John Roche, COO at Gas Tag, discusses the pressures of ever increasing regulation in the social housing sector and how technology can be the answer to reducing risk and achieving compliance.
Managing gas safety is one of the most important areas of compliance for social housing providers. All providers are required by law to carry out a yearly gas inspection and ensure each property has an up-to-date Landlord Gas Safety Record (LGSR). Failure to carry out these yearly inspections can have serious consequences for a provider. At Gas Tag, we support housing providers with their gas compliance, enabling them to work more efficiently and reduce risks.
In October last year The Regulator of Social Housing published its annual Sector Risk Report and detailed that one of the biggest risks facing providers was the increasing regulations around health and safety, including gas compliance.
In the post-Grenfell era, the sector is under greater scrutiny, which means that having a record of compliance is no longer seen as sufficient. Instead, housing providers are expected to demonstrate a strong oversight of their health and safety compliance and the ability to easily report on it. For many in the sector this leaves them with the question of what does achieving compliance look like in 2020 and how do they make sure they satisfy the regulator?
Safety through technology
At Gas Tag we believe that achieving compliance is more than having an up-to-date Landlord Gas Safety Record (LGSR) for each property. We believe that providers can reduce the risks outlined by The Regulator of Social Housing by implementing systems that provide good quality data and one version of the truth.
Emerging technology and digital platforms are moving many housing providers away from traditional methods of storing compliance data to cloud based portals that allow access at any time. This moves gas compliance away from being an annual inspection to an important piece of stock data that is accessible at any time to inform decision-making.
The transformation of archaic paper-based reactive processes to proactive approaches opens up new opportunities for providers to manage their stock, plan their repairs and maintenance, and achieve 100% compliance.
Collecting the right data
It is important to remember that any reporting system is only as good as the data that is inputted into it. If the data is flawed or not consistent then it compromises the report and cannot be used to evidence decision-making.
At Gas Tag we’ve also used technology to standardise the workflow for gas inspections. When using our app engineers follow the same process, answer the same questions and evidence the same work. For the provider, this means that they receive the same information for each property and can run accurate reports without missing or conflicting data.
Housing providers are operating in a new world of tightening regulations and increasing compliance commitments. For example, the recently published Grenfell Tower Enquiry Phase 1 report detailed recommendations that fire door inspections should be carried out at least every three months.
We understand that many in the sector are already looking for technology to support them in implementing and managing these new requirements. Our newest product Fire Door has been developed following conversations we had with current clients and we are planning to release further compliance products during the year.
The safety of residents will always be the number one priority for providers and we believe that technology is key to supporting them with the data to achieve compliance.