The council has two Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts to manage council housing stock with property management company Partners for Improvement in Islington (Partners). The council entered into these agreements as they were the only way of securing funding to invest into improving the condition of the properties. Partners improved and modernised 4,000 homes to meet the decent homes standard.
One contract, PFI2, covering more than 4,000 council homes, ends in April 2022. As such, the council needed to consider the future delivery of housing maintenance and repair for the homes covered under PFI2.
A month-long consultation asked residents if they wanted maintenance and repair to be carried out by the council, or another external provider. Of the 392 people who responded, 91 per cent were in favour of the council delivering services directly.
After considering the consultation results, as well as a comprehensive options appraisal, a report published this week recommends that the council’s Executive bring management of the homes back in-house.
This would mean that from the end of the contract in April 2022, the council will directly deliver a housing management, maintenance and repairs service to these residents.
This decision is in-line with the council’s ‘in-house by default’ policy, designed to deliver quality and value to the borough’s residents. The council currently delivers housing management, repairs and maintenance services to over 25,000 estate and street property homes.
Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development, said: “An overwhelming majority of people in PFI2 homes who responded to our consultation told us that they want their housing and maintenance services brought back in-house.
“Bringing these homes back under council management will allow us to put customer satisfaction and quality service provision at the heart of these services, while at the same time delivering value for money for all of our residents.
“We will continue to work closely with Partners while they continue to manage our council homes.”
A spokesperson for Partners said: “We feel privileged to have delivered the investment which residents needed, fitting new kitchens, bathrooms and full central heating systems and managing these 4000 homes since 2006. We are pleased that residents have supported the council’s preferred option for when our PFI2 project ends and we will continue to work closely with the council to ensure a smooth transition."
The recommendation that management of the council homes covered by PFI2 is brought back in-house is made in a report published today (July 8) to Islington Council’s Executive. The Executive will make its decision on July 16.
As part of preparations for the contract ending, surveyors will visit some homes in the coming months to assess their condition and any maintenance issues. All surveyors will meet strict guidelines for social distancing.
The council’s other contract with Partners, PFI1, for services to around 2,000 homes, does not expire until 2033. Partners will continue to manage those homes.