Why we are engaging with Falkirk Council (Falkirk)
We are engaging with Falkirk about its services for people who are homeless, service quality, stock quality and tenant and resident safety.
During 2022/23, we reviewed and compared the data for all local authorities from the Scottish Government’s national homelessness statistics and the Annual Returns on the Charter. We also spoke to all local authorities to gather further information and assurance about their homelessness services. To assess the risks to people who are threatened with or experiencing homelessness we will engage with all local authorities during 2023/24 with a focus on the provision of appropriate temporary accommodation.
We will engage with Falkirk in particular about the following areas:
- Falkirk’s assessment of homelessness applications; and
- outcomes for people who are homeless.
To assess the risk to social landlord services we have reviewed and compared the 2021/22 service quality performance of all social landlords to identify the weakest performing landlords. We will therefore engage with Falkirk about tenant satisfaction, complaints handling, repairs right first time and rent arrears.
Following concerns raised by tenants and residents in a number of villages in the Falkirk area about the affordability and adequacy of their heating systems, Falkirk put in place plans to replace these systems. We will continue to monitor progress in relation to the replacement of the heating systems.
Falkirk does not fully comply with the electrical safety requirements of the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. Falkirk is currently progressing inspections to provide Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) in all of its tenants’ homes.
What Falkirk must do
- provide us with the information we require in relation to its homelessness service;
- make us aware of any emerging issues preventing it from fulfilling its statutory duty to provide temporary accommodation when it should and comply with the Unsuitable Accommodation Order;
- review its performance for tenant satisfaction, complaints handling, repairs right first time and rent arrears and consider what improvement action it needs to take;
- provide us with quarterly updates on progress with the implementation of the plans for the installation of replacement heating systems;
- provide us with quarterly updates on the work it is doing to support and engage with tenants and residents facing difficulties with the heating systems;
- comply with electrical safety requirements as soon as possible; and
- provide us with monthly updates on progress on achieving compliance with electrical safety requirements.
What we will do
- review the information Falkirk provides about its homelessness service;
- meet with Falkirk to discuss its homelessness service and decide whether we require any additional assurance;
- meet with Falkirk to seek assurance if it does not provide temporary accommodation when it should, or if it breaches the Unsuitable Accommodation Order;
- review Falkirk’s service quality performance as part of our 2023/24 risk assessment;
- review the quarterly updates Falkirk provides about its plans to install new heating systems as well as its engagement with affected tenants and residents and engage as necessary;
- engage with Falkirk to monitor its progress on achieving compliance with electrical safety requirements; and
- update our published engagement plan in the light of any material change to our planned engagement with Falkirk.
Falkirk must provide us with the following annual regulatory returns:
- Annual Assurance Statement; and
- Annual Return on the Charter.
It should also notify us of any material changes to its Annual Assurance Statement, and any tenant and resident safety matter which has been reported to or is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive or reports from regulatory or statutory authorities or insurance providers, relating to safety concerns.