Council pledges to speed up health and safety work

Housing stock image.
Stock image.

Canterbury City Council this week reinforced its determination to make rapid progress on the work needed to keep its council tenants safe in their homes.

Canterbury City Council this week reinforced its determination to make rapid progress on the work needed to keep its council tenants safe in their homes.

The council asked independent auditors from the East Kent Audit Partnership to check how far it had come in housing safety compliance since October when it took over the running of its council housing from East Kent Housing, which had badly struggled in this area.

Their report says there is still more work to be done on:

  • fire safety
  • housekeeping checks at a number of blocks
  • legionella
  • checks on lifts

But the auditors’ report highlights progress has been made on gas safety checks, electrical safety checks and housekeeping checks at sheltered housing schemes.

Canterbury City Council Chief Executive Colin Carmichael said: “We will never stop working to keep our tenants safe and are keen to learn from the report that we asked the independent auditors to undertake.

“We knew the challenge ahead of us would not be easily overcome when we took over from East Kent Housing which had struggled with building safety compliance over a number of years and we are sorry more progress has not been made.

“This report has reinforced our continuing determination to move on in leaps and bounds in the coming weeks and months as the pandemic gradually eases.

“All of the actions highlighted by the auditor are well underway and extra resources are already in place where needed, especially in the area of fire safety.”

Cllr Joe Howes, Lead Councillor for Housing, said: “Getting the basics right for our tenants is just as important now as when we brought this service back in house in October.

“We have made an enormous amount of progress but we can, and will, make more as a matter of urgency.

“Delivering a better social housing service for tenants is at the heart of our Corporate Plan priorities up to 2024.”

The report by the auditors will be discussed at the next meeting of the council’s Audit Committee on 27 July.

The Regulator of Social Housing has been kept up to date.

Published: 20th July 2021