Dudley Council’s leader, Councillor Patrick Harley, has assured that the numerous health and safety shortcomings in council properties will be rectified in the coming months. This follows the council’s violation of government standards for social housing in April 2023, where it was found negligent in conducting essential gas, fire, electrical, and asbestos checks in thousands of homes.
Acknowledging the past deficiencies, Councillor Harley stated, “Things clearly weren’t right, changes have completely turned that around.” The council took the initiative to report itself to the Regulator of Social Housing (RoSH), prompting an investigation that uncovered a range of issues posing “the potential for serious detriment to tenants.”
During a recent meeting of the council’s audit and standards committee, Councillor Harley expressed optimism that the authority would receive the “all clear” in the next few months and move away from being on the “naughty step.”
Key shortcomings identified included 300 properties with overdue gas inspections, 500 properties with overdue asbestos inspections, and 4,000 domestic properties without electrical inspections for a decade. Additionally, 300 properties required remedial electrical work that had not been addressed.
The RoSH report emphasized the council’s inability to provide evidence regarding the proportion of homes meeting the decent homes standard due to incomplete and inaccurate data. The regulator’s conclusions were incorporated into the council’s latest audit, conducted by Grant Thornton, which stressed the need for the council to address regulatory notices and enhance service delivery to achieve economy, efficiency, and effectiveness.
In response to the regulator’s findings, Dudley Council initiated a 100 percent stock condition survey to assess the state of its properties, with completion expected within 12 months. The RoSH spokesperson clarified that a regulatory notice was issued to Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council due to breaches in consumer standards. The council remains under scrutiny, and the notice will persist until the identified issues are resolved.