DUDLEY Council has been found to have breached health and safety requirements potentially putting tenants at risk – according to a notice published by the Regulator of Social Housing.

Following a self-referral, the regulator has today (Thursday April 27) confirmed the council did not meet a range of health and safety requirements in thousands of its tenants’ homes.

The council failed to carry out more than 8,000 remedial fire safety actions, and around 500 annual asbestos safety inspections. In addition, it reported that around 4,000 homes had not had an electrical inspection within the past 10 years, and more than 300 homes had overdue gas safety inspections.

The council did not have full or accurate data on compliance with the Decent Homes Standard.

Dudley Council says it has put a programme in place to rectify the issues, including a condition survey of all its 21,123 council homes over the next 12 months, and the regulator said it would monitor closely as the work is carried out.

Kate Dodsworth, director of consumer regulation at RSH, said: “Dudley Council has failed to meet health and safety requirements and has put its tenants at potential risk.

“The council referred itself to us when it identified these issues, and we are monitoring it closely as it takes urgent action to put things right.”

Balvinder Heran, deputy chief executive at Dudley Council, said: “We want to reassure tenants we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can.

“We referred ourselves to the Regulator of Social Housing after our internal review found compliance data on our properties was not consistently accurate or up to date and they have today confirmed our findings.

“Our tenants deserve the best and as soon as the discovery was made on our historic data, we took immediate action. We have drawn up a 12-month action plan to address issues to improve and maintain good, up to date records on all our properties.”

Kathryn Jones, director of housing and communities at Dudley Council, added: “We take residents’ safety extremely seriously, so once we became aware of the historical data quality issue we referred ourselves to the regulator and started to implement an action plan to validate the information we hold.

“This doesn’t mean the checks haven’t happened in the past, it’s that the council doesn’t have full records in one place to be sure the information it has is right.

“We had already commissioned a 12-month programme of stock condition surveys. This started this month and will now include the checks on those compliance areas identified to ensure data is up to date and work is carried out where required.

“We realise this may cause concern to residents, but we want to assure them we are taking swift action to carry out compliance checks and address any work needed.”

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, Dudley Council's cabinet member for housing and community services, said: "I appreciate that many tenants may be concerned about this news, however the Regulator is pleased with our plan to rectify this historical issue.

"It’s clear from the Regulator’s finding that these issues are long-standing, and relate largely for the need to do substantial data reconciliation, rather than inherent safety risks within our stock.

"I want to give my assurance that the safety of our properties is our highest priority and, following the full scale unprecedented stock condition survey, our tenants will be safer than ever."