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05Jul2016

Housing Association investigated over fire safety

A housing association has been put on the social housing regulator’s ‘watchlist’ following concerns over fire safety according to insidehousing.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is investigating Symphony Housing Group after the landlord reported concerns about its own procedures for fire risk assessments.

The HCA has placed the landlord on its ‘gradings under review’ list, as it is at risk of non-compliance with the governance part of the agency’s Governance and Financial Viability Standard.

The move follows an internal review of fire risk assessments by Symphony Group, which highlighted problems.

The landlord’s new chief executive Bronwen Rapley, who was previously deputy director of investigation and enforcement at the HCA, reported these concerns to the regulator earlier this month.

A Symphony source said: “When the internal report came back, Bronwen felt we needed to review our procedures.

“With her previous post with the HCA, she wanted to make sure we were doing everything by the book… I think Bronwen felt it would probably in the circumstances be better to inform the HCA.”

The precise nature of Ms Rapley’s concerns remain unclear. However, the source said the fire risk assessments “probably weren’t as robust as they could be”.

The HCA said the matter could impact on Symphony’s compliant governance rating. Symphony currently holds the maximum ‘G1’ rating.

Ms Rapley, chief executive of Symphony, said: “The concerns relate to our processes and controls – no resident or member of staff has been injured.

“We take the welfare of our residents and staff very seriously and are taking all necessary steps to resolve the issues. We will co-operate fully with the HCA investigation.”

Orbit Group in November became the first housing association to meet the regulator’s ‘serious detriment’ threshold for HCA intervention on consumer issues for reasons of fire safety.

Derwent Living has also been put on the HCA’s watchlist following an in-depth assessment.

A Derwent spokesperson would not elaborate on the reason for the decision. “Derwent Living will work positively and constructively with the HCA on this,” the spokesperson said.

The HCA declined to comment on the reasons for either landlord being placed on the watchlist.

If you are experiencing difficulties with fire risk assessments and fire safety advice please contact us using our online form or call us on 0203 478 7347.

  • 5 Jul, 2016
  • Admin
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  • fire risk, fire risk assessment, fire risk assessments, fire safety, News,

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