London Mayor betrays 34 estates over housing ballots

Mayor quietly signs off funding for 34 estates, dodging new ballot rules

At Mayor’s Question Time this week, the Mayor gave me a firm promise not to sign off any new funding for estate demolition while his new policy to require a ballot of residents was out for consultation. But he was concealing the fact he has recently rushed through funding for dozens of controversial schemes, allowing councils and housing associations to dodge his new policy.

The new policy to require ballots was announced on 2 February, with a consultation on the details (such as the size of schemes, who can vote, whether independent organisations should carry them out etc) open until 3 April.

I asked him at MQT this week not to sign off any schemes meanwhile, and he was clear he would not do this, saying: “I will be signing no new funding contracts until the consultation has ended and we’ve published the final guide.”

This seemed quite good. Along with campaigners from many estates across London, and with the support of the Assembly, I’ve been working to change the Mayor’s policy on giving residents a say since his truly appalling draft ‘Good Practice Guide’ to estate regeneration was published in December 2016. A consultation on that draft closed nearly a year ago in March 2017, and the results were that 95 per cent of responders asked for ballots for residents facing demolition.

However,

I have now found out that, all this time, the Mayor has been quietly signing off funding for some of the most controversial estate schemes in London….despite promising in his manifesto to “require that estate regeneration only takes place where there is resident support, based on full and transparent consultation.”

By Sian Berry

Read More

Site Allocations Direction of Travel Consultation (Homes, Work & other spaces) – Have Your Say

Islington council is consulting on the Site Allocations Direction of Travel Document and is seeking feedback until 26 March 2018.

The Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) is a key document within Islington’s Local Plan. Site allocations provide site specific policy for key sites to help secure specific land uses, meet identified development needs and ensure the infrastructure required to support growth is in place. The DPD is used alongside relevant planning policies to guide decision-making on planning applications relating to allocated sites.

Over 150 sites have been identified, which could accommodate new housing, workspaces, shops, open spaces, or leisure and community facilities. The council is inviting feedback on the proposed site allocations. Any comments received during the consultation period will be used to inform the drafting of the final version of the document.

You can view the Site Allocations Direction of Travel document via the link: www.islington.gov.uk/consultations.

Hard copies of the draft document are available to view at all Islington libraries.

Have your say

You can make comments on the draft document:

·         by email to planningpolicy@islington.gov.uk

·         in writing to Planning Policy Team, Freepost RTXU-ETKU-KECB, Planning Policy, Islington Council, Town Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD.

Please send your comments by midnight on Monday 26 March 2018.

Yours Sincerely
Planning Policy Team

London Borough of Islington

Housing Scrutiny – Information on Partners Resident Scrutiny Arrangements Meeting Tuesday 6th February 2018.

Housing Scrutiny-Information on Partners Resident Scrutiny Arrangements Meeting Tuesday 6th February 2018.

In advance of next week’s Housing Scrutiny meeting which will be considering the performance of Partners, please find attached a note submitted by a Partners tenant on the organisation’s resident scrutiny arrangements. This may inform discussions at the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday 6th February, 2018, at 7.30pm in Committee Room 4. The pre-meeting will be held from 7-pm in Committee Room 3, at Islington Town Hall.

Please click on this link –PartnersResidentScrutinyNote2018.pdf

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018

Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA) and ILA Directors
Would like to wish you all A Very Merry Christmas
And a Prosperous and Happy New Year 2018

ILA Merry Xmas & Happy New Year 2017

*************
Future dates for your diaries 2018
Islington Leaseholders Association
Wednesday Monthly Meetings which takes place on the Second Wednesday of every Month in Islington Town Hall Chambers, between 7pm-9pm.

Wednesday 10th January 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 14th February 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 14th March 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 11th April 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 09th May 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 13th June 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 11th July 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 08th August 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 12th September 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 10th October 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 14th November 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 12th December 2018 –Islington Town Hall Chambers – 7pm-9pm
_____________________________________________

 

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.

Pity that Islington’s Councillors aren’t as concerned about their leaseholders

Please read this letter…

Basically, in a very few words, it outlines many of the problems, and aspirations, associated with being a council leaseholder in the borough of Camden.

In my opinion its content could/should be common to all council leaseholders, regardless of which borough they live in since it forcefully stresses the plight of a deliberately ignored proportion of the electorate…until, of course, the council present us with their grossly inflated charges for substandard work…

I just wish I had written it…

Dr Potter

Chairman: – Islington Leaseholders Association (ILA)

 

 

Report of the Camden Leaseholder Recharges Scrutiny Panel

Cllr Meric Apak (Chair) writes:

I cannot help but speculate whether, before my time as a Councillor, my predecessors have been in this same position, aspiring to resolve leasehold related issues in council housing.

My personal aim through this scrutiny process has been to shine a torch on our failings as shown by the evidence we have collected, learn from this, and make recommendations to unravel this complex tangled mess which we seem to have allowed to fester.

Alas, for too long now we seem to have turned a blind eye to a culture which treats our leaseholders as second class residents – at least that’s the impression I get from my postbag. We need to accept that leasehold tenure in council housing is here to stay and that our leaseholders make a positive contribution to Camden.

Leaseholders are neither an irritating adjunct to council housing nor an ATM machine, and we need to differentiate the ordinary vast majority, from the minority who used the Right-to-Buy scheme for property speculation purposes.

We need to tap into Leaseholders’ knowledge and expertise to help Camden drive costs down, particularly in supervision and management. Services need, particularly in today’s straightened times, to provide value for money and to be comparable with those procured elsewhere in the marketplace, whilst complying with health and safety requirements. Not driving costs down can only result in unjustified charges to leaseholders which will not be recovered, which in turn can only be met by the Housing Revenue Account – thus pushing rents higher. So when we say leaseholders are “subsidised by tenants”, are we not highlighting our own failure?

We need to come up with ingenious methods to successfully engage with and meaningfully involve leaseholders (together with tenants) during the consultation process and convince them from the outset that this process will deliver a high quality service and value for money.

For this to work, there needs to be ‘buy-in’ from leaseholders that the survey and estimated cost of works to be done is worth the paper it’s written on. We then need to execute the agreed work, on time and to the agreed budget. This is obviously a simplification of what is needed – perhaps even a fanciful aspiration some might say.

Our success will be measured by how much culture change we can bring about throughout the officer ranks of the Council. We have a real opportunity to expand the ‘Right First Time’ philosophy, and to instill ‘buy-in’ for this concept right from the very junior member of staff to the most senior manager, and through to external providers and partners involved in delivering services to our leaseholders and tenants.

I would like to extend my thanks to the panel members for assisting me in this process. I would also like to say a special thanks to our Assistant Director Stuart Dilley, who agrees that there does need to be a culture change within the Council. Special thanks also to our committee clerk Vinothan Sangarapillai who has been instrumental in capturing the evidence through his diligent note taking.

But most of all, I am truly grateful to the many leaseholders for the large number of case studies that they have submitted to the Panel and took the time to describe the many harrowing experiences they have endured under the unsatisfactory historic arrangements – thank you.

Meric Apak

 

Context   http://wp.me/PY9zq-Ly

ILA Meet Wed 14.09.16

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

On

Wednesday 14th September 2016

In

Islington Town Hall

At

7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speaker: To be advised

Website www.ila.org.uk

Twitter @ilaorguk

Face Book www.facebook.com/IslingtonLeaseholdersAssociation

Volunteers wanted

The ILA are looking for a ‘secretary’ to take minutes and distribute them regularly to all the directors and asks for a volunteer to undertake this essential part of the work, to assist with the smooth running of the organisation.  If you are interested please log intohttp://www.ila.org.uk/faqs/contact-form.

If you wish to join or renew your membership please contact our website ww.ila.org.uk where you can obtain the appropriate membership forms.

EU vote – Original In/Out promotional material

Here are some of the original In/Out EU vote promotional materials, from Dr Potter of the ILA, to help inform Leaseholders regarding the history of the process that we are about to vote on.

Gov say to vote yes  Vote Yes  Vote No

 

Building contractor sacked after overcharging housing chiefs £300k

Leaseholders will be interested to know There has been a bit of a sea change in Brighton amongst the councillors and they recently refused the Housing Revenue Account budget for the next 3 years. There has also been another, yet another, scandal regarding overcharging and Mears . More here

Inspection of Islington Council Accounts 

 Inspection of Accounts 

Adverts are out this week from 22 June 2015 to 17 July 2015 but feel free to send in requests from now so we can start Mohammed.Sajid@islington.gov.uk please see below.

Audit of Accounts 31st March 2014 to 1st April 2015

  • Audit Commission Act 1998, sections 15 – 16
  • The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011 Regulations 9, 10, 21 and 22

Each year the council’s accounts are audited. In line with the above Acts and Regulations any person interested has the right to:

  • Inspect the accounts and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to them and make copies of the above (a charge may be made for copies).

The accounts for the year ending 31 March 2015 and documents will be available at the Council Offices, 7 Newington Barrow Way, London N7 7EP between 9.30am and 4.30pm on Mondays to Fridays from 22nd June to 17th July 2015.

If you wish to inspect any particular documents please apply first to the Corporate Accountancy Tram at the above address, call 0207 527 2725 or email AccountsInspection@islington.gov.uk  so that arrangements can be made. Please note: you may need to visit other offices you may need to visit other offices to view some documents. From 10.00am on Monday 20th July 2015 until Wednesday 30th September 2015, until the end of the audit process, a local government elector for the area of the council, or his/her representative.

 

ILA_Gazette28.11.13 -£3,500 mislaid_lr

 

ILA Monthly Meet Wed 11th Feb 7pm

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting
 
On
Wednesday 11th February 2015
In
Islington Town Hall
At
7pm – 9pm
Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)
Guest Speaker: TBA
Twitter @ilaorguk 
 
Volunteers wanted
The ILA are looking for a ‘secretary’ to take minutes and distribute them regularly to all the directors and asks for a volunteer to undertake this essential part of the work, to assist with the smooth running of the organisation.  If you
are interested please log into http://www.ila.org.uk/faqs/contact-form
 
If you wish to join or renew your membership please contact our website www.ila.org.ukwhere you can obtain the appropriate membership forms. 
 
Please impress upon any other leaseholders that it is in their interest to attend these meetings regularly….. 
Dr B.S. Potter Chairman (ILA)