Frequently asked questions

 

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Q: I’ve seen reports in the media about compliance

A: Earlier this year a review was completed looking at how Cornwall Housing operates and how it works with Cornwall Council and other partners. The report made recommendations to improve and showed weaknesses in the Landlord Health and Safety inspections. failings in Cornwall Housing services. What are the reports about?

Read the independent review by Altair.

Following that, an audit of all compliance areas has just been completed. Which found that we are not fully compliant in 5 out of 6 Health and Safety areas.

Read the compliance health check report by external experts at Pennington Choices Surveying and Consultancy.

We take the findings of these reports very seriously. We want to be open and transparent, so the reports have been published. We have already started to make important changes and will work together with our tenants to improve. 

 

Q: What’s does not fully compliant mean?

A: We have been behind with some of our safety checks on different aspects of our homes, and our systems and record keeping for these checks need improvement. These reviews have shown us what needs improvement and where the priorities are, and we have already started work on this.  

 

Q: Is my home safe?

A: Being overdue with a check on your home doesn’t make you any less safe, but we have not been inspecting everyone’s homes in line with the recommended timetable. It’s at these checks that we can find any issues or concerns and see what might need replacing. We’re working every day to get back on track with the timetable for checks. You can help us keep you safe by:

  • Testing smoke alarms
  • Reporting any repairs concerns about carbon monoxide alarms, boilers, or your electrics
  • Keeping stairwells and communal areas clear and other important fire safety actions.

Q: What changes are you making to improve?

A: Working with the Council, we have already started to make important changes to keep all our tenants safe. Here are some things we are already working on:

  • We now have a new senior leadership team who have a plan that will be monitored, tracked and carried out within clear timeframes. They are responsible for making sure all of your homes are compliant.
  • We are carrying out a detailed programme of safety checks. This has already started, making sure that electrical installations are safe. These checks are being extended to cover other areas such as: fire safety, water, lifts, asbestos, gas and heating systems and radon
  • We are writing a building safety policy that will outline everything needed to meet and maintain the housing standards. This will cover what it means for us, and what it means for you
  • We are forming a Building Safety Tenant Group so that you can get involved and have your say
  • We have made changes to the workforce to improve compliance and safety standards, with new and specialist skilled people to speed up the work
  • Money is being invested to ensure that this work is done quickly and efficiently
  • We are working on an improvement plan which will be closely monitored by a new Board, Corserv and the Council.

Q: How do we trust the plan will happen?

A: We will make sure we have strong governance from our Board and visible leadership from our managers to solve these issues and to improve our performance.

Importantly, our focus is to bring us back up to safety standards.

 

Q: Why was the Altair report undertaken?

A: When Mike Hanrahan joined as the new Chair of Cornwall Housing, the Corserv Group Managing Director and the CEO of Cornwall Council asked him to look at how Cornwall Housing operates as they had concerns about its performance. After Mike had taken an initial look it was agreed that Altair would complete an independent review.

As respected housing experts, Altair provided independent evidence to Corserv and the Council on Cornwall Housing’s operations and leadership. This led to changes in the leadership of the company and a detailed action plan to address the performance issues that were found in the report. 

 

Q: How will we know about the progress of the action plan?

A: We will keep all our tenants informed and up-to-date with progress. We will regularly meet our tenants in forums, hold drop-in sessions, and join tenant meetings to listen to feedback and share any updates.

 

Q: What is the Building Safety Tenant Group? How does it work and how do I join?

A: We’re forming a Building Safety Tenant Group so that residents can get involved and have a say. It will be a chance for people to shape the service we provide and also help us to keep in touch with other residents on issues such as fire safety and give advice on arranging appointments. The group will also be able to bring new ideas to the leadership team. We share more information about how to join soon.

 

Q: Does this mean other non-urgent repairs will be delayed?

A: We will continue to prioritise any other emergency and urgent repairs that you report.

Other non-urgent repairs will be attended to as before. If we can’t make an appointment when you report it to us, we will call you or write to you arrange a suitable time to visit your home and carry out the work required.

 

Q: Where can I find out more information?

A: If you (as a tenant) want to ask a specific question or find out more about the findings in the reports or what this means to you please talk to our Engagement Team on the dedicated email and phone number:

Info@cornwallhousing.org.uk

0300 1234 161

Gas safety

Q: Has Cornwall Housing been carrying out the annual gas safety checks on my gas heating and appliances? Why does the recently released media report state otherwise?

A: Cornwall Housing has been regularly undertaking gas services. We will arrange for a Gas Safe Registered Engineer to check all gas pipework, flues and appliances belonging to the landlord every year.  

 

Q: As part of the Compliance Improvement programme, Will Cornwall Housing service any own gas appliances that I have purchased and had installed?

A: No. We will instruct the Gas Safe Engineer to visually check your appliances on annual service of the landlord’s system and appliances. The visiting engineer will ‘visually’ check them, make written and verbal recommendations or take appropriate action to ensure your safety and the safety of your occupants and property.

 

Q: I cannot find copy of my gas safety record. How do I know when my property is due the annual safety check and service?

A: Call the gas service team on 0300 1234 161 and they can let you know when your next inspection is due.

 

Q: What if I smell gas?

A: Turn the gas off at the emergency control valve, open any doors and windows, leave your home immediately and call the emergency gas provider Transco on 0800 111 999.

More information about Gas safety    

Electical safety

Q: The report says the electrical inspection on my home is out-of-date. How unsafe is it?

A: Contact the electrical service team on 0300 1234 161 or by email: who will be able to look at the latest report for your home or advise when an inspection is due to be undertaken. The team will also be able to log a repair with the electrical team should there be any doubt or you still have concerns.

 

Q: I cannot find copy of my electrical test and inspection record. How do I know when my property is due its next inspection?

A: Contact the electrical service team 0300 1234 161 or by email: info@cornwallhousing.org.uk

 

Q: I have copy of the last electrical inspection but am not sure if the recommended works have been completed. How can I find out if they have been completed or when works are programmed?

A: Contact the electrical service team 0300 1234 161 or by email: info@cornwallhousing.org.uk

 

Q8: When undertaking the last electrical inspection the contractor mentioned issues that require remedial work that haven’t been completed why and how long will this take?

A: These works should be within 28 days of inspection, if they are still pending, please contact the electrical service team 0300 1234 161.

 

Q: The next test sticker on my fuse board unit is out of date. What should I do?

A: Cornwall Housing is currently working to a 10 year cycle in accordance with the Cornish Housing Standard but are aiming at moving to 5 year cycle within 3 years. Also, Cornwall Housing is executing an improvement plan across all compliance areas including Electrical Safety, we are also prioritising properties that might have fallen out of the current servicing schedule.

More information about Electrical Safety    

Asbestos

Q: I do not know if there is asbestos in my home, can I have a copy of the latest survey?

A: Cornwall Housing’s current policy is to share summary reports when requested by a tenant. Each time an asbestos inspection is carried out in your home our contractors provide a report on their findings. Please contact the team on 0300 1234 161 for a copy.

More information about Asbestos    

Communal safety

Q: I live in a block of flats and keep having my door mat removed, why is this? Is this part of a health and safety policy?

A: CHL have a sterile area policy in all communal areas which allows safe egress for you (and entry for the fire service) should there be an emergency. This means that there can be nothing left on the floors within access routes which includes door mats, flower pots, recycling, refuse, prams, push bikes, mobility scooters etc. Any such article will be removed.

 

Q: I live in a block of flats my neighbours keep leaving rubbish in the communal areas, how can I report this

A: Speak to the team on 0300 1234 161 or by email info@cornwallhousing.org.uk giving as much detail as you can. Please be assured that all contact will be treated in the strictest confidence

Communal Safety     

Fire safety

Q: Are residents in my block at risk from a fire? What should I do if there’s a fire?

A: Your block should have a Stay Put/Evacuation policy in the event of a fire. You should also familiarise yourself with the current fire safety advice for your building. If you are unsure of the fire policy, please contact 0300 1234 161 or by email info@cornwallhousing.org.uk to verify which of the policies apply to your block.

 

Q: I live in a block of flats how do I know that they meet fire safety standards and are safe for myself and my family?

A: We have commissioned a Fire Safety Consultant to undertake a fresh suite of Fire Risk Assessment to all communal areas of your block. These assessments will require access into some of your homes to look at travel distances and fire alarm arrangements. Any issues found as a result of these assessments will be rectified in accordance with the time scales recommended by the expert.

 

Q: I am concerned my home does not have the correct fire and CO alarms installed. How can I find out?

A: Contact the electrical service team on 0300 1234 161 or by email info@cornwallhousing.org.uk and they will be able to check our records and advise what you should have in place. The team will also be able to log a repair with the electrical team should there be any doubt or you still have concerns. We would also recommend that you test your alarms once a week by pressing the test button and reporting immediately any alarms that do not sound. #TESTITTUESDAY

More information about Fire safety