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August 16, 2023

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Fire safety failings

Social Housing Regulator concludes Camden Council caused “serious detriment to tenants” for fire safety failings

Following an investigation into a breach of its standards, The Social Housing Regulator recently found Camden Council to have caused “actual and potential serious detriment to Camden’s tenants” due to fire safety failings.

The failings are related to the legal proceedings brought by the London Fire Service against London Borough (LB) of Camden Council regarding the death of a tenant in a fire in 2017.

Camden-London-unsplash-23In May, the Council pleaded guilty for failing to address fire defects which were found in risk assessments that took place in 2013 and 2017. It was fined £500,000 as a result of these failings at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Since then, the Social Housing Regulator has also carried out an investigation into Camden Council’s approach to fire safety.

In its report, published in July, it found serious failings and concluded that LB Camden “does not have an effective system in place to allow it to meet its responsibilities in relation to statutory fire safety responsibilities”.

Key findings included:

  • Over 9,000 remedial actions were overdue from fire risk assessments at the 3,200 blocks that require one. 1,500 had been overdue since 2020, and 400 of them were ‘high-risk’ actions.
  • A 2019 internal audit of its approach to fire safety found over 6,000 overdue fire remedial actions and issues relating to the quality and reporting of data. This demonstrated a “longstanding failure… to mitigate risks to tenants”.
  • More than 9,000 properties did not have a hard-wired smoke alarm installed and almost 4,000 did not have a carbon monoxide detector installed (for applicable properties).

Since the Regulator’s investigation, LB Camden is said to have put a plan in place. This includes completing overdue remedial actions and monitoring and reporting on the progress. It has also set out a programme to install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in all of the properties currently without them.

The Regulator says it will continue to work with LB Camden and monitor its progress as it addresses the issues.

The full review by the Regulator is available here.

 

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