letter printed in Hackney Gazette 17th May
Your report last week that Hackney Council plan to take ITNet to court for £30 million damages might have cheered a few of your readers up, but think about this; ITNet have in fact increased their turnover again this year, despite their obvious failures in Hackney, and look set to win more contracts for their “outsourcing” work, meanwhile the agony goes on for those left waiting for payments and threatened with eviction.
Thousands of Hackney residents have been affected by this fiasco – most of them on low incomes and already feeling the pinch – but who will pay for it all? Who decided to sign a contract with ITNet and why did it take so long for the council to respond? Will the real victims of this scandal get any compensation? Don’t hold your breath.
The local government Ombudsman has ruled that a woman who suffered delays and denials from both Hackney Council and ITNet is entitled to a payout of £250 to compensate her for her troubles. The woman, who submitted the appropriate documents for her Housing Benefit claim, was left waiting for months, and only received payment after a complaint to the Ombudsman.
While the amount is hardly a fair reflection of what many people go through, it is clear that the work Hackney Independent has put in through groups like Whose Benefit? and our advice surgeries in Shoreditch, are producing some results for local people who have been snubbed by the Council and messed around by a company like ITNet that should stick to working with computers rather than people.