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Sandwell Council refers itself to Social Housing Regulator

Published 6th June 2022

Sandwell Council has referred itself to the Regulator of Social Housing and initiated an improvement plan.

The move follows the discovery of a historical issue with electrical installation condition reports (EICR) for the Council's social housing stock.

As part of a review this spring it was discovered that, while over three quarters of the homes currently managed by Sandwell Council had an EICR dated within the last five years, under one in 20 - a total of 1,245 homes - had a report over ten years old. A key reason for this was that electrical safety data was not held on a system that enabled performance to be easily tracked, which is now being rectified. 

Since uncovering this issue, the council has acted quickly to increase contractor capacity to deliver EICRs at a target of 100 per day. An action plan has been prepared to ensure that, by December 2022, all properties have an EICR of no more than five years old by to adhere to sector standards. The oldest EICRs will be prioritised first, with those older than ten years being completed by the end of July 2022. Those tenants affected are being contacted so a visit can be arranged as soon as possible.

Alongside this, a root and branch review of the council’s housing management framework is being carried out in order to rapidly develop a comprehensive improvement plan to ensure the council is compliant with all its obligations as a landlord.

Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael said: “Since discovering this issue I have asked officers to self-refer the council to the Regulator of Social Housing, as we are determined to put this right quickly and transparently.

“I can assure tenants that we are carrying out these checks as quickly as possible to ensure all properties have been looked at within sector standards. 

“As a council we have been developing an improvement plan that sets out the changes we are making to the way we work to address historical issues such as this. We know there are things we still need to change so are putting robust and rapid processes in place so that as soon as issues are identified they can be rectified.”