A company called RHE Global in Carmarthenshire has been appointed by MHCLG to conduct a review of the HHSRS. They want responses by 24th February to an online questionnaire (https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5KBYJDD) particularly from tenants and those organisations and services which provide support and advice to tenants. There are 17 questions – this does not appear to be an anonymous survey (you are asked to provide personal info). As a side-note, and as an academic housing researcher, it’s a bit disappointing to have such an important review being conducted by a company which provides “… in-house bespoke training courses, business and process consulting for their software clients, traditional environmental health and regulation consultancy and technical consultancy“; whereas, of course, the original basis for the HHSRS was a rigorous academic and professional, expert and literature-led endeavour, albeit one which has never been properly implemented.
Quoting from an e-mail which has just popped in to my inbox:
The focus of the study is on the HHSRS as a risk assessment methodology, but we recognise that consultees may well have views relating to Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 and its use and enforcement. Any comments received on this will also be fed back to the MHCLG. …
The project is concerned with scoping out the scale and extent of any review of the HHSRS. The outputs from this phase will be used to develop a specification for any actual review of the HHSRS.
The aims, as set out in the MHCLG specification, are to:
- identify which parts of the HHSRS are out of date and need to be revised
- demonstrate whether there would be scope for introducing a sampling and cloning approach (rather than having to inspect each individual dwelling)
- indicate whether the current penalties for non-compliance are appropriate and proportionate
- show whether there is a need for additional worked examples in the guidance
- help establish the feasibility of using digital technology to develop an app for the HHSRS, and
- consider whether minimum standards should be included in the framework.
RHE is seeking the views of individuals and organisations with an interest as part of this exercise and is inviting all relevant parties to submit comments. We would like opinions on whether the HHSRS is the right approach, or if a hybrid solution incorporating minimum standards (as suggested by the HCLG Select Committee) would be more appropriate. Another suggestion might be scrapping it altogether in favour of an alternative. With any of these options, providing as much detail as possible as to how things would work in practice will assist us in our review. For the purposes of collating responses, please send us your comments via our Tenant and Advice Agency Survey [hopefully that link should work].
Your participation in this scoping study is much appreciated and will help inform the future direction of the assessment of housing conditions and the HHSRS framework. We recognise that you may not be able to comment on some aspects of the aims, but those observations you can make will nevertheless be useful. Please provide all feedback by 24 February 2019.