The Regulator of Social Housing has issued a regulatory notice to Accord Housing Association, having found that our organisation, now trading as GreenSquareAccord, failed to meet statutory health and safety requirements in relation to fire, electrical and asbestos safety.
This relates to asset compliance issues in legacy Accord properties (in the Midlands and North) before the merger to create GreenSquareAccord that we self-reported to the regulator and which breach its Home Standard. Former GreenSquare properties (in the South and South West) are not affected.
Following the merger in April, we have been carrying out thorough data record checks and these have shown that some of the former Accord properties do not have a current fire risk assessment; and for other properties there is no evidence of required asbestos surveys and electrical installation condition reports. Our internal investigations have found that some assessments have not taken place, some have expired, and some have not been recorded properly.
Ruth Cooke, chief executive officer, said: “The health and safety of our customers and their homes is GreenSquareAccord’s highest priority and, when we discovered this breach, we self-reported all details to the Regulator of Social Housing.
“We are genuinely sorry about this breach of standards. We understand that affected customers will feel let down – and we are committed to being open and transparent as we work to put this right.
“The GreenSquareAccord team is already working to correct these mistakes. Our teams of internal and external surveyors and engineers are assessing all the properties where we need assurance that assessments are correct and up to date, and we are carrying out any identified remedial work as a matter of urgency.
“We also need to understand how this happened, and make sure we strengthen all of our systems and processes to make sure this can’t happen again. Learning lessons is important. In light of the regulatory notice, our Board Chair has decided the time is now right for a new Chair to oversee our recovery plan, and we’re increasing resource in our assets team to make sure we can deliver.”
In its notice the regulator states: “Since identifying these issues, GreenSquareAccord has undertaken a data cleanse and integration exercise to fully understand its compliance position. It has also implemented a recovery programme to prioritise the work needed to become compliant with its statutory health and safety obligations.
“GreenSquareAccord has demonstrated to the regulator the progress it is making to ensure the required statutory checks and relevant safety actions are completed, and that appropriate mitigations are in place in the meantime.”
We have prepared a set of questions and answers for customers which can be viewed here.