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        11 September, 2019

        Tenant safety and welfare to stay top priority for councils

        Four councils in east Kent are promising to continue to keep the safety and welfare of their tenants at the top of their agenda after a government regulator issued a notice against them.

        Today (Wednesday 11 September) Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council, Folkestone and Hythe District Council and Thanet District Council have each been issued with a Regulatory Notice by the Regulator of Social Housing.

        The four councils referred themselves to the regulator after a backlog of gas safety certificates and a number of other health and safety problems emerged earlier this year when East Kent Housing (EKH), which manages council housing on their behalf, received notice from its gas safety contractor that it was terminating its contract. 

        Gas safety inspections are now up to date across all four areas.

        Auditors from the East Kent Audit Partnership recently found progress has also been made on fixing problems with faulty emergency lighting, the carrying out of electrical safety checks, fixing faults found in lift inspections and taking action following regular legionella risk assessments.

        Progress has also been made on tackling the issues highlighted in fire risk assessments.

        In a statement, the four council Chief Executives said: “When we discovered the extent of the health and safety compliance problems at EKH, we reported ourselves to the Regulator for Social Housing.

        “We have cooperated fully with their investigation and kept them fully informed on the progress we have made. We will continue to do so.

        “As each of these failings has emerged, our immediate priority has been the safety and welfare of those tenants affected and it continues to be so.

        “We have taken direct action to work with EKH to put the problems right as quickly as possible and we are in the process of commissioning our own expert independent investigation into the issues.

        “All four councils are exploring the future of EKH with a view to ensuring those living in our properties are kept safe and receive the best possible service.

        “We appreciate the patience and understanding of our tenants and we are sorry for any extra worry the situation we have found ourselves in has caused.”

        An appraisal of the options for the future of EKH will be presented to councillors at the four authorities in the coming months.

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