Social Housing Management: Electrical Code of Practice

In this blog I will be discussing the new Code of Practice for the Management of Electrotechnical Care in Social Housing. I will give a brief outline the document itself and give a bit of a background into how it was formed.

Background

The code of practice was published by the Electrical Safety Roundtable who is a leading industry forum focussed on electrical safety.

The Electrical Safety Roundtable created a sub group to get industry professionals together to discuss standardisation of electrical safety requirements within social housing. The aim of this group was to develop best practice guidance to ensure public safety and to provide tenant assurance that the property they live in is electrically safe.

I was fortunate enough to be part of this sub group and was able to gain a valuable insight into how other associations and local authorities managed electrical safety for their stock. It became swiftly apparent that the policies and procedures varied between local authorities and housing associations as well as there being a different geographical outlook. The sub group set about creating a code of practice to provide clarity to those managing electrics in domestic tenanted properties.

The Chair of the sub group meetings was Ryan Dempsey, the CEO of The Compliance Workbook. I reached out to Ryan to get his thoughts on why he felt a code of practice within the social housing sector was needed; a summary of his response was as follows:

One of the biggest issues in Social Housing is the lack of trust and interdependency between the departments within Organisations. Some do have this but in most cases, due to the fact that electrical safety management can be complex, organisations alienate the Compliance teams which leads to a focus on the negative rather than what’s good. Or at least it’s perceived that way.

The Code of Practice is the first clear and concise document that removes the doubt around what’s right and what’s just someone’s opinion on safety management. It’s creation means that every Compliance Manager across the country can say “we need level 3 Electrician for that job” and not be met with questions around whether or not there is a cheaper option.  

Fundamentally we have collected the professional engineering judgement of very competent individuals, experienced in this sector, and created a benchmark. This is a fantastic step for our sector and the work will continue to clarify more.

cop cover

Code of Practice

The purpose of the code of practice is to offer a consistent recommended approach for how the safety of electrical installations in domestic tenanted properties can be continuously verified in the social housing sector. Given that it was created with the input from over 20 social housing providers it makes it the closest thing to a sector-agreed standard that there is.

The key areas that the code of practice covers include:

  • The requirement for a clear policy
  • Frequency of inspection
  • Legal access and enforcement
  • Competency requirements of electrical installers and inspectors
  • Strategy for data management
  • Electrical safety awareness

The code of practice is a benchmark from which to begin the discussion on how to manage electrical installations within the social housing environment. It has the potential to help build a more consistent approach to how allot of the above key areas are considered by social housing professionals.

The most important aspect from my perspective is to keep the conversation about electrical safety going.

You can find the Code of Practice and supporting documents on the Electrical Safety Roundtable’s website. The full Code of Practice can be downloaded from www.electricalsafetyroundtable.co.uk/social-housing.aspx

If you would like to read more about some other electrical safety topics check out the links to the blogs below:

Improving Electrical Safety Standards in Social Housing 

Social Housing Management: Electrical Safety Awareness

Social Housing Management: Writing Electrical Safety Policies

 

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