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Safety first in new framework

A new framework launched last week will support housing associations to achieve and maintain a transparent approach to health and safety matters with their residents.

Developed by Community Housing Cymru in partnership with Welsh Government, Safety First in Housing is said to be the first of its kind in the UK. It will support the development of a safety engagement strategy based on three core principles of transparency, openness and accountability. The framework will give housing associations the flexibility to support their tenants and ensure safe and healthy home environments, in a way that is most appropriate for the culture and practices of their organisation.

By signing up to Safety First in Housing, associations are committing to a transparent approach with residents and stakeholders on health and safety matters. It ensures a process is in place to provide relevant and comprehensible health and safety information to tenants.

This includes information on smoke alarms, key advice on fire safety, the fire evacuation strategy, gas safety certificates, asbestos information and electrical safety information. It commits housing associations to provide details on how to access further information on a property, ensure that information and advice takes into account the differing needs of residents, and provide a clear process for raising concerns and complaints.

Stuart Ropke, chief executive of Community Housing Cymru, said: ‘The safety of tenants is paramount for housing associations and they work tirelessly in order to uphold the highest possible standards. The tragic events at Grenfell made clear why a genuine two-way engagement with tenants is so important, and what the consequences can be if this is neglected. This framework is an important step in ensuring a continuous dialogue between housing associations and residents and we will be reviewing it regularly to ensure that tenants are supported on health and safety matters in the most effective way.’

Housing minister Julie James said: ‘Providing safe homes is fundamental to a tenants’ sense of security. The Grenfell tragedy clearly exposed how critical ensuring tenants are appropriately engaged is when it comes to the safe management of their homes. This framework will help social landlords to adopt best practice and build on their already effective work with residents and I hope this will be something that other building managers across all tenures will adopt ahead of legislative reforms.’

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