Consultation on practical fire safety guidance for care and housing support providers

The Scottish Government is currently gathering views on draft Fire Safety Guidance for Specialised Housing (and other supported domestic accommodation) and will use the responses to further develop and refine the guidance.  The consultation is open until 22 October 2019.

Scottish Care will be submitting a response on behalf of members and want to ensure this is grounded in the views and experiences of providers.  If you have comments you would like included in the response, please contact Swaran Rakhra by email or phone by Friday 18 October.  We also encourage members to submit their own responses where appropriate.

What is this consultation about?

This Fire Safety 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

The consultation documents and questions can be accessed here: https://consult.gov.scot/fire-and-rescue/fire-safety-guidance-specialised-housing/