In the wake of a number of media exposés revealing the unacceptable living conditions that exist in some social housing properties, especially exposure to severe damp and mould safety (including reporting on the untimely death of two-year old Awaab Ishak from a respiratory condition caused by prolonged exposure to black mould) - compliance and risk management consultancy Clear Safety is ahead of the curve in terms of the latest guidance issued via the Better Social Housing Review.
The report published references seven key recommendations. This includes the requirement for "(the housing association) sector to work together to conduct and publish a thorough audit of stock" and the suggestion that housing associations "should partner with tenants, contractors and frontline staff to develop and apply new standards defining what an excellent maintenance and repairs process looks like".
At Clear Safety we’ve been providing comprehensive, objective stock audits for our housing association clients for years, as a means to both evidence best practice but also, where appropriate, to highlight potential areas for improvement to ensure not just continued compliance, but to demonstrate a clear commitment to setting the benchmark for excellence.
In addition to undertaking audits, Clear has developed an industry-leading cloud-based management system designed to effectively highlight and record maintenance and repairs requirements, in addition to providing a clear audit trail detailing any remedial actions.
Clear works across a wide number of compliance streams including fire safety, domestic gas, heating and hot water, water safety, electrical M&E / lifts and commercial gas and has already committed to reporting on and collecting evidence of any instances of damp or unsanitary conditions, as part and parcel of any audit request. The company’s flexible audit forms have been adapted to incorporate important checks designed to draw immediate attention to any potential failings relating to damp and mould, regardless of what compliance stream is under review.
Director Matt Westby says,
“Our responsibility is to always ensure our clients have instant access to an accurate and up-to-date assessment relating to the condition and safety considerations of all housing stock. Our industry experts regularly track any planned changes in guidance well ahead of any formal recommendations, so that we are in a position to provide the best counsel for the housing associations that we work with, enabling them to effectively demonstrate an exemplary standard of compliance management. Better still, our stringent contractor management processes have been regularly proven to deliver impressive savings which in the current climate, will be an overriding priority.”
First published: February 2023