Dudley Council in breach of health and safety requirements in Social Housing

Dudley Council is taking action to improve the quality of data it holds on its housing stock after an internal review found it was not consistently accurate or up to date.

In March, the council referred itself to the Regulator of Social Housing after discovering longstanding issues with data quality and performance reporting, dating back up to ten years. 

The Regulator found the council failed to carry out more than 8,000 remedial fire safety actions, and around 500 annual asbestos safety inspections. In addition, it reported that around 4,000 homes had not had an electrical inspection within the past 10 years, and more than 300 homes had overdue gas safety inspections.

The council did not have full or accurate data on compliance with the Decent Homes Standard.

On discovering the issues, Dudley Council  immediately drew up a 12-month action plan to ensure not only is the data accurate, current and provides assurance that it meets regulatory standards and statutory requirements, but all actions and associated work, which may be outstanding, are completed and evidenced.

The Regulator has concluded the council had breached the Home Standard with the potential for serious detriment to tenants and has issued a Regulatory Notice. However, it does not intend to take statutory action at this time, recognising the programme put in place to address the issues. Kate Dodsworth, director of consumer regulation at RSH, said:

“Dudley Council has failed to meet health and safety requirements and has put its tenants at potential risk.

“The council referred itself to us when it identified these issues, and we are monitoring it closely as it takes urgent action to put things right.”

Balvinder Heran, deputy chief executive at Dudley Council, added "We want to reassure tenants we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can.

"We referred ourselves to the Regulator of Social Housing after our internal review found compliance data on our properties was not consistently accurate or up to date and they have today confirmed our findings.

"Our tenants deserve the best and as soon as the discovery was made on our historic data, we took immediate action. We have drawn up a 12-month action plan to address issues to improve and maintain good, up to date records on all our properties.

"I am grateful to all our tenants and colleagues for their support during this process."

Kathryn Jones, director of housing and communities at Dudley Council, said: "We take residents’ safety extremely seriously, so once we became aware of the historical data quality issue we referred ourselves to the regulator and started to implement an action plan to validate the information we hold.

“This doesn’t mean the checks haven’t happened in the past, it’s that the council doesn’t have full records in one place to be sure the information it has is right.

"We had already commissioned a 12-month programme of stock condition surveys. This started this month and will now include the checks on those compliance areas identified to ensure data is up to date and work is carried out where required.

"We realise this may cause concern to residents, but we want to assure them we are taking swift action to carry out compliance checks and address any work needed.”


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