Islington council to confirm decision on £20m pathfinder maintenance contract at meeting this month.
A consortium led by Unitary United House and Rydon Construction is understood to have won the first PFI social housing maintenance scheme in London.

The group, called Partners for Improvement in Islington, also includes Hyde Housing Association and Halifax Bank of Scotland. It is the second team in the country to pilot the government's flagship PFI housing pathfinders. The first scheme was in Manchester.

The decision by Islington council officers to recommend the appointment of the consortium for the £20m, 30-year maintenance programme must now be ratified by the council executive on 31 October.

The contract will involve work on 1900 council and 500 leasehold properties. A source close to the council said the scheme was the most varied of the eight pathfinder pilot schemes, adding: "The consortium will work on hundreds of different types of social housing, including listed buildings."

The Rydon team beat off competition from the Circle 33 Housing Trust consortium.

A spokesperson for the council said the likely start date for the pathfinder project would be decided after the council meeting.

A preferred bidder was originally expected to be named in July. However, all eight pathfinder schemes have been subject to severe delays, largely because of financial problems that remain unresolved. The result is that Islington is only the second council to select a preferred bidder for its scheme.

Islington is also participating in the second wave of housing PFIs. Four consortiums have been shortlisted for a 5200-home scheme in the area. These include Partners for Improvement in Islington and teams led by Ballast, Kier and Willmott Dixon.

A Gleeson Homes-led consortium, Grove Village, was the first to get a pathfinder project off the ground.

It won a £90m Manchester PFI contract earlier this year.

  • The first wave of PFI housing schemes are: Manchester, value £90m; Sandwell, West Midlands, £50m; Leeds, £45m; Camden, north London, £40m; North-east Derbyshire, £20m; Reading, Berkshire, £18m; Newham, east London, £35m; Islington, north London, £20m.