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Safety in Council Homes Survey 2019

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Safety in Council Homes Survey 2019

You know your home best and in 2019 we asked tenants and leaseholders to tell us what you think about safety in your council home in the ‘Safety in Council Homes’ survey. 

We used what you told us in the survey to create the Fire and Building Safety Charter, which sets out our commitments to you, for how we will make Camden’s council homes safer. 

Thank you to the 3,507 tenants and leaseholders who responded to the survey to share their ideas and experiences. 

We will continue to collect your feedback to improve our services and help everyone living in a Camden council home to feel safe. 

We will survey residents again on fire and building safety in 2023.

You told us:

  • 50% of residents reported feeling safe or very safe in their homes. 38% of residents feel unsafe – so we have some work to do. 12% of residents didn’t know and 2% didn’t answer.
     
  • Safety issues reported by residents included antisocial behaviour, fire safety, building maintenance, security, other residents, cleanliness of communal areas, CCTV, lighting, asbestos and the impact of HS2. 
     
  • Our oldest and youngest residents felt the safest. The residents who reported feeling the safest were those aged 85 and older – 75% felt safe in their council homes. 65% of residents aged 75 to 84 felt safe in their council homes, followed by 16 to 24 year olds – 62% reported feeling safe in their council homes. Residents aged 35-44 reported feeling the least safe – only 40% report feeling safe in their council homes. 
     
  • We also found that feeling safe was affected by your gender. Residents who identified as male felt the safest. 56% felt safe and 32% felt unsafe, 11% didn’t know and 1% didn’t answer.
     
  • Residents who identified as female felt less safe. 48% felt safe and 38% feel unsafe, 13% didn’t know, 1% didn’t answer. 
     
  • Residents who did not identify as male or female told us that they felt the least safe – only 29% felt safe and 57% felt unsafe, 14% didn’t know, 0% didn’t answer. 
     
  • Black and white residents felt about as safe as each other, but residents from Asian backgrounds felt a lot less safe: 

    56% of white residents felt safe, 31% felt unsafe, 12% didn't know, 1% didn't answer
    56% of Black residents felt safe, 32% felt unsafe, 12% don't know, 0% didn't answer
    45% Asian residents felt safe, 40% felt unsafe, 14% didn’t know, 1% didn't answer
     
  • Residents feel more informed about fire safety than other types of safety in the home:

    56% of residents felt informed or very informed about fire safety
    52% of residents felt informed or very informed about gas safety
    48% of residents felt informed or very informed about electrical safety
    40% of residents felt informed or very informed about water safety
     
  • Most residents (51%) said they would feel safer if we provided more information about how to stay safe in your building or home. The most popular channels for receiving this information were letter and email. 

Install safety equipment and test it regularly

In the ‘Safety in Council Homes’ survey we asked what we could do to help you feel safer at home about fire and building safety.

46% of responses were about safety measures in homes and buildings:

•    Fit fire alarms and smoke detectors – 19% 

•    Better fire escapes – 11%

•    Fit fire doors – 7% 

•    Provide fire extinguishers – 4% 

•    Fit sprinklers – 3%

•    Make sure doors and windows can be used by  elderly or disabled people – 1% 

•    Improve communal lighting – 1% 

•    Provide fire blankets – less than 1% 

We listened to you and since 2018 we have invested £43 million in targeted fire safety works, on top of the fire safety works we were already carrying out as part of the Better Homes Programme. Between 2021/22 and 2025/26 we will spend £59.5 million more. 

We will install smoke detectors in every tenanted council home and install a fire door with at least 30 minutes of fire resistance to every communal or front door that needs one.

We will install fire resistant front doors for leaseholders at no charge. We will work with residents to make sure that new fire resistant doors with closers are easy to operate. 

We will continue to improve communal lighting where necessary as part of the Better Homes Programme.

We currently do not install sprinklers into council homes as standard, but we do install personal misting systems for our most vulnerable residents.

Read more about how we will work with you to keep your homes and buildings safe in the Fire and Building Safety Charter. 

Some residents said that providing fire blankets and fire extinguishers would help them feel safer but we will not be doing this as it isn’t recommended by the fire brigade – you need training to use them correctly and safely. 

Keep me informed

In the ‘Safety in Council Homes’ survey we asked what we could do to help you feel safer at home about fire and building safety.

22% of responses were about staying informed about safety:

•    Listen and reply to safety concerns and provide up to date information on safety – 6% 

•    Tell me about the safety of my building – 6%     

•    Fire safety training for residents – 4% 

•    Install better emergency signage – 4% 

•    Improve Camden's safety plan and keep me informed of progress – 2% 

•    Tell me how safe my cladding is – less than 1%

We want you to always feel informed about the safety of your building and to know how to keep yourself and the people around you safe. 

We listened to you and have set out Camden’s plan for improving safety in council homes in the Fire and Building Safety Charter which we have sent to all tenants and leaseholders. We will provide an annual report to residents on our progress.

We will invite residents to attend the fire risk assessment at their building through their tenants and residents association (TRA), and publish the results of all of our fire risk assessments.

If you live in a purpose built block, find yours at camden.gov.uk/fire-risk-assessments or if you live in a street property, email firesafety.admin@camden.gov.uk or call 020 7974 4444.

We will be running fire safety awareness training for our Fire Safety and Compliance Advisory Panel representatives, district management committee chairs and vice chairs, and in 2022 looking at how we can provide more training for TRAs and residents.

We will keep everyone living in our council homes informed about safety communicate fire safety issues through all channels, including the Housing News, Homeowners News, posters, signage and physical communications on estates, social media and email. 

Sign up for fire and building safety email updates

 

Improve the way we do things

In the ‘Safety in Council Homes’ survey we asked what we could do to help you feel safer at home about fire and building safety.

22% of responses were about improvements that could be made to how services are carried out:

•    More fire safety checks 11%

•    A higher standard of repairs –  6% 

•    Clear communal areas – 3% 

•    Make sure council officers are held accountable for the work they carry out – 2% 

We are now carrying out Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) more frequently – every year, every two years or every three years, depending on the type of building – previously the gap between assessments was up to five years.  

We have set ourselves targets for fire, gas, water, electrical, lift and asbestos safety checks and we will report to residents every year on how we are doing:

•    We will carry out landlord gas safety checks to all our tenanted homes every year

•    We will carry out electrical inspections to all our tenanted homes every five years

•    We will inspect communal water tanks every six months

•    We will carry out re-inspection asbestos surveys to all communal areas in all of our residential buildings 

•    We will inspect every lift every six months. 

In autumn 2021 the Council adopted a new policy for keeping communal areas clear of anything that could catch fire or get in anyone’s way in an emergency, and communicated this to all tenants and leaseholders.

We have recruited additional staff to check the communal areas of street properties each quarter to test alarms and identify potential hazards.
 

Enforce safety measures

In the ‘Safety in Council Homes’ survey we asked what we could do to help you feel safer at home about fire and building safety.

4% of responses were about enforcing safety measures:
Enforce smoking ban in communal areas – 2% 
More housing security patrols – 1%
Keep roads clear for emergency services – 1% 
Ban barbecues in buildings – less than 1% 

We will continue to advise residents that smoking is not allowed in indoor communal areas, including by installing no smoking signage.

We have continued to publish safety guidance, including on safe disposal of cigarettes and other ways residents can keep themselves and the people around them safe. You can read some of this guidance in the Fire and Building Safety Charter.

In 2019 the Responsive Security Patrol Monitoring Group – including residents, the Cabinet Member for Better Homes and the Council’s Head of Security – was created to look at how to improve resident security, including gating estates, lighting, CCTV, the Responsive Security Patrol Service and more.

Barbecues are not allowed anywhere on estates unless as part of an organised event agreed with the Council, and we continue to communicate this to tenants and leaseholders.

We enforce safe parking within the powers we have and will remove cars that are obstructing fire and emergency access wherever we have the power to do so.