We’ve actioned 31 out of 50 housing safety improvements recommended by an external report

Cabinet members are to hear a progress report detailing how 62 per cent of Kirklees tenant safety improvements outlined in an independent review, have already been actioned.

When will this go to Cabinet?

The update, which will go before councillors at the next Cabinet meeting on December 14, comes after Kirklees Council commissioned an independent safety and compliance review in Spring 2021, as part of its merger with the former Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing.

A total of 48 recommendations were highlighted in the report by Robust Management Consulting, which were added to recommendations made in an earlier inspection, forming an improvement plan with 50 actions for the council to complete by the end of September 2023.

What did the review focus on?

The review focused on key areas including fire safety, water hygiene, lift safety and asbestos management, as well as issues relating to governance, performance and compliance.

To date, 31 out of 50 recommendations have already been completed (62), with regular updates communicated to the Regulator of Social Housing.

Councillor Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Housing and Democracy, said:

“Keeping the council’s tenants safe is our highest priority and it is reassuring to see the huge efforts already been made to drive forward the actions required as a result of the findings and recommendations in this review.

“I am pleased to see this review has enabled us to better understand the building safety issues in the council housing stock and I fully support the approach to keeping our tenants safe and meeting our obligations detailed against the regulations, with ongoing inspection, repair and improvement programmes.”

As part of the improvements, £30 million in capital provision has been allocated for building safety remediation to blocks with communal areas, in addition to £57 million for a high-rise building safety programme.

Nearly £2 million has also been earmarked for expanding the workforce to carry out the building safety improvements by creating 27 new positions within Homes & Neighbourhoods to enable inspections and improvements to be made.

The review makes recommendations that have helped shape the council’s focus on improving tenant safety, meeting its statutory obligations, demonstrating compliance and providing assurance to residents.

It coincides with a major reform in housing in recent years following the Grenfell tragedy, as well as the introduction of clearer safety legislation including the Social Housing White Paper 2020.