Who are Partners?
Working in partnership with the London Borough of Islington, Partners is an organisation set up specifically to operate the PFI (Private Finance Initiative) projects in Islington.
All of the organisations making up Partners have a wealth of experience in improving and managing council-owned property - between us we have over 100 years' experience!
Each of the partners has a specific role in delivering the project:
- Hyde Housing Association provides the housing management service including rent collection, tenancy and leasehold management and customer services
- United Living carried out the refurbishment of the properties during the first five and a half years, including installation and maintenance of heating systems in tenants homes. They also provide our gas servicing and gas repairs.
- Rydon Property Maintenance carries out the day to day repairs service
- HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) provided funding for the project
If you want to find out more about any of the organisations involved, click on the links to their Websites below:
The two holding companies (set up for each project, PFI1 and PFI2) are owned by three companies:
- BOS Infrastructure No. 3 Ltd
(a Bank of Scotland company, part of Lloyds Banking Group)
- Palio (No. 8) Ltd (a JLif company)
- Hyde Housing Association Ltd
The Private Finance Initiative is a Government programme aimed at bringing investment into council-owned property. It is an alternative to stock transfer and all of the properties stay under the Council's ownership - they do not transfer to a new landlord. PFI works like this:
- A specially-created organisation (in this case Partners) enters into a long-term contract with the Council to improve, manage and maintain the properties.
- Partners will bring the properties up to an agreed standard, keep them at that standard and provide management and maintenance services during the contract period.
- Partners are paid a fixed fee for doing this. This fee is performance-related, so if Partners don't provide the service or maintain the properties to the agreed standard, we lose money!
- The Council receives special "PFI credits" from the Government towards the cost.
- Islington Council monitor Partners' performance closely to make sure that we are meeting the standards set by the Council
The Islington PFI scheme
The PFI1 scheme in Islington was the first Housing PFI in the country to get underway and has been running since April 2003. It covers 2,340 Georgian and Victorian homes (in 990 properties) in the Highbury, Canonbury and Mildmay wards.
After a successful first three years managing homes in Islington, Partners signed the housing PFI2 contract with Islington Council in September 2006. The PFI2 scheme covers another 4,100 homes spread across the borough. The two projects together see Partners managing almost all of Islington Council’s street property homes.
The projects involve Partners carrying out an improvement programme to all properties, and managing and maintaining them for the rest of the contract. The PFI1 contract length is 30 years from 2003, and the PFI2 contract length is 16 years, from 2006.
The Council has set an "availability standard" up to which all properties must be brought within 6 years of the start of each project. For example, to make sure a property is "available" one of the "availability standards" is that it should be watertight. This would mean that a home with a leaking roof would fail the availability standard.
The works carried out to each property will depend on its current condition and what needs to be done to bring it up to the standard. For some properties, which are in quite good condition, relatively little may need to be done. For others, a lot more work will be needed. However, all tenanted homes will get a new kitchen, bathroom and modern central heating system.
The Council has also agreed performance standards with Partners, which set out the targets we have to achieve in providing a service to you. For example, they have set targets for how quickly we answer the phone or deal with a repair.
Both sets of standards - availability and performance - will be monitored closely by the council each month. If we are not reaching these standards, we will have money deducted from our payment. This way the Council can ensure that we are doing what we promised and providing them - and you - with value for money.
What PFI means for you
- You will stay a tenant or leaseholder of Islington Council - your landlord will not change.
- The PFI scheme does not affect your rights as a tenant or leaseholder - these will stay exactly the same as before. Tenants' Right to Buy will not be affected.
- The Council will continue to set rents for the properties - Partners has no say in the rents that are set, nor does the fact that works are being carried out to properties affect your rent.
- Partners will provide your housing management service on behalf of the Council. You should contact our Customer Services Team for any queries about your rent, your tenancy or lease or to report a repair.
- Your day to day repairs service will be provided by our dedicated local team of experienced operatives.
- All tenants and leaseholders will have the structure, the outside of their properties and shared areas brought up to the availability standard and to a good standard of repair.
- All tenanted homes will have a new kitchen, bathroom and central heating installed plus any other works that are needed to the inside of the property to meet the required standard.