Welcome to InfoIslington, a blog dedicated to delivering quality information about Islington today. Produced by staff at the Islington Reference Library it will bring you details about quality web sites and other new social media , upcoming events, reports and where to find information today with a special relevance to Islington.
The opening hours of Contact Islington are changing. From Monday 6 July, Contact Islington (020 7527 2000) will operate from 9am-5pm, a change to the current opening hours of 8am-6pm. 93 per cent of all calls to Contact Islington are made between 9 and 5 and the change will align the phone lines with the opening hours of the Customer Centre at 222 Upper Street.
One of the grounds of challenge is that the Mayor failed in his duty to provide the maximum amount of affordable housing on the site that could reasonably be delivered. The councils believe he did not fulfil the requirements of policy and fair process when he assessed the scheme’s viability. The case raises important points of principle relating to the use of viability assessments and the delivery of affordable housing across London.
The Mayor of London granted planning permission for 681 homes on the site, one of the largest development sites in central London, in October last year. Viability evidence from the councils showed that at least 42 per cent affordable housing would be possible, with the majority being for social rent. However the Mayor approved a scheme with only 24 per cent affordable housing – including ‘affordable rents’ that could be two or three times the level of social rent.
Government has cut its funding to Islington Council in half since 2010. The borough has been hit harder than almost any other council in the country, with every household in Islington now £1,000 worse off as a result.
The council has already had to make savings totalling £112million since 2010. A further £37million of savings had to be identified in order to set a legal, balanced budget for 2015-2016.
At the budget meeting, Council Leader Cllr Richard Watts said unprecedented government cuts make the financial climate one of the toughest the council has ever faced:
“Many of Islington’s residents rely on the essential services the council provides. Our priority in setting this budget has been to protect those services – libraries, leisure centres, swimming pools, children’s centres and adult social care. My fear is that we will not be able to sustain these services if government cuts continue on this scale.”
Despite government cuts to Local Welfare Provision, the council agreed to continue its Resident Support Scheme which provides a crucial lifeline to people in desperate need, paying for everyday essentials such as beds, fridges and cookers for people fleeing domestic violence, care leavers, and those suffering from chronic physical and mental health problems.
The number of job losses arising from the budget is also lower than feared, with only 55 compulsory redundancies expected. In other areas where there had been media speculation about cuts, none were made, including school crossing patrols and the PlusBus.
The Statement of Accounts provides information about costs and income of the council's services for the financial year and liabilities and assets at the year end. The 2013-14 Statement of Accounts has been audited and approved and a clean audit opinion was given on 29 September 2014.
This is Islington’s third State of Equalities report. The report collates a variety of research and data in an effort to provide an overview of the state of equalities in the borough in 2015. The primary focus of the State of Equalities report is to build a single evidence base detailing facts for specific groups and some of the inequalities that they face.
The Localism Act introduced a new right for the community to nominate to the Council certain local publicly or privately owned buildings or land for recognition as being an asset of community value. The Council must consider all nominations received and, where it accepts that the current use or a recent past use of the asset has in the opinion of the council furthered the social wellbeing or social interests of the community and can continue to do so, include the building/land on a list of assets of community value. If an asset is listed then the owner cannot dispose of it without the community having an opportunity if it wants it of a total of 6 months to put together a bid to buy the asset. The owner of the asset does not have to sell it to the community. Assets will stay on the Council's list for a period of 5 years. The Council will also maintain a list of unsuccessful nominations. The list and further information can be found here.
In this age of expectation the council needs to deliver services that are modern, inexpensive and efficient, and in a way that is inclusive of all our residents. Digital technology has a fundamental role to play in delivering services that meet these expectations.
The Digital Strategy outlines Islington Council’s vision for ‘making Islington digital’ and our approach for realising this.
It hinges around four key priority areas:
• Digital Customer Service – Enabling citizens to get the services and information they need online.
• Digital Workforce – Giving staff the digital tools and skills required to deliver services effectively and efficiently.
• Digital Place – Equipping residents and businesses with the digital skills and technology they need to enhance their lives.
• Digital Collaboration – Using data and technology to tackle complex issues and work together seamlessly with our partners.
The Digital Strategy outlines what our vision is for each priority area, where we are now and how we will achieve our vision, looking at some of the key projects within the priority areas. It also includes the principles that the council will use to focus our investment and guide our work using technology.