Aico has launched its Housing Safety & Wellbeing Taskforce, which owing to the pandemic, took place online. The fire-safety specialists were joined by Sir Peter Bottomley MP, who introduced the initiative and paid tribute to the late Sir David Amess MP, who had given Aico valuable support during the original planning phase of the project.
The Housing Safety & Wellbeing Taskforce will bring together partners from the public, private and charitable sectors across the UK to discuss the key issues involved in creating safer homes and making recommendations for action. The taskforce will be strictly non-commercial and non-partisan, committed to promoting a holistic approach to housing safety and residents’ wellbeing.
The taskforce will focus on six areas: health and wellbeing; net zero & decarbonisation; resident engagement; housing quality; fire and carbon monoxide safety; and fuel poverty.
Each of the above areas has its own ‘ambassador’ to lead discussions and co-ordinate activities, drawn from the housing, fire service and academic sectors. The ambassadors will be actively encouraging participation from any interested parties; please visit our website to find out more and get in touch if you would like to be involved: hswtaskforce.org.uk.
Paul Dockerill, director of energy and programme manager at WHG and ‘resident engagement’ ambassador for the Housing Safety & Wellbeing Taskforce, said, “We need to work with our customers and create a culture where residents can raise any concerns and feel empowered to contribute to the future of their homes and communities.
“The taskforce is a really exciting initiative that will help us do just that, bringing housing providers and their customers together so that we can deliver the resident engagement strategies outlined in the government’s social white paper.”
Since the advent of devolution over 20 years ago, domestic fire safety regulation has varied considerably across the four nations of the UK, with Scotland’s legislation now set to become the most stringent with the introduction of new standards this year. There is considerable divergence across the UK in terms of requirements for sprinkler systems, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety measures for domestic properties.
At the launch event, the Housing Safety & Wellbeing Taskforce unveiled new research from CEBR (Centre for Economics & Business Research) that combined a statistical analysis of fire incidences across the UK, a summary of the relevant legislation, and a holistic examination of the human and economic impact of fire, based on official data and a specially commissioned YouGov survey.
The study looked into recent dwelling fires and demonstrated that the rate of reduction in fire incidents, running in tandem with new regulations, has slowed in recent years. With estimated annual costs of residential fires now exceeding £1bn, the research then goes on to examine in detail the potential impact and cost savings associated with tighter restrictions.
Tina Mistry, relationships manager at Aico and co-ordinator for the Housing Safety & Wellbeing Taskforce, said, “Given the trends highlighted by CEBR’s research, the taskforce will hit the ground running to discuss the implications of the data and potential actions as a result.”