Practical Fire Safety Guidance for existing Specialised Housing and other supported domestic accommodation

Closed 22 Oct 2019

Opened 31 Jul 2019

Feedback Updated 12 Feb 2020

We Asked

Following the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, the Scottish Government Ministerial Working Group (MWG) on Building and Fire Safety commissioned three reviews, including the Review of the Fire Safety Regime in Scotland for High Rise Domestic Property. Whilst the review concluded there were no gaps in legislation, it made Recommendations to strengthen fire safety in high rise domestic properties and to introduce Scottish guidance concerning “Fire safety in specialised housing”.

A public consultation ran from 31 July – 22 October 2019 to gather information and views on draft Guidance.  This helped shape and improve the content.

The Scottish Government Fire and Rescue Unit also engaged with key groups in a number of consultation events throughout the summer of 2019 to discuss the key elements, promote participation in the consultation and to seek early views to help shape the structure and content of the Guidance.

You Said

The consultation received responses from a total of 38 respondent organisations. The responses came from local authority housing providers (8), Housing associations (6), Care and support providers (1), Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (1), Advice agencies (15), Consultants/contractors carrying out fire safety risk assessments (2) and people with views on the subject, including those with relatives living in Specialised Housing (3), Managing agents or facilities managers (1). Independent/private sector housing providers (1). No residents or tenants responded to the consultation.

Based on the consultation responses, the Guidance has been welcomed by stakeholders and interested parties. It was acknowledged that there is a need for enhanced fire safety measures for many in Specialised Housing, due to the vulnerability of some residents.

Most comments sought further clarification e.g. on the types of dwellings in scope or to use less technical language. Further editorial suggestions included providing weblinks to relevant legislation and a succinct description of landlord/housing provider responsibilities. Some professional bodies made specific suggestions for changes or additions to the technical content.

Similarly, participants in the consultation events welcomed the introduction of the Guidance and of the person-centred and premises based approaches.  Issues raised included:

  • presentational format of the Guidance. 
  • clarity with regard to fire safety responsibilities between multiple organisations.
  • scope of the Guidance ie. range of premises covered .
  • impacts on budgets.

We Did

We published an analysis of the consultation responses on 30 January 2020.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/consultation-practical-fire-safety-guidance-existing-specialised-housing-similar-premises-analysis-responses/

Based on feedback from the consultation, the following revisions were made to the Guidance:

  • Redrafted Introduction with clarified Purpose and Scope.
  • Restructure of the Guidance to place person-centred guidance at the beginning of the document to allow easy reference for non-specialists.
  • Simplification of the language used, wherever possible.
  • Further detail on how responsibilities and funding for fire safety should be managed between multiple organisations.
  • Additional information on a range of fire safety issues .
  • Improved links to other fire safety guidance, related information and legislation.

Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

What is this consultation about?

The Scottish Government is gathering views on draft Fire Safety Guidance for Specialised Housing (and other supported domestic accommodation). We will use the responses to further develop and refine the guidance.

The Guidance has been drafted to deliver on the sixth recommendation from the Review of the Fire Safety Regime for High Rise Domestic Buildings in Scotland. The Review’s other recommendations relate to fire safety in high rise domestic buildings and were agreed by the Scottish Government Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety that was set up following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower. The sixth recommendation “Introduction of Scottish guidance concerning Fire safety in specialised housing” is not specific to high rise domestic buildings but also agreed by the Ministerial Working Group. 

Why Specialised Housing and supported domestic accommodation?

The Scottish fire regime review found there are no major gaps in the Scottish legislation but it did identify a lack of guidance related to the consideration of the needs of vulnerable people.  It advocated a “person-centred” approach to meet the needs of all individuals that may need additional help in terms of fire safety. 

What is Specialised Housing and what else does the guidance apply to?

Most specialised housing is provided for older people, who, with advancing age, may require a degree of care and support.  This includes sheltered and very sheltered or extra-care housing.   Other forms of specialised housing have evolved for people with specific needs, including housing for adults with physical, sensory, mental health or cognitive impairments who live, to varying degrees, independently within the community in group home environments.  In some cases, such residents may require significant care and support (known collectively as “supported housing”).  

It is also recognised that some people will be receiving home care services in what might be referred to as “general needs” housing.  Therefore, the guidance has been drafted with a “person-centred” approach and aims to meet the needs of all individuals that may need additional help in terms of fire safety in the home.  The guidance is also applicable to very small, domestic care homes, akin to supported housing. 

Who is this consultation for?

The Guidance is primarily to be used by people that provide the housing or care/support services, and those regulators who ensure resident and tenant safety is adequately addressed. However, everyone who lives in specialised housing (or other supported domestic accommodation) and those with fire safety responsibilities are encouraged to respond to the consultation. This includes:

  • Residents / tenants
  • Independent/private sector housing providers
  • Housing associations
  • Local authority housing providers
  • Managing agents or facilities managers
  • Care and support providers
  • Local authority service commissioners
  • Enforcement Officers in local housing authorities
  • Enforcement Officers and Community Safety staff of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Advice agencies
  • Consultants/contractors carrying out fire safety risk assessments
  • Other people with responsibility for Fire Safety
  • Anyone else with views including relatives of people who live in specialised housing

 

Why We Are Consulting

We would very much like your thoughts and comments on the draft Practical Fire Safety Guidance for existing Specialised Housing (and other supported domestic accommodation) (the Guidance). It is intended to provide consistent, easily accessible fire safety guidance.

For most domestic premises to which the guidance applies, it is ‘good practice’ advice and not a legal requirement. The Guidance gives further information on those domestic type premises to which fire safety law does apply for example, small, domestic care homes, licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation and some other forms of supported housing. 

While there are no plans to extend the range of premises covered by fire safety legislation, we will consider making it a legal requirement if further support is needed. This will be done in part by monitoring and evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of the Guidance.  

Read the consultation paper. 

Who is the Guidance for?

The Guidance can help everyone to be clear on what is needed for fire safety in specialised housing and other supported domestic accommodation.  This includes premises that are council, housing association or privately owned/rented. It is primarily to be used by people that provide the housing or care/support services, and those regulators who ensure resident and tenant safety is adequately addressed. 

Please read the Fire Safety Guidance before answering the questions in this section. They ask about the Purpose, Clarity and Implementation of the Guidance. The findings from the consultation will improve the Guidance and inform implementation.

What Happens Next

We will analyse the responses and these will help to refine and develop the guidance document.

Interests

  • Building and Planning
  • Children and Families
  • Communities and Third Sector
  • Equality, Welfare and Rights
  • Public Sector
  • Health and Social Care