Islington leaseholders – Housing Scrutiny Committee Panel Meeting Mon 16th Nov 2015 – Including report from Islington Leaseholders Association recommendations for consideration.‏

Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA) has asked me to forward this information onto you all regarding the Housing Scrutiny Committee Panel Meeting which takes place this Monday 16th November  2015, at Islington Town Hall, in committee room 4, at 7pm.
Dr Potter would like as many as possible leaseholders to turn up at this meeting.
Please see below Islington Housing Scrutiny Committee: Capital Programming Minutes and click on the attachment Report from Islington Leaseholders Association where you can viewILA’s Recommendations for consideration.
 
Kind Regards Dr B.S. Potter Chairman (ILA)
 

Islington Housing Scrutiny Committee: Capital Programming

Recommendations for consideration 

·  Promotion and facilitation of Tenants & Residents Associations prior to consideration of works in order to facilitate and enhance subsequent involvement of ‘tenants’ in consultation.

·  The size of each project and therefore each contract should be smaller.

·  Cyclical maintenance to be undertaken block by block with the occasional aggregation of two or more blocks into single projects but never such as to risk infringing the EU procurement thresholds.1

·  Projects to be undertaken with the pre-project scoping consultation as now intended as universal practice well before and in addition to statutorily required ‘Section 20’ 

Consultation 

·  Irrespective of the size of contract a clause should be written to the effect that there is to be no sub-contractor without the prior approval of the Council’s contract. 

Administrator 

·  The practice of allowing contractors a specific clause prohibiting the photo-copying or otherwise making generally available of the Schedule of Rates to be terminated.

·  The Schedule of Rates used for major works projects and responsive repairs to be made available to the public on the internet in the interest of transparency and to pre-empt time absorbing enquiries.

·  Contracts to be JCT Contracts of the current edition and as appropriate for the size and nature of each project.2

·  Contracts once signed should be made available to the public on the internet.  Personal names and signatures should be redacted.

·  Frequent and adequate inspection and supervision of the works during construction, incorporating, where possible, involvement of ‘tenant inspectors’.

NB ‘Tenants’ includes both tenants with long leases and those with periodic tenancies.

Islington Leaseholders’ Association 

Islington Housing Scrutiny Committee: Capital Programming 

1. Contention 

Leaseholders contend that the procurement process as currently operated by the London Borough of Islington works against the interests of Leaseholders and by implication against the interest of secure tenants and the electorate of Islington.

The choice of contractor is limited to those that are big enough to tender for the work through the EU procurement process.

The contractors who actually do the work on site are typically not the contractors that have been selected but their sub-contractors.

Once the work on site is embarked upon leaseholders are faced with what amounts to a campaign of attrition and exercise of forensics if they are to ascertain from their bills whether they have been charged correctly against the scale of charges that the contractors have agreed with the Borough and it may be that the degree of secrecy that is being applied by the contractors is being applied following prior collaboration between the contractors in what amounts to a cartel arrangement.

2. Evidence 

Attendees to the meeting on 2015 September 07 heard repeated the allegation that the JCT Contracts are “adversarial”. The allegation that the construction industry had become to adversarial has been made repeatedly since the early 1990s and the recommendations of the Latham3 and Egan4 Reports were directed at eliminating the adversarial aspects and the excessive amount of litigation being experienced by promoting ‘partnership’ as an alternative to contractual relationships.

However now that we have the benefit of hindsight we can see that the changes that have been wrought have not delivered us to the promised land. We may not have the litigation that we had previously but this is only because we do not have the benefit of robust contracts under which to seek redress and cannot contemplate the expense of needing to go through the performance of going out to tender again.

What we manifestly do experience is a lack of performance resulting in the need for works of reparation that the client has to pay for without recourse to the contractors who, for their part have been denied the incentive to produce quality work.

“It must never be forgotten that architects who cause their clients to suffer loss through ignorance in administering a contract may be liable for professional negligence.” Should the fashion for partnership provide a defence?

So are the JCT contracts essentially adversarial and were they to blame for the litigation that used to be experienced? 

It is the very essence of the JCT contracts that they were devised, and revised over the years, such that it could not be argued in the courts that their terms were unfair or prejudicial to any one of the various parties to any construction project.

To this end The Joint Contracts Tribunal, to give it the name from which ‘JCT’ emanates, following recommendations in the 1994 Latham Report, currently the operational structure comprises 7 members who approve and authorise publications. They were listed by the JCT in 2014 as the British Property Federation, the Contractors Legal Grp Limited, the Local Government Association, the National Specialist Contractors Council, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Scottish Building Contract

Islington Leaseholders’ Association 

Islington Housing Scrutiny Committee: Capital Programming

Committee. In 1998 the JCT became a limited company. Thus all aspects of the construction industry have agreed the terms of the contracts and any contractor would have they work cut out if they were to attempt to argue that the contract is unfair.

We should ask whether the degree of litigation prevalent at the end of the last century had more to do with the economies that were being through reduction in the degree to which work was laboriously specified and inspected during construction.

EU Procurement:

In parallel with the move away from robust contracts we have, perhaps out of some misguided impression that an economy of scale will necessarily be beneficial, been uccoured into undertaking projects of work of such size that EU procurement rules require advertising work in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

However we see time and time again that whilst those that tender for the work are large companies those that actually do the work on site are comparatively small sub-contractors the choice of which is out of the clients direct control.

It seems that a sub-contractor can be considered large enough to do the work despite not being large enough to tackle the EU procurement process.

The net result is a lack of control for the client who can find themselves with work being carried out by sub-contractors that they would not have chosen to employ and subcontractors who are actually doing the work can not be guaranteed to be rewarded for their efforts by being considered again. Someone is paying the cost of expensive EU tendering for all the projects that the contractors do not win and someone is paying for the administrative cost inherent in the multi-layered nature of the contractor and this can only be the client.

Further as to the sizes of the contract, it should be noted that aggregating works into larger contracts can in some circumstances be readily demonstrated to have been detrimental to the treatment of the buildings. This was the case with the Merryweather Court and Brennand Court, Tremlett Grove contract that was subsequently the subject of a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. It was upheld that all the roofs were treated the same despite the fact that they had not all been inspected and that some having been protected with insulation and concrete slabs had almost certainly not required replacement.

Transparency:

We are given to understand that the London Borough of Islington has received legal advice to the effect that it does not have to release information on the costing of housing projects.  The exact nature of that advice is not known. It is not know what question was asked nor do we know what answer was given.

Was the loaded question asked as to whether it would prove in time that the Borough had to release the information and was the answer given that leaseholders would be unlikely to win a case against the Borough or was some other question asked?

It is recommended that no further contracts be entered into with the clause prohibiting disclosure of the full schedule of rates. It is to be anticipated that the council will be told that the inclusion of such a clause is standard practice. For this reason the Council may have to work with other councils to counter a practice for which there can be no justification once contracts have been signed. What do we call contractors who are conspiring together and how could this fit with the concept of free competition?

Islington Leaseholders’ Association 

References: 

EC Procurement Thresholds 

http://www.ojec.com/threshholds.aspx

The Joint Contracts Tribunal 

http://www.jctltd.co.uk/ 

3 Latham Report (1994 July): 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latham_Report

4 Egan Report (1998) 

http://constructingexcellence.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/rethinking_construction_report.pdf

“Latham’s report: Did it change us?” By Joey Gardiner, Building Product Search (2014 June 27th) 

http://www.building.co.uk/lathams-report-did-it-change-us?/5069333.article

Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (1996 Chapter 53): 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/53/pdfs/ukpga_19960053_en.pdf

Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009: 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/20/pdfs/ukpga_20090020_en.pdf 

 

Leaseholders and Freeholders Open Day 2015 this wednesday 7th Oct

Wednesday 7 October 3pm – 7.30pm

Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, London, N1 2UD

Come along and talk to us about:

  • Your annual or major works service charges
  • Future works to your home
  • Subletting or selling

Meet:

  • ILA Directors on ILA Stall
  • LEASE – the independent leasehold advice service
  • Citizens advice bureau
  • Credit union
  • LBI Officers from various departments etc

ILA meet Wed 9th September

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

On

Wednesday 9th September 2015

In

Islington Town Hall

At

7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)

Guest Speaker: Mr Paul Lightfoot, Group Leader Direct Works (includes scaffolding) 

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 into http://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.

please feel fee to pass this info on to other leaseholders in chat, email Facebook or twitter.

Petition against the latest outrageous proposal for parking in the borough.

If you would like to sign the petition against the latest outrageous proposal for parking in the borough…

You can do so here

www.islingtonchamber.org.uk/parking
The deadline for signing it is the 7th of this month…so it is extremely urgent…

 

ILA meet Wed 12th August

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

On

Wednesday 12th August 2015

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 contact us here.

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

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 meet 10 June 2015

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

On

Wednesday 10th June 2015

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 contact us here.

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

 

ILA meet Wed 13.05.15

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

on

Wednesday 13th May 2015
in

Islington Town Hall
at
7pm – 9pm

Hosting the meeting: Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA)
Guest Speaker:  TBC
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 contact us here

If you wish to join or renew your membership please contact our website www.ila.org.uk

where you can obtain the appropriate membership forms.

ILA meet Wed 10th Dec 2014

Islington Leaseholders Association Meeting

on

Wednesday 10th December 2014

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

 

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

“WESTLAW” free of charge in all of Islington’s Libraries.

Dr Brian Potter Chairman (ILA) has asked me to forward this onto you all.
I have just discovered that you can access “WESTLAW” free of charge in all of Islington’s Libraries.If you need to research any form of law documentation…all that you need is a library card…!!!

Dr B.S. Potter Chairman (ILA)

 

People vs PFI conference 01. 11.14

Join us on the 1st November, 9am – 5:30pm at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for the inaugural People vs PFI conference, bringing together academics, medical professionals, campaigners, researchers, journalists and grassroots organisations to discuss the problem of PFI, and to brainstorm political and practical solutions – with a focus on PFI in the NHS and social housing.

Speakers include: Richard Brooks (Private Eye), Ann Pettifor (Advocacy International), Nick Hildyard (Corner House) Ashley Seagar (Intergenerational Foundation, formerly The Guardian), Cat Hobbs (We Own it), Fran Boait (Positive Money), David McCoy (Medact), David Price (Queen Mary University London) Stuart Hodkinson (University of Leeds) John Lister (Keep Our NHS Public), and Dexter Whitfield (European Services Strategy Unit), with more speakers to be confirmed.

more info