Yesterday was the first PFI meeting of the year. Bit heavy going this time around. With guest speakers waiting to be heard I decided to shuffle the agenda around a bit so they could speak in the first hour. Nothing's worse than being an invited guest speaker then having to wait until after the business of the day before delivering their spiel when everybody is tired and just itching to go home.
The plans on tackling Antisocial behaviour and Harassment is now well documented. The talk gave members the opportunity to ask questions. Sometimes it's not clear to people what is the difference between Antisocial behaviour and Harassment. These days more and more residents are having the confidence to come forward and report their neighbours. Some people's stories especially of harassment against targeted individuals often by whole families are absolutely horrendous. Ask nicely and if they don't respond in a neighbourly way report the matter before it gets out of hand. Keeping a diary and reporting situations is key to getting something done officially.
We had others speaking about the on going tenancy audit being conducted by both Homes for Islington and Partners. The borough is desperately short of social housing and needs to free up properties by evicting illegal tenants and down-sizing others. I found the topic particularly interesting. One specific concern, how they deal with identifying adult 'children' not in full time education, who are actually living at home from those who actually live else where but claim to be so they can remain registered as a resident of the borough hopefully for eventual rehousing.
As Chair I've requested a progress report on this issue to be reviewed by the committee on an annual basis.
A welcome surprise came from United House the company undertaking the refurbishment works of the PFI properties. Not very often do companies offer to donate without being asked but they did. Could have knocked me down with a feather. As part of their plan to help the community they are looking for local community charity projects they can offer some funding. My personal comment was that only those without any council funding should be considered. It has been suggested the plan should be outlined in an article for the March edition of the Residents' Newsletter. Its expected we will get an avalanche of replies. The final decision as to who gets what will be based on merit.
PFI residents will have noticed the impressive improvement to the Residents’ Newsletter. The Christmas 2007 issue was the best so far published. It is often difficult to source interesting local news items and stories to balance with Partners report-back to residents. If you are a PFI resident do you have anything to say or know of anything interesting happening local let Partners know. Many residents' who haven't had their flat refurbished are anxious about what to expect. An opportunity to be in the news - we would also like any resident who is pleased with the refurbishment works to their flat to send in their snapshots & mugshots as well and say a few words.
The general buzz from the Forum members is that whilst there is still room for improvement, resident customer satisfaction is much better than the old days before PFI. It is somehow comforting to know that every PFI property is being monitored within a long-term maintenance programme - gone are the old days when residents were ignored. Least one noteble fact is that the PFI Residents Forum is gaining respect because all specific complaints brought to it's attention by members are being dealt with to a satisfactory conclusion.
Labels: PFI 2008, United House