Agenda item

Regulatory Compliance


The Acting Director of Housing presented the report.

The Committee were aware the Chief Executive determined, in consultation with the Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, to self-refer the Council to the Regulator of Social Housing.  Since this referral Officers had been providing further data and details relating to the core issues of non-compliance for the Regulator to consider and review. 

Updating Tenants and Members:

Following on from previous briefings, further All Member Briefings were to be arranged to ensure Members were fully informed on progress and continued challenges.

As reported to the Committee’s meeting in June 2022, a full tenant consultation exercise had been undertaken – “The Big Listen”.  This involved several questions on both the current experience of tenants in terms of the services the Council offers as a landlord and what they wanted to see prioritised in the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan, requiring a complete review in 2022/23.  The questions were based on the Regulator of Social Housing’s proposed Tenant Satisfaction Measures and the initial report was provided to Committee in the meeting on 23 June 2022.

The Council were committed to an ongoing programme of regular costed building condition surveys to inform a proactive, planned maintenance programme and reduce the need for more expensive reactive repairs. 

A key activity to support the HRA Business Plan review was up-to-date information on the Council’s housing stock.  As noted in previous reports, the last full Stock Condition Survey was completed in 2009; good practice suggested a comprehensive Stock Condition survey should be completed every 5 years, usually by undertaking a survey of 20% of the stock each year.  The Survey has now concluded, and analysis of the findings continued.

The Council continued to utilise its Rant and Rave feedback, seeking real time feedback from tenants following responsive repairs.  The Council continued to see overall satisfaction of 4.5 out of 5, demonstrating sustained high satisfaction at the point where repairs were undertaken.

Regular Meetings with the Regulator:

Monthly meetings between the Chief Executive, Director of Housing and Property Services, Assistant Director of Housing, and the Regulator’s Officers were taking place as scheduled.  The next meeting at time of writing was due on 17th February 2023.  Progress had been significant right across the landlord health and safety compliance function (latest monthly figures attached as Appendix One to this report) and the relationship with the Regulator was positive, with the Regulator acknowledging that the Council was moving to a position to seek removal of the Notice that was formally served in February 2021.

That removal was contingent on three issues:

(a)       Sustained maintenance of performance in relation to the key landlord health and safety areas (i.e., those shown on Appendix One)

(b)       Clear programmes of work related to the actions that arose from those areas (these were provided to the Regulator monthly)

(c)        A satisfactory external audit of the above, providing external assurance. 

To enable the Regulator to remove the notice we were required to undertake an external audit of our compliance related functions. The outcomes of this audit shall then provide assurance to the Regulator on our current performance and governance structures. The audit commenced in mid-December and was currently ongoing, due to be complete by end of February 2023.  The Committee was to be updated on its findings in due course.

The Acting Director of Housing informed Members of the main regulatory compliance figures:

·       Legionella – 100% compliant, having evidenced consistent and proactive management of this compliance element.

·       Gas – 99.29% achieved in December, slightly down from the excellent result of 100% of properties with an up-to-date gas certificate in April.   Of the forty properties without, all have appropriate actions up to date, including obtaining warrants to be served to gain access.  A verbal update would be provided to Members with the outcome of those Court Hearings.

·       Electrical testing showed the position in relation to properties (both dwellings and communal areas) with an up-to-date electrical certificate, with the current position being 87.56% with a current satisfactory certificate. 

·       Asbestos showed 100% compliance in terms of asbestos inspections.

·       Fire Risk Assessments showed all communal blocks assessed as “higher risk” have been inspected, and corrective actions were being programmed and completed, consistent with the Council’s Fire Safety Management Plan.

·       Lift inspections – all properties were currently compliant.

·       Smoke and CO showed the position for all the alarms within all our properties being 99.47% compliant. This was a recently introduced Regulatory requirement which came into force on the 1st of October 2022. T hose properties that were non-compliant totalling thirty-nine are all being dealt with through due process. 

·       Damp and mould showed 99.56% compliance and the appointments for CAT1 and CAT2 properties had been made.

Leadership Compliance Meetings: Chaired by Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning and attended by the Leader of the Council, the Chief Executive, and the Acting Director of Housing, these meetings had been a continued feature of the more detailed compliance review process being undertaken.  Members of this group ensured specific responses to the changing compliance review process and manage tenant and communication responses to actions associated with key service and regulatory responses such as agreeing the scope and nature of key issues to be covered in the December 2022 SKyline magazine publication, Appendix 3.

Regular Reports to Committees and Cabinet:  the necessary reporting to appropriate committees was to continue.  Members were invited to comment on this report content and confirm their views and observations relating to the detail contained within this report.

During discussion Members raised the following points:

·       While there was more work to do, Members acknowledged the hard work undertaken by Officers to ensure the progress clearly made so far.

·       95% Gas Compliance was shown as red.  This was questioned as surely progress was substantial.

·       Did the Council have advice and guidance available to tenants of private rented accommodation who had issues with mould in their properties?

·       What was the reason for the sudden reduction in completed Gas Compliance figures?

·       Future reports needed to reflect the good and the negative information.

·       Housing workshops with Members were useful.

The Acting Director of Housing informed Members that the colour-coded system used to show compliance figures had been agreed internally.  The Officers believed there was further success able to be made with Gas Compliance in particular as 100% was briefly reached.  Best Practice was ultimately 100% and that was the ultimate aim.  Being unable to gain access to a number of properties to carry out inspections was the reason for the reduction in compliance figures.  Tenants have a responsibility to allow access, it was a condition within their tenancy agreements.  The Officer clarified that tenants in private accommodation could receive guidance from the Council’s Environment Team on any issues with mould and damp.  Skyline magazine contained further guidance also.


A Member raised a query over the recent lift breakdown at Meadow Court in Bourne.  The lift was broken for 7-8 weeks, including the period of Christmas 2022.  The Member informed the Committee that this was extremely distressing for residents especially those confined to accommodation on higher floors.  The contractor was changed during this time yet the issue was not mentioned within the report.  While the issue was ultimately resolved, it should have been heard before a Scrutiny and Overview Committee.


The Acting Director of Housing confirmed that the manufacturer of the lift in the Bourne Housing complex had gone out of business and this had substantially delayed the Council’s ability to obtain some parts required.  Alternative accommodation was offered in some cases and it was understood that the situation was extremely distressing for the residents.  Although the report on Meadow Court, Bourne was not readily available – it was held within the Asset Management System, the Officer confirmed he will establish whether there was a need to publicly display the information.  The next Housing workshop was scheduled for 28 February 2023.

It was AGREED:


That Committee:

a)    noted the latest compliance position following the ongoing meetings with the Regulator of Social Housing.


b)    Noted comments made and agreed to receive a further update report at its next scheduled meeting

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