The panel has been reviewing how EastendHomes manages fire safety in its buildings. This included looking through a Fire Risk Assessment which had been completed for a block; interviewing key members of staff; and discussing issues through their own experiences.
The panel have come up with a number of findings and recommendations:
- Ensure fire safety is discussed when new tenants are signed up, with a focus on the resident's responsibilities
- The fire safety leaflet to be updated and simplified with "Do's" and "Don'ts"
- Emphasise the conduct and behaviour of residents is important to minimise the risk of fires, including causing obstructions in communal areas
- To remind residents that it is important that they report incidents that they deem may cause a fire hazard
- Ensure contractors adhere to health & safety requirements by not leaving behind building materials and avoiding smoking near hazardous materials
- EastendHomes should carefully consider any recommendations coming out of the Grenfell Inquiry.
The panel also found that EastendHomes had dealt well with two recent fires, which included a good turn-out from staff to support the communities affected.
The Panel has reviewed how EastendHomes manages formal complaints which are received from residents and other service users, looking at the strengths of the service and in what areas things could be done better or more consistently.
From their initial investigations, questions, and mystery shopping, the Panel compiled a Review summary which listed their findings and proposed actions.
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In response to the Panel's review, EastendHomes has worked with the Scrutiny Panel to develop an Action Plan to address the matters identified. An example of this action plan from November 2017 can be seen by clicking here. [pdf] 36KB
Aids and Adaptations
The Panel completed a brief case study review looking at how EastendHomes manages the adaptation of properties - particularly in adapting a property to be let.
This included carrying out an interview with a tenant who had moved into an adapted property and their experience(s).
The panel found that it had been a broadly positive experience and that the tenant was on the whole very happy with their new flat. The scrutiny reminded that EastendHomes should always share good practice between offices and with other housing providers.
Three recommendations for how EastendHomes could improve the process were made:
- Amend Viewing Letter for adapted properties to include a reminder that the applicant should discuss involving Occupational Health with the EEH Lettings Team.
- Where an applicant accepts a property, and it is likely that an Occupational Therapy assessment will be required to assist them with living in their new home, the Housing Officer should refer back to the EEH Lettings Team who have good experience of assisting tenants in these circumstances. The Lettings Team will make a follow-up call to the new tenant.
- When developing new homes at the Lifetime Homes Standard, EEH should seek wherever possible to locate the drainage gullies in bathrooms to make it easier to install a wet room at a later date.