Housing – working in partnership

During November 2009, officers from the Business Fire Safety Enforcement team and officers from Community Services, Housing Renewal Team of Shropshire Council held a joint training session at Craven Arms Fire Station.

The subject of the day was the interaction and overlap of legislation between the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RR(FS)O) and the Housing Act 2004.

Since the introduction of these two relatively new pieces of legislation, certain premises have been identified as falling under both areas of jurisdiction.

In order to help clarify some of the anomalies, the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACoRS) have published further guidance in the Housing – Fire Safety guide. This document is sub titled 'Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing' and is therefore self explanatory.

John Russon from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service welcomed delegates to the venue and introduced the itinerary for the day.

The first presentation was from Colin Capper an Environmental Health Officer from Shropshire Council who outlined the general provisions of the enforcement procedure for the Housing Act. This involves the implementation of the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which looks at 29 separate areas within domestic premises, one of which is Fire Safety.

The LACoRS guidance assists the inspecting officer to determine an appropriate level of fire precautions. Where there is doubt or an obvious solution cannot be achieved and on all occasions where enforcement is taking place, consultation between Housing Officers and Officers from the Fire Safety department of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service will achieve a resolution. Together a workable solution can be determined and any actions necessary can be implemented.

John Russon gave a short presentation on the RR(FS)O and the LACoRS guide and delegates tackled some worked examples and applied the knowledge learned along with the guidance and input from the facilitators.

This kind of partnership working is invaluable to officers from both organisations and will hopefully lead to a better understanding and cooperation between us.

3rd December, 2009