Regulator of Social Housing – Sector Risk Profile 2019 – Health & Safety

The Regulator of Social Housing’s Sector risk profile 2019 has been published and highlights that strategic and operational risks facing the social housing sector are on the rise.

This is the seventh year of the annual publication, which is designed to help registered providers, board members and others to understand the operating environment and to think strategically about how their organisation can manage its risks.

The first bullet point of the most significant risks that boards must manage and mitigate, as provided by the Regulator is –  health and safety compliance; all providers have an obligation to act to ensure the homes they provide are safe for tenants and they must also fulfil their legal duty of care to their staff.

Providers must understand and fully meet all their existing obligations in relation to tenants’ health and safety, as well as preparing for increased expectations and changing requirements, particularly for high rise buildings.

The Regulator of Social Housing expects boards to have strong and appropriate oversight of decisions around stock quality and health and safety compliance. The safety of all tenants, especially the most vulnerable, should be of primary importance for all providers.

The Regulator also expects boards to comply with all health and safety statutory requirements; this includes having up-to-date and relevant policies in place that are regularly managed and monitored by the board, effective compliance reporting and good quality data.

3 KEY POINTS, amongst others included in the publication, that are absolutely paramount to me and that I’d like to highlight are;

1.  Failure to comply with all relevant statutory health and safety requirements puts tenants’ lives at risk. All providers have an obligation to act to ensure the homes they provide are safe. Providers must also fulfil their legal duty of care to their staff and seek to understand their tenants’ needs.

2. The Regulators recently published Consumer regulation review reiterates the importance for providers to have systems in place to provide assurance to the board that the consumer standards (which apply to both private registered providers and local authorities) are being met. Providers are expected to meet a range of statutory health and safety obligations including gas, electrical and fire safety as well as the management of asbestos, legionella and lifts. Increasingly, there is recognition that ensuring tenants’ homes are safe goes beyond complying with specific pieces of legislation. It is important for providers to engage with tenants to understand their circumstances and their needs, as well as the stock they are responsible for, regardless of whether they are leased or managed properties.

3. Providers who do not have good quality data on the condition and compliance position of their stock risk failure to comply with statutory requirements and placing their tenants in danger. The regulator’s expectation is that all providers will have assurance on the quality and integrity of their stock data as part of its requirements on asset and liability records.

You download the full publication here

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