed buildings is a criminal offence. As such persons with a material interest in the property may be liable to prosecution”
Leaseholder may also find that they have an issue if they ever wish to sell their properties, and they need to obtains the the LBC’s to give to potential buyers. Trying to get consents from Partners  in 2 or 10 year after works have been done may be tricky.
The ILA can’t give advice, so this shouldn’t be taken as such, but If your a leaseholder in a Conservation Area or Listed building you may want to check with the Islington Council conservation section of the Planning Department. whether the Major Works  that Partners have done on your property should have had or require LBC., and if so bring it directly to Partners attention.
Please also let the ILA know if the Councils planning department  confirm that council’s  agents (  e.g. Partners,[the former] HFI etc) or Housing Property Services have done works to your property without getting the appropriate consents. contact

Capital Programme Update – Quarter 4

To find out when the next works are happening to your (ex-hfi – not partners) property – Please see the Capital Programme Update – Quarter 4 (which is on Pages 35 to 67 of the Consultative Panels Central Reports May 2012)

Download
Consultative Panel Reports – May 2012

ILA AGM & Meeting Wed 13 June 2012

ILA

Islington Leaseholders Association

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

(meeting in public)

Wednesday 13th June 2012, 7pm

Main Council Chamber, Islington Town Hall,

Upper Street N1

Agenda

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1/

Introduction and Annual General Meeting 2011-2012:
7pm-7.30pm
a) Chairs Report

b) Treasurers Report 2011-2012

c) Resolution regarding Audit of Accounts

d) Election of Directors/co-opted directors

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2/

Chair opens monthly meeting 7.30pm

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3/
Guest speaker: Ms Patricia Napier (Barrister) who has been advising leaseholders and acting for them on a Pro Bono basis. 7.35pm-8pm
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4/

Questions and answers from leaseholders 8pm-8.30pm

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5/

Any other business 8.30pm-9pm
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NP:- Please let other leaseholders know about this meeting especially those who do not have email or tweet / RT this event.thank you.
=========================================

Hosting the meeting:- Dr B.S. Potter Chairman ILA

Follow us on Twitter @ilaorguk
Like us on Face Book http://on.fb.me/mWzios

Woman saves Islington taxpayers a fortune after spotting council window blunder

By JON DEAN Thursday, May 10, 2012
A woman was horrified when she found the council planned to charge her to replace the windows in her home – even though they were still covered under guarantee.

Vicki Leonard, 55, of Haslam Close, Islington, says the council had no idea about the warranty and was set to charge all the block’s residents for the work.

She called to protest, and says the council officer knew nothing about the 10-year-promise.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council retains guarantees for major works and we apologise that in this case there was an unacceptable delay in dealing with this request.” more

LVT refuse Islington council appeal against poor works and overcharging decision – Tremlett Grove vs LBI

The LVT recently confirmed that it considers Islington council Major Works charges were not reasonably incurred, and that one roof had been replaced & charged for without any clear evidence of inspection by the council, and that leaseholders were entitled to expect that blocks were inspected before substantial costs were incurred.

The LVT upheld it original decision of Merryweather & Brennand court vs LBI 29.3.12

The leaseholders concerned saved 10’s of thousands of pounds off their bills.

The council may still appeal again, but the real questions are why is the council wasting taxpayers money in making appeals rather than investigating its contractor(s) and staff responsible for the issues pointed out by the LVT ? and Is the Council going to obtain a full refund for the overcharging from its contractors so all tenants affected can benefit from the LVT decision , or are LBI to pass the cost back onto tenants and leaseholders in increased service charges in future bills ?

You can read the refusal statement LVT Refusal statement 26 April 2012

The LVT upheld it original decision of  Merryweather & Brennand court vs LBI 29.3.12 see below post LVT – Merryweather & Brennand court vs LBI 29.3.12

ILA monthly meet Wed. 14 Dec 2011

Islington Leaseholders Monthly Meeting is

Wednesday 14 December 2011

 

Islington Town Hall Chambers

time

7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting Dr Brian Potter Chairman ILA

Guest Speaker: Two legal representatives from ‘LEASE’
Taking questions and answering leaseholders issues from the floor.

Please tell all leaseholders on your Estates and in Street

properties to attend especially those who do not have email.

Update your memberships here

 

Dr B.S. Potter ILA Chairman

w. ila.org.uk

t. @ilaorguk

f. http://on.fb.me/mWzios

 

 

 

Billions of taxpayers money wasted by council on PFI schemes says Gazette

Residents will pay almost £1billion into the hands of big business and banks as a result of expensive contracts agreed by Islington Council.

Treasury figures obtained by the Gazette show £358million was borrowed from Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes, which will rocket to £1.3 billion – almost four times the initial outlay – by the time it is paid off in 2037.

This means £943million extra will be paid by Islington taxpayers, though this figure does include maintenance on the projects for the length of the contracts.  more