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Bitesize Briefing: One year on - the Grenfell tragedy

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Bitesize Briefing: One year on - the Grenfell tragedy

Date: 24 August 2018 09:30 am - 01:00 pm
Course duration: 1 day
Venue: SHARE, 139 Saracen Street
Costs: Members £140.00 / Non-Members £190.00

What does the Social Housing Sector need to address?

14th June marks one year since the tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower in London.  The UK Government has recently published its second interim report from the Grenfell Recovery Task Force.  However it is likely to take many more months and years before we can establish a full picture of just how such tragic events occurred and the factors that led to them.  

The Social Housing magazine urges those working in social housing not to passively wait for the wide ranging government inquiry to design what we should be doing but should be active and reflective in our response.  With this in mind, SHARE have convened this short session to look at some of the main issues that have arisen in the immediate aftermath of Grenfell and discuss what we can do in the future to avoid further tragedy.   

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Book 3 delegates for the price of 2.  Delegates must be booked at the same time and the discount is applied after booking.

 Registration & Coffee

 9.30    Welcome & opening remarks from the Chair

Speaker: Alan Ferguson, Director, SHARE


10.05  Fire Safety: Scottish Government Regulation update on fire and smoke alarms

Speaker TBC

The Housing Minister has recently announced that the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 is due to be amended post-Grenfell to stipulate a minimum number of smoke alarms per household with the location of these specified, heat alarms to be fitted in every kitchen and all alarms being interlinked.  Meeting this specification could involve major electrical re-fit programmes.  How can we be clear on how this legislation is to be satisfied and fit such work into already planned budgets to meet the 2020 compliance date?

10.35  Procurement: should Grenfell change the approach?

Speaker: Andrew Morrison, Managing Director, AM Bid

In the wake of the tragedy at Grenfell, it has emerged that the cladding that was used in a refurbishment programme of the tower was downgraded in order to make costs savings.  The procurement process is likely to change post Brexit but should Grenfell cause us to re-assess the key factors in the decision making process and make housing associations and co-operatives more active and inquisitive in the process?

11.05  Listening to tenants: can we do better?

Speaker: Lesley Baird, Chief Executive, TPAS

One of the major issues that arose in the aftermath of Grenfell was that many tenants had tried to raise concerns about the safety of the tower block with those responsible for managing the block, and felt their concerns fell on deaf ears.  It is a stark reminder to us all of how important it is to listen to our tenants. So, the question becomes how do we better listen to our tenants and make them feel heard about safety and all the other issues they wish to raise?

11.35  High Rise Fire Safety: are sprinklers systems the way forward?

Speaker: David Stewart MSP - Scottish Labour Party & David Bookbinder, Director, Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations

It has been reported that lives would have been saved if the Grenfell Tower had sprinkler systems, with Jeremy Corbyn spearheading calls for the UK Government to fund retrofitting sprinklers in all tower blocks. However, the UK Government has thus far not committed any funding for this initiative. In Scotland, David Stewart MSP is proposing a Member’s bill that would require sprinklers to be fitted in all new social housing build projects and he has also consulted on what action can be taken to retrofit sprinklers into existing tower blocks. Is this something that housing associations and co-operatives should seriously consider trying to fund and what are the cost implications?  How does it fit in with or impact other fire safety measures for tower blocks and social housing generally?

Chaired discussion.

12.15  General questions and closing remarks

12.30-1.00  Lunch & networking