Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Christopher Pincher (Minister of State for Housing )
Commons

Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme 2020

Today, I am laying before Parliament a Departmental Minute setting out the details of a contingent liability that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government intends to incur under the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Act 2012. The contingent liability will be created by a new £3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme.

The new Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme – announced at Spring Statement 2019 – will be delivered by a delivery partner on behalf of the Ministry under the oversight of Homes England. The delivery partner is being appointed through a fair, open and competitive procurement process, and we have appointed a preferred bidder with whom we will agree the detailed operational arrangements. We plan on awarding the contract over the coming weeks and for the scheme to be open for business by the end of the year. In delivering the scheme, the delivery partner will raise capital from bond market investors and on-lend the proceeds to Registered Providers of affordable housing in England. The Ministry will guarantee both the proceeds to bond investors and payments by borrowers to the issuing entity.

Through the scheme the Government will boost investment in providers of affordable housing and support the delivery of a significant number of new affordable homes for those whose housing needs are not currently met by the market.

WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 20 July 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Building Safety update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I would like to update Parliament on the Government’s progress in overhauling the building and fire safety system, as part of our unwavering commitment to ensuring that people, and the buildings they live in, are safe.

Building safety

We must never forget the seventy two people who lost their lives as a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Countless lives were torn apart by that tragedy and we owe it to the deceased, the bereaved, the survivors, and the residents of all high-rise buildings to ensure that we do all we can to prevent a repeat of events like that fateful night occurring again.

We promised to overhaul the system and to establish a national building safety regulator at its heart. Today I am pleased to be making a significant step towards that fundamental reform by publishing the draft Building Safety Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny, before the final Bill is brought forward to Parliament.

The Bill will establish the regulator in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and give it significant powers to improve safety and performance across the built environment, especially in higher-risk buildings.

These reforms will improve safety and performance standards across all buildings. However, certain buildings warrant even closer oversight because the potential for significant consequences should a fire spread or the structure fail. It is right that we have a more stringent regime where the risk is deemed greatest, to protect the greatest number of people. Initially the scope of the more stringent regime will apply to multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height or more than six storeys, whichever is reached first. We have designed the new regime so its scope can be changed if the evidence base or operational experience suggest it should.

The Bill will provide a stronger framework to make sure those responsible for managing building safety risks in higher-risk buildings are held to account, with stronger enforcement powers and sanctions where those rules are not followed. It will also ensure that the residents of high-rise buildings have a stronger voice, alongside giving them better access to safety information about their building, clarifying their rights and providing recourse to raise safety concerns directly to the regulator.

The draft Bill applies to England only with the exception of the policies to require developers to belong to a New Homes Ombudsman scheme, strengthen the oversight of the construction products regulatory regime, and allow the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to monitor the competence of architects. Further detailed analysis of the territorial extent is provided in the Explanatory Notes.

Building safety financing

The Government is clear that it is unacceptable for leaseholders to have to worry about the cost of fixing historic safety defects in their buildings that they didn’t cause.

The draft Bill proposes a new ‘building safety charge’, which will give leaseholders greater transparency around costs incurred in maintaining a safe building. We want these to be fair and proportionate, which is why I have deliberately included numerous powers in the Bill that will enable us to limit the building safety costs that can be re-charged to leaseholders.

This is a topic that we are particularly committed to developing further throughout the process of scrutiny and as the Bill is finalised for introduction. I have asked Michael Wade, senior adviser to the Cabinet Office, to accelerate this work with leaseholders and the financial sector. We must remove barriers to fixing historic defects and identify financing solutions that protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs; but we must also ensure that the bill does not fall on tax payers. We will update on any further measures required before the final Bill is introduced to Parliament.

Establishing the Building Safety Regulator

As I announced in January, the HSE is establishing the regulator in shadow form, and I am today announcing that I have set aside £16.4 million in this financial year for HSE to recruit the people and develop the capabilities that will enable the regulator to hit the ground running once its powers come into effect.

HSE has a strong track record of improving safety and fostering a safety-first culture within the construction and major hazards industries, and will draw on years of experience to deliver results quickly and effectively. As shadow regulator, HSE is playing an increasingly important role in the Government’s Building Safety Programme: it is supporting work on how to identify higher-risk buildings; supporting work by the National Fire Chiefs Council to assess the fire risk in every high-rise residential building by end 2021; and supporting work with early adopters in the construction industry, social landlords and local government to trial the new regime, and to promote culture change across the industry. I am today announcing that HSE will also take over as chair of the Joint Regulators’ Group, which advises the Government on ways to strengthen the regulatory regime; and will take over the Independent Expert Advisory Panel, which advises the Government on fire safety in high-rise residential buildings.

Over coming months, the shadow regulator will engage with and advise residents, building owners, the construction industry and other regulators on how the new system will operate, what it will mean for them, and what they should do now to make their buildings safe and prepare for the new regime. In the Autumn, we will kick off work to appoint the first national Chief Inspector of Buildings, who will lead the new regulator.

We, and the public, expect industry to manage building safety risks now and prepare to fulfil their duties when this new regime comes into effect. The public expects and demands industry to implement these reforms with conviction and speed. The new Building Safety Regulator stands ready to work hand in hand with industry to bring about a culture change that prioritises residents and their safety.

Fire safety reforms

The Home Office is also today publishing a Fire Safety Consultation, which sets out proposals to: strengthen the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – the Fire Safety Order – and improve compliance for all regulated buildings; implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report recommendations for multi-occupied residential buildings which require a change in law; and, seeks views on the effectiveness of the arrangements for consultation and information sharing between building control bodies and fire and rescue authorities in relation to building work. This is alongside a commitment to overhaul the Fire Safety Order’s supporting guidance.

Proposals for multi-occupied residential buildings, mostly high-rise buildings, include prescribing in law the frequency of checks of fire doors; that Responsible Persons (RPs) carry out inspections of other key fire-fighting equipment, not just lifts designed to be used by firefighters; and that RPs provide information to residents including in relation to fire safety (including evacuation and other specific information) in an accessible format.

Our proposals go beyond the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations in several areas. In others, our proposals prioritise residents’ safety in a way that is practical, proportionate and effective to the risks the Inquiry has identified. The Government wants to listen to the views of those who have experience of these matters, including those who have been personally affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The proposals set out in the Home Office consultation will further deliver the Government’s objective to improve building and fire safety in all regulated premises where people live, stay or work.

Construction products

The Bill also enables us to progress our commitment to radically strengthen oversight of the regulatory regime for construction products. The bill will make sure a wider range of construction products are subject to strengthened safety regulations. It will also strengthen the powers available to the Government, paving the way to create a new national regulatory function that will have oversight of the construction products regulation. The Government is developing options for how this new national regulatory function could be implemented.

Other housing measures

The draft Bill also contains measures to protect the rights of all new build homebuyers by requiring developers to belong to the New Homes Ombudsman. It also includes new measures that will make access to redress swifter and more effective for all social housing residents.

Pre-legislative scrutiny

These are extensive reforms that it is incumbent on us all to get right. The Building Safety Bill is a large and complex piece of legislation, reflecting the scale of the reforms needed. In this spirit, I am publishing the Bill in draft form to ensure it receives the due and proper consideration it deserves through pre-legislative scrutiny from Parliament, from industry, from regulatory bodies, and from residents. I want to thank those that have helped shape the legislation so far, including those who contributed to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation and who have engaged in various forums with my department. I now encourage colleagues from across both Houses to engage wholeheartedly in strengthening these proposals so that together we can further improve the legislation and deliver greater safety for residents.

I will deposit copies of the draft Building Safety Bill, Delegated Powers Memorandum and Impact Assessment in the libraries of both Houses. A copy of the full Fire Safety Consultation and its Impact Assessment will also be deposited in the libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS391
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 20 July 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Building Safety update

I would like to update Parliament on the Government’s progress in overhauling the building and fire safety system, as part of our unwavering commitment to ensuring that people, and the buildings they live in, are safe.

Building safety

We must never forget the seventy two people who lost their lives as a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Countless lives were torn apart by that tragedy and we owe it to the deceased, the bereaved, the survivors, and the residents of all high-rise buildings to ensure that we do all we can to prevent a repeat of events like that fateful night occurring again.

We promised to overhaul the system and to establish a national building safety regulator at its heart. Today I am pleased to be making a significant step towards that fundamental reform by publishing the draft Building Safety Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny, before the final Bill is brought forward to Parliament.

The Bill will establish the regulator in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and give it significant powers to improve safety and performance across the built environment, especially in higher-risk buildings.

These reforms will improve safety and performance standards across all buildings. However, certain buildings warrant even closer oversight because the potential for significant consequences should a fire spread or the structure fail. It is right that we have a more stringent regime where the risk is deemed greatest, to protect the greatest number of people. Initially the scope of the more stringent regime will apply to multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height or more than six storeys, whichever is reached first. We have designed the new regime so its scope can be changed if the evidence base or operational experience suggest it should.

The Bill will provide a stronger framework to make sure those responsible for managing building safety risks in higher-risk buildings are held to account, with stronger enforcement powers and sanctions where those rules are not followed. It will also ensure that the residents of high-rise buildings have a stronger voice, alongside giving them better access to safety information about their building, clarifying their rights and providing recourse to raise safety concerns directly to the regulator.

The draft Bill applies to England only with the exception of the policies to require developers to belong to a New Homes Ombudsman scheme, strengthen the oversight of the construction products regulatory regime, and allow the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to monitor the competence of architects. Further detailed analysis of the territorial extent is provided in the Explanatory Notes.

Building safety financing

The Government is clear that it is unacceptable for leaseholders to have to worry about the cost of fixing historic safety defects in their buildings that they didn’t cause.

The draft Bill proposes a new ‘building safety charge’, which will give leaseholders greater transparency around costs incurred in maintaining a safe building. We want these to be fair and proportionate, which is why I have deliberately included numerous powers in the Bill that will enable us to limit the building safety costs that can be re-charged to leaseholders.

This is a topic that we are particularly committed to developing further throughout the process of scrutiny and as the Bill is finalised for introduction. I have asked Michael Wade, senior adviser to the Cabinet Office, to accelerate this work with leaseholders and the financial sector. We must remove barriers to fixing historic defects and identify financing solutions that protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs; but we must also ensure that the bill does not fall on tax payers. We will update on any further measures required before the final Bill is introduced to Parliament.

Establishing the Building Safety Regulator

As I announced in January, the HSE is establishing the regulator in shadow form, and I am today announcing that I have set aside £16.4 million in this financial year for HSE to recruit the people and develop the capabilities that will enable the regulator to hit the ground running once its powers come into effect.

HSE has a strong track record of improving safety and fostering a safety-first culture within the construction and major hazards industries, and will draw on years of experience to deliver results quickly and effectively. As shadow regulator, HSE is playing an increasingly important role in the Government’s Building Safety Programme: it is supporting work on how to identify higher-risk buildings; supporting work by the National Fire Chiefs Council to assess the fire risk in every high-rise residential building by end 2021; and supporting work with early adopters in the construction industry, social landlords and local government to trial the new regime, and to promote culture change across the industry. I am today announcing that HSE will also take over as chair of the Joint Regulators’ Group, which advises the Government on ways to strengthen the regulatory regime; and will take over the Independent Expert Advisory Panel, which advises the Government on fire safety in high-rise residential buildings.

Over coming months, the shadow regulator will engage with and advise residents, building owners, the construction industry and other regulators on how the new system will operate, what it will mean for them, and what they should do now to make their buildings safe and prepare for the new regime. In the Autumn, we will kick off work to appoint the first national Chief Inspector of Buildings, who will lead the new regulator.

We, and the public, expect industry to manage building safety risks now and prepare to fulfil their duties when this new regime comes into effect. The public expects and demands industry to implement these reforms with conviction and speed. The new Building Safety Regulator stands ready to work hand in hand with industry to bring about a culture change that prioritises residents and their safety.

Fire safety reforms

The Home Office is also today publishing a Fire Safety Consultation, which sets out proposals to: strengthen the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – the Fire Safety Order – and improve compliance for all regulated buildings; implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report recommendations for multi-occupied residential buildings which require a change in law; and, seeks views on the effectiveness of the arrangements for consultation and information sharing between building control bodies and fire and rescue authorities in relation to building work. This is alongside a commitment to overhaul the Fire Safety Order’s supporting guidance.

Proposals for multi-occupied residential buildings, mostly high-rise buildings, include prescribing in law the frequency of checks of fire doors; that Responsible Persons (RPs) carry out inspections of other key fire-fighting equipment, not just lifts designed to be used by firefighters; and that RPs provide information to residents including in relation to fire safety (including evacuation and other specific information) in an accessible format.

Our proposals go beyond the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations in several areas. In others, our proposals prioritise residents’ safety in a way that is practical, proportionate and effective to the risks the Inquiry has identified. The Government wants to listen to the views of those who have experience of these matters, including those who have been personally affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The proposals set out in the Home Office consultation will further deliver the Government’s objective to improve building and fire safety in all regulated premises where people live, stay or work.

Construction products

The Bill also enables us to progress our commitment to radically strengthen oversight of the regulatory regime for construction products. The bill will make sure a wider range of construction products are subject to strengthened safety regulations. It will also strengthen the powers available to the Government, paving the way to create a new national regulatory function that will have oversight of the construction products regulation. The Government is developing options for how this new national regulatory function could be implemented.

Other housing measures

The draft Bill also contains measures to protect the rights of all new build homebuyers by requiring developers to belong to the New Homes Ombudsman. It also includes new measures that will make access to redress swifter and more effective for all social housing residents.

Pre-legislative scrutiny

These are extensive reforms that it is incumbent on us all to get right. The Building Safety Bill is a large and complex piece of legislation, reflecting the scale of the reforms needed. In this spirit, I am publishing the Bill in draft form to ensure it receives the due and proper consideration it deserves through pre-legislative scrutiny from Parliament, from industry, from regulatory bodies, and from residents. I want to thank those that have helped shape the legislation so far, including those who contributed to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation and who have engaged in various forums with my department. I now encourage colleagues from across both Houses to engage wholeheartedly in strengthening these proposals so that together we can further improve the legislation and deliver greater safety for residents.

I will deposit copies of the draft Building Safety Bill, Delegated Powers Memorandum and Impact Assessment in the libraries of both Houses. A copy of the full Fire Safety Consultation and its Impact Assessment will also be deposited in the libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS384
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 14 July 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Planning update

Planning update: preventing loss of cultural venues and planning conditions for holiday parks

Introduction

The Nation’s cultural and tourism industries are vitally important to the economy and the communities they serve. Many businesses in the sector have, and are continuing to face, severe disruption due to Covid-19. This Statement comes into effect immediately.

Preventing loss of theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues

The Covid-19 pandemic presents particular challenges for organisations that depend on engaging with audiences and visitors in person. It has forced thousands of cultural institutions to close their doors, including theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues across the country. This is why my Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture Media and Sport announced £1.57 billion in financial support for the sector on 5 July to help these venues survive this period, and enable them to re-open when it is safe and economically viable to do so.

However, Covid-19 will continue to prevent the full reopening of a number of these venues for some time. This means that previously viable businesses face unprecedent financial difficulty. The Government recognises that the temporary closure of theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues due to Covid-19 has the potential to lead to permanent loss of important cultural and economic assets, and is determined that otherwise viable facilities are not lost forever.

The purpose of this Written Ministerial Statement, is to set out how local planning authorities should approach decision-making to prevent the unnecessary loss of these venues. With immediate effect, local planning authorities should have due regard to their current circumstances when considering whether to grant planning permission for a change of use or demolition of a theatre, concert hall or live music performance venue that has been made temporarily vacant by Covid-19 business disruption.

Where an alternative use or demolition for a long-term vacant theatre, concert hall or live music performance venue is proposed, local planning authorities should consider the application in the normal way. The Theatres Trust is a statutory consultee under the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 (S.I 2015/595) for applications seeking to develop any land where there is a theatre and will have an opportunity to comment on any application relating to theatres.

This policy remains in place until 31 December 2022 unless superseded by a further statement.

It is also our intention to make an amendment to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development (England) Order 2015 (S.I. 2015/596) to remove permitted development rights for demolition of theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues.

Caravan, campsites and Holiday parks

The Government also recognises that the tourism industry will need to be able to adapt to secure its financial future. In response to Covid-19 the majority of UK businesses closed in March 2020, including caravan, campsites and holiday parks. This has had a significant impact on the financial viability of over 2,200 businesses in this sector that employ around 46,000 staff. These parks are a mainstay of their local economies, providing employment and supporting local services and businesses.

Caravan, campsites and holiday parks in England were able to reopen from 4th July 2020. Extending their operation beyond the usual summer season will be invaluable to parks as the sector begins to recover. We are aware that current planning conditions may limit their open season. The temporary relaxation of these planning restrictions can play a vital role in helping local businesses to get up and running again.

The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity, and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control. Given the current situation, while local planning authorities must have regard to their legal obligations, they should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would unnecessarily restrict the ability of caravan, campsites and holiday parks to extend their open season.

Where local planning authorities consider it appropriate to require an application to vary relevant planning conditions (where for instance there is a risk of flooding or where parks are situated close to protected sites) they should prioritise the application and make an early decision to provide certainty to caravan, campsites and holiday park operators. In doing so, they should consider the benefits of longer opening season times to the local economy as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

This Written Ministerial Statement only covers England.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS359
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 14 July 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Planning update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Planning update: preventing loss of cultural venues and planning conditions for holiday parks

Introduction

The Nation’s cultural and tourism industries are vitally important to the economy and the communities they serve. Many businesses in the sector have, and are continuing to face, severe disruption due to Covid-19. This Statement comes into effect immediately.

Preventing loss of theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues

The Covid-19 pandemic presents particular challenges for organisations that depend on engaging with audiences and visitors in person. It has forced thousands of cultural institutions to close their doors, including theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues across the country. This is why my Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture Media and Sport announced £1.57 billion in financial support for the sector on 5 July to help these venues survive this period, and enable them to re-open when it is safe and economically viable to do so.

However, Covid-19 will continue to prevent the full reopening of a number of these venues for some time. This means that previously viable businesses face unprecedent financial difficulty. The Government recognises that the temporary closure of theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues due to Covid-19 has the potential to lead to permanent loss of important cultural and economic assets, and is determined that otherwise viable facilities are not lost forever.

The purpose of this Written Ministerial Statement, is to set out how local planning authorities should approach decision-making to prevent the unnecessary loss of these venues. With immediate effect, local planning authorities should have due regard to their current circumstances when considering whether to grant planning permission for a change of use or demolition of a theatre, concert hall or live music performance venue that has been made temporarily vacant by Covid-19 business disruption.

Where an alternative use or demolition for a long-term vacant theatre, concert hall or live music performance venue is proposed, local planning authorities should consider the application in the normal way. The Theatres Trust is a statutory consultee under the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 (S.I 2015/595) for applications seeking to develop any land where there is a theatre and will have an opportunity to comment on any application relating to theatres.

This policy remains in place until 31 December 2022 unless superseded by a further statement.

It is also our intention to make an amendment to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development (England) Order 2015 (S.I. 2015/596) to remove permitted development rights for demolition of theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues.

Caravan and Holiday parks

The Government also recognises that the tourism industry will need to be able to adapt to secure its financial future. In response to Covid-19 the majority of UK businesses closed in March 2020, including caravan and holiday parks. This has had a significant impact on the financial viability of over 2,200 businesses in this sector that employ around 46,000 staff. These parks are a mainstay of their local economies, providing employment and supporting local services and businesses.

Caravan and holiday parks in England were able to reopen from 4th July 2020. Extending their operation beyond the usual summer season will be invaluable to parks as the sector begins to recover. We are aware that current planning conditions may limit their open season. The temporary relaxation of these planning restrictions can play a vital role in helping local businesses to get up and running again.

The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity, and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control. Given the current situation, while local planning authorities must have regard to their legal obligations, they should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would unnecessarily restrict the ability of caravan and holiday parks to extend their open season.

Where local planning authorities consider it appropriate to require an application to vary relevant planning conditions (where for instance there is a risk of flooding or where parks are situated close to protected sites) they should prioritise the application and make an early decision to provide certainty to caravan and holiday park operators. In doing so, they should consider the benefits of longer opening season times to the local economy as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

This Written Ministerial Statement only covers England.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS367
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 08 July 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Park Homes

My Hon. Friend, the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing (Luke Hall) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today publishing the Government response to our consultation “Mobile Homes –a fit and proper person test for park home sites”. I am placing copies of the response in the libraries of the House, and it will also be available on gov.uk.

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving protections for park home residents, the Government undertook a two-part review of park homes legislation in 2017. In the response published on 22 October 2018, we committed to introduce the fit and proper person test, subject to a technical consultation. This consultation was undertaken between 25 July and 17 September 2019 and received 370 responses, the majority of which were highly supportive.

The purpose of the test is to improve the management of park home and other residential caravan sites. By introducing an assessment that the person responsible for managing the site is suitable to do so and of good character, this will help target and remove the worst offenders from the sector. The test will be an important tool for Local Authority enforcement and marks an important milestone in my department’s work to protect residents of park homes and other residential caravan sites, who are often elderly and vulnerable, from unscrupulous site owners.

I am today laying the required regulations bringing the test into effect. They will mandate that:

  • each local authority must set up and maintain a register of people who are fit and proper to manage a park home site in their area. A site owner, or an appointed manager, must appear on the local authority register in order to manage a site;
  • when an applicant applies for registration, a local authority must consider, among other details, the applicant’s criminal record and details of all sites in which the applicant has an equitable interest; and
  • if convicted of any offences under the Regulations the site owner would face an unlimited fine. Offences include operating a site without being on the local authority register, breaching the conditions attached to an entry on the register, and providing false information in an application.

The regulations will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure so will require the approval of both Houses.

The Government is dedicated to improving protections for park home residents and these regulations are an important step towards delivering on that commitment.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS348
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 08 July 2020
Made by: Luke Hall (Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing )
Commons

Park Homes

I am today publishing the Government response to our consultation “Mobile Homes –a fit and proper person test for park home sites”. I am placing copies of the response in the libraries of the House, and it will also be available on gov.uk.

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving protections for park home residents, the Government undertook a two-part review of park homes legislation in 2017. In the response published on 22 October 2018, we committed to introduce the fit and proper person test, subject to a technical consultation. This consultation was undertaken between 25 July and 17 September 2019 and received 370 responses, the majority of which were highly supportive.

The purpose of the test is to improve the management of park home and other residential caravan sites. By introducing an assessment that the person responsible for managing the site is suitable to do so and of good character, this will help target and remove the worst offenders from the sector. The test will be an important tool for Local Authority enforcement and marks an important milestone in my department’s work to protect residents of park homes and other residential caravan sites, who are often elderly and vulnerable, from unscrupulous site owners.

I am today laying the required regulations bringing the test into effect. They will mandate that:

  • each local authority must set up and maintain a register of people who are fit and proper to manage a park home site in their area. A site owner, or an appointed manager, must appear on the local authority register in order to manage a site;
  • when an applicant applies for registration, a local authority must consider, among other details, the applicant’s criminal record and details of all sites in which the applicant has an equitable interest; and
  • if convicted of any offences under the Regulations the site owner would face an unlimited fine. Offences include operating a site without being on the local authority register, breaching the conditions attached to an entry on the register, and providing false information in an application.

The regulations will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure so will require the approval of both Houses.

The Government is dedicated to improving protections for park home residents and these regulations are an important step towards delivering on that commitment.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS341
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 02 July 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Local Government Update

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to set out to the House the further measures this Government is putting in place so that local government can continue to fulfil its essential role in the national response to Covid-19 and lead us through the next phase of recovery.

I said at the start of the pandemic that we would ensure local authorities have the resources they need. To do that, the Government has provided £27 billion to support local councils, businesses and communities; including £3.8 billion of support specifically for local authorities. This funding has allowed councils to deliver for their communities: including helping get rough sleepers off the streets, establishing our shielding programme, controlling infection in care homes and providing support for 800,000 small and medium-sized businesses.

The comprehensive plan I am announcing today demonstrates my commitment by ensuring that local councils have the certainty they need to manage their finances to the end of the financial year. The plan covers Covid-related expenditure, income losses from sales, fees and charges, and irrecoverable tax losses.

Additional funding for spending pressures

We recognise the pressures on councils and our communities have not yet passed, and today I have announced a further £500 million to help ensure that councils have the money they need to meet costs in the coming months. I would like to thank councils for the financial information they have provided, and I will continue to work with my cabinet colleagues to monitor the pressures on the sector.

This award follows two previous rounds of grant allocations. The first was primarily focussed on getting emergency support into Adult Social Care. The second round addressed both expenditure pressures and income shortfalls. With the benefit of better data, we now plan to address income shortfalls separately to expenditure and so we have created a new formula for the additional £500 million. This formula will reflect the factors which the data returns have told us correlate most closely with expenditure, and will take account of population, deprivation and the way that service costs vary across the country. Details on allocations will be announced in due course.

Non-tax income

The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on councils' income from sales, fees and charges - for which they could not have planned. To help mitigate this, the Government is also introducing a co-payment scheme to compensate local authorities for relevant, irrecoverable losses in 2020-21. Under this scheme councils bear the first 5% of losses compared to their budgeted income – reflecting the fact these income sources are by their nature volatile from one year to the next – but the Government will support those worst affected by covering 75p in every pound of losses beyond this.

Irrecoverable tax losses

I am also committed to supporting the sector through an apportionment of irrecoverable Council Tax and Business Rates losses between central and local government, to be agreed at the Spending Review. I have announced today that the repayment of collection fund deficits arising in 2020-21, will be spread over the next three years rather than the usual period of a year, giving councils breathing space in setting budgets for next year.

Taken together, these measures will give local councils sufficient confidence to continue to deliver the services their communities rely on. Nevertheless, my department will continue to work closely with councils to monitor the situation as it develops, and I will return to the House setting out any further measures necessary should a changing situation require it.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS333
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 02 July 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local Government Update

I wish to set out to the House the further measures this Government is putting in place so that local government can continue to fulfil its essential role in the national response to Covid-19 and lead us through the next phase of recovery.

I said at the start of the pandemic that we would ensure local authorities have the resources they need. To do that, the Government has provided £27 billion to support local councils, businesses and communities; including £3.8 billion of support specifically for local authorities. This funding has allowed councils to deliver for their communities: including helping get rough sleepers off the streets, establishing our shielding programme, controlling infection in care homes and providing support for 800,000 small and medium-sized businesses.

The comprehensive plan I am announcing today demonstrates my commitment by ensuring that local councils have the certainty they need to manage their finances to the end of the financial year. The plan covers Covid-related expenditure, income losses from sales, fees and charges, and irrecoverable tax losses.

Additional funding for spending pressures

We recognise the pressures on councils and our communities have not yet passed, and today I have announced a further £500 million to help ensure that councils have the money they need to meet costs in the coming months. I would like to thank councils for the financial information they have provided, and I will continue to work with my cabinet colleagues to monitor the pressures on the sector.

This award follows two previous rounds of grant allocations. The first was primarily focussed on getting emergency support into Adult Social Care. The second round addressed both expenditure pressures and income shortfalls. With the benefit of better data, we now plan to address income shortfalls separately to expenditure and so we have created a new formula for the additional £500 million. This formula will reflect the factors which the data returns have told us correlate most closely with expenditure, and will take account of population, deprivation and the way that service costs vary across the country. Details on allocations will be announced in due course.

Non-tax income

The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on councils' income from sales, fees and charges - for which they could not have planned. To help mitigate this, the Government is also introducing a co-payment scheme to compensate local authorities for relevant, irrecoverable losses in 2020-21. Under this scheme councils bear the first 5% of losses compared to their budgeted income – reflecting the fact these income sources are by their nature volatile from one year to the next – but the Government will support those worst affected by covering 75p in every pound of losses beyond this.

Irrecoverable tax losses

I am also committed to supporting the sector through an apportionment of irrecoverable Council Tax and Business Rates losses between central and local government, to be agreed at the Spending Review. I have announced today that the repayment of collection fund deficits arising in 2020-21, will be spread over the next three years rather than the usual period of a year, giving councils breathing space in setting budgets for next year.

Taken together, these measures will give local councils sufficient confidence to continue to deliver the services their communities rely on. Nevertheless, my department will continue to work closely with councils to monitor the situation as it develops, and I will return to the House setting out any further measures necessary should a changing situation require it.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS325
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 25 June 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Planning update

My Rt. Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Housing (Christopher Pincher) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Responding to Covid – 19 – temporary measures to ease restrictions on the planning system

Today the Government has introduced the Business and Planning Bill in Parliament. The Bill responds to the Covid-19 emergency and brings forward temporary changes to the planning system to support economic recovery. This statement sets out supporting temporary measures that the Government proposes to ensure the planning system continues to operate effectively.

Online inspection of documents

The effects of Covid-19 mean that it is not possible for everyone to enter public buildings safely to access certain planning documents made available for inspection. The Government has made clear [Written Ministerial Statement, 13 May 2020 ‘Virtual working and planning – Responding to Covid – 19 Restrictions’] that online inspection of documents should be the default position. It has already made secondary legislation providing temporary flexibility for consultation and publicity requirements for planning applications under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA) and for Environmental Impact Assessment development under the TCPA in relation to environmental statements.

This statement makes clear, for the regimes addressed below, how the Government expects local authorities, applicants and the Mayor of London to meet the requirements for making documents available for inspection by the public whilst social distancing restrictions apply. Everyone involved in the planning process is expected to engage proactively in the move to online inspection of documents and to consider the practical measures needed to ensure fair participation. When it becomes possible for documents to be made available for inspection in public buildings again, then the Government expects this to be done as soon as practicable.

Compulsory purchase orders (CPOs)

There are requirements in the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 for newspaper and site notices to provide details of a place where copies of CPOs and associated maps can be inspected, both prior to submission of the CPO to the confirming authority and when it is confirmed. Provisions in secondary legislation requiring inspection of documents are similar, and in some cases require documents to be provided on request. It is the Government’s view that these legislative requirements can be satisfied by the acquiring authority making a copy of the order and map available for inspection on a website. Hard copies of documents should be provided by the acquiring authority on request. The Government has published updated planning guidance in relation to the compulsory purchase process which can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-compulsory-purchase-guidance.

Development consent orders (DCOs)

The Planning Act 2008, relating to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP), requires that at the pre-application stage the Statement of Community Consultation must be made available for inspection. At the post-consent stage, where a Development Consent Order grants authority to acquire compulsorily an interest in land, the Act requires that a copy of the DCO must be made available for inspection.

It is the Government’s view that these requirements can be met by making documents available for inspection online. It expects applicants to take reasonable steps to ensure that anyone wishing to view the documentation can find these documents online. Hard copies should be made available by the applicant on request.

For the NSIP regime there are other provisions in secondary legislation relating to consultation and publicity requirements. The Government intends to bring forward secondary legislation shortly to replace temporarily the requirement for documents to be made available for inspection in a place, with a requirement for documents to be made available online.

Planning appeals

For planning appeals there are provisions in secondary legislation for consultation and publicity requirements, and the Government is considering whether these should be amended to enable more to be undertaken by digital processes, similar to the flexibilities already brought in for planning applications under the TCPA. The Government expects local planning authorities, appellants, the Planning Inspectorate and other parties to be proactive in their use of digital processes for consultation and publicity.

Local development documents

When preparing Local Development Documents, local planning authorities are required to make certain documents available for inspection at their principal office, and other places that they consider appropriate, and provide copies of the plan or strategy to a person that requests one. In addition, local planning authorities must publish the document on their website. The Government intends to bring forward secondary legislation shortly to remove temporarily the requirement for local planning authorities to make these documents available for inspection at their offices and other places, as well as the requirement for these documents to be provided on request. Local planning authorities will need to ensure that these documents are made available on their website.

Spatial development strategies

The Business and Planning Bill amends the provisions in the Greater London Authority Act 1999 that require the Mayor of London to make the Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) available for physical inspection at certain locations and to provide a copy on request.

The Bill will remove these requirements provided that the Mayor makes the current SDS available by appropriate electronic means. The Mayor will be required to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State on arrangements that may be appropriate for those who do not have internet access.

There are also similar provisions in secondary legislation that apply for the Mayor of London and combined authorities who have been conferred the power to make a spatial development strategy. The Government intends to bring forward secondary legislation shortly to temporarily disapply requirements for these documents to be made available for inspection at their offices and enable them to be made available online.

Extending development consents

The Business and Planning Bill includes a provision to extend certain planning permissions and consents under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. There are already established routes to make changes to DCOs and it is the Government’s view that these routes can be used to extend commencement periods in certain circumstances. Developers can submit applications for non-material or material changes to the relevant Secretary of State. The Secretary of State can also make a material change to a DCO in exceptional circumstances. The Government expects developers to take proactive steps to ensure that applications to extend DCOs are submitted in sufficient time and the Government will actively engage with any such applications.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS316
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 25 June 2020
Made by: Christopher Pincher (Minister of State for Housing )
Commons

Planning update

Responding to Covid – 19 – temporary measures to ease restrictions on the planning system

Today the Government has introduced the Business and Planning Bill in Parliament. The Bill responds to the Covid-19 emergency and brings forward temporary changes to the planning system to support economic recovery. This statement sets out supporting temporary measures that the Government proposes to ensure the planning system continues to operate effectively.

Online inspection of documents

The effects of Covid-19 mean that it is not possible for everyone to enter public buildings safely to access certain planning documents made available for inspection. The Government has made clear [Written Ministerial Statement, 13 May 2020 ‘Virtual working and planning – Responding to Covid – 19 Restrictions’] that online inspection of documents should be the default position. It has already made secondary legislation providing temporary flexibility for consultation and publicity requirements for planning applications under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA) and for Environmental Impact Assessment development under the TCPA in relation to environmental statements.

This statement makes clear, for the regimes addressed below, how the Government expects local authorities, applicants and the Mayor of London to meet the requirements for making documents available for inspection by the public whilst social distancing restrictions apply. Everyone involved in the planning process is expected to engage proactively in the move to online inspection of documents and to consider the practical measures needed to ensure fair participation. When it becomes possible for documents to be made available for inspection in public buildings again, then the Government expects this to be done as soon as practicable.

Compulsory purchase orders (CPOs)

There are requirements in the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 for newspaper and site notices to provide details of a place where copies of CPOs and associated maps can be inspected, both prior to submission of the CPO to the confirming authority and when it is confirmed. Provisions in secondary legislation requiring inspection of documents are similar, and in some cases require documents to be provided on request. It is the Government’s view that these legislative requirements can be satisfied by the acquiring authority making a copy of the order and map available for inspection on a website. Hard copies of documents should be provided by the acquiring authority on request. The Government has published updated planning guidance in relation to the compulsory purchase process which can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-compulsory-purchase-guidance.

Development consent orders (DCOs)

The Planning Act 2008, relating to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP), requires that at the pre-application stage the Statement of Community Consultation must be made available for inspection. At the post-consent stage, where a Development Consent Order grants authority to acquire compulsorily an interest in land, the Act requires that a copy of the DCO must be made available for inspection.

It is the Government’s view that these requirements can be met by making documents available for inspection online. It expects applicants to take reasonable steps to ensure that anyone wishing to view the documentation can find these documents online. Hard copies should be made available by the applicant on request.

For the NSIP regime there are other provisions in secondary legislation relating to consultation and publicity requirements. The Government intends to bring forward secondary legislation shortly to replace temporarily the requirement for documents to be made available for inspection in a place, with a requirement for documents to be made available online.

Planning appeals

For planning appeals there are provisions in secondary legislation for consultation and publicity requirements, and the Government is considering whether these should be amended to enable more to be undertaken by digital processes, similar to the flexibilities already brought in for planning applications under the TCPA. The Government expects local planning authorities, appellants, the Planning Inspectorate and other parties to be proactive in their use of digital processes for consultation and publicity.

Local development documents

When preparing Local Development Documents, local planning authorities are required to make certain documents available for inspection at their principal office, and other places that they consider appropriate, and provide copies of the plan or strategy to a person that requests one. In addition, local planning authorities must publish the document on their website. The Government intends to bring forward secondary legislation shortly to remove temporarily the requirement for local planning authorities to make these documents available for inspection at their offices and other places, as well as the requirement for these documents to be provided on request. Local planning authorities will need to ensure that these documents are made available on their website.

Spatial development strategies

The Business and Planning Bill amends the provisions in the Greater London Authority Act 1999 that require the Mayor of London to make the Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) available for physical inspection at certain locations and to provide a copy on request.

The Bill will remove these requirements provided that the Mayor makes the current SDS available by appropriate electronic means. The Mayor will be required to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State on arrangements that may be appropriate for those who do not have internet access.

There are also similar provisions in secondary legislation that apply for the Mayor of London and combined authorities who have been conferred the power to make a spatial development strategy. The Government intends to bring forward secondary legislation shortly to temporarily disapply requirements for these documents to be made available for inspection at their offices and enable them to be made available online.

Extending development consents

The Business and Planning Bill includes a provision to extend certain planning permissions and consents under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. There are already established routes to make changes to DCOs and it is the Government’s view that these routes can be used to extend commencement periods in certain circumstances. Developers can submit applications for non-material or material changes to the relevant Secretary of State. The Secretary of State can also make a material change to a DCO in exceptional circumstances. The Government expects developers to take proactive steps to ensure that applications to extend DCOs are submitted in sufficient time and the Government will actively engage with any such applications.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS311
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 24 June 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Additional Funding for Rough Sleeping

Today I am announcing a further £105 million for local authorities to enable them to support and accommodate rough sleepers.

At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government took quick action to accommodate rough sleepers and those in communal shelters, giving them the chance to self-isolate. This action was supported by councils, charities, faith groups, public sector partners and businesses. I want to put on record my thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly to deliver this – this action has undoubtedly saved countless lives. These efforts and the action taken to support people at risk of becoming homeless during the pandemic has resulted in 15,000 vulnerable people being housed in emergency accommodation, including hotels.

Now is the time to help local authorities and the vulnerable people housed during the pandemic with what comes next. Local authorities, working with my department, have already been assessing the needs of each individual currently in emergency accommodation. For the first time ever, we know who these vulnerable people are and where they are – allowing us to take a more personal and sophisticated look at each of their needs. The additional funding, which is available in this financial year, will allow local authorities to provide appropriate accommodation and support for the next steps, as we help these individuals to put their lives on a more stable footing. It will fund a wide range of measures, including: short-term accommodation before moves into safe, long-term homes can be arranged; moves into the private rental sector; and assistance to secure training and employment. This sustained support is vital to ensure progress is maintained as people move out of emergency accommodation.

This investment comes on top of significant funding we have already provided this year, including plans I announced last month alongside Dame Louise Casey to provide 6,000 supported homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic. These homes will be held as a national asset with the specific purpose of providing move on accommodation to rough sleepers and former rough sleepers.

The Government also understands the need to support people with complex and underlying issues which may be behind their rough sleeping. That is why I am also pleased to announce that a further £16 million in funding will be made available this financial year – bringing the total to £23 million – to tackle the substance dependence treatment needs of rough sleepers. This will help strengthen people’s engagement with substance dependence services while in emergency accommodation as they move into safer, long term accommodation. It will also help people into treatment services and support them as they recover, to prevent a return to the streets.

Our manifesto set out our bold ambition to end rough sleeping within this Parliament and the measures I have announced today are a significant step towards that.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS305
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 24 June 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Additional Funding for Rough Sleeping

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Robert Jenrick) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Today I am announcing a further £105 million for local authorities to enable them to support and accommodate rough sleepers.

At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government took quick action to accommodate rough sleepers and those in communal shelters, giving them the chance to self-isolate. This action was supported by councils, charities, faith groups, public sector partners and businesses. I want to put on record my thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly to deliver this – this action has undoubtedly saved countless lives. These efforts and the action taken to support people at risk of becoming homeless during the pandemic has resulted in 15,000 vulnerable people being housed in emergency accommodation, including hotels.

Now is the time to help local authorities and the vulnerable people housed during the pandemic with what comes next. Local authorities, working with my department, have already been assessing the needs of each individual currently in emergency accommodation. For the first time ever, we know who these vulnerable people are and where they are – allowing us to take a more personal and sophisticated look at each of their needs. The additional funding, which is available in this financial year, will allow local authorities to provide appropriate accommodation and support for the next steps, as we help these individuals to put their lives on a more stable footing. It will fund a wide range of measures, including: short-term accommodation before moves into safe, long-term homes can be arranged; moves into the private rental sector; and assistance to secure training and employment. This sustained support is vital to ensure progress is maintained as people move out of emergency accommodation.

This investment comes on top of significant funding we have already provided this year, including plans I announced last month alongside Dame Louise Casey to provide 6,000 supported homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic. These homes will be held as a national asset with the specific purpose of providing move on accommodation to rough sleepers and former rough sleepers.

The Government also understands the need to support people with complex and underlying issues which may be behind their rough sleeping. That is why I am also pleased to announce that a further £16 million in funding will be made available this financial year – bringing the total to £23 million – to tackle the substance dependence treatment needs of rough sleepers. This will help strengthen people’s engagement with substance dependence services while in emergency accommodation as they move into safer, long term accommodation. It will also help people into treatment services and support them as they recover, to prevent a return to the streets.

Our manifesto set out our bold ambition to end rough sleeping within this Parliament and the measures I have announced today are a significant step towards that.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS311
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 09 June 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Local Authority Procurement Fraud and Corruption Risk Review

My Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government (Simon Clarke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Today I have published a review into the risks of fraud and corruption in local government procurement in England, in collaboration with the Government’s Anti-Corruption Champion, the Hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose). This report delivers on a commitment by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) in the UK Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-2022 and is an important part of the wider agenda to strengthen the UK’s response to the risks posed by corruption. The findings highlight the importance of continued vigilance across the whole procurement lifecycle and is particularly relevant at this time of heightened activity by councils, as they are working hard to respond to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Acknowledging and mitigating the risk of fraud and corruption is critical to sound financial management and ensuring that every pound spent by local councils supports the communities they serve. Activities to reduce vulnerability to the risks of fraud and corruption will also have the potential to improve efficiency and identify losses resulting from error, by highlighting weaker areas within systems and processes.

The potential benefits to both councils and the local taxpayer are significant. Under ‘business as usual’ circumstances councils in England spend around £55 billion a year on goods, works and services[1]. Estimates[2] of the losses to government expenditure caused by fraud and error range between 0.5% and 5%[3] (equating to between £275 million and £2.75 billion per year for local government procurement spend).

It is also important to emphasise that fraud and corruption are by their nature hidden, and a low level of reported cases does not necessarily indicate a lack of fraudulent or corrupt activity. Recent cross government reports demonstrate that detected fraud and corruption is only a proportion of the true scale of the problem[4]. Furthermore, of the 86 councils responding to the survey as part of this review, 23% reported having experienced cases of fraud and corruption within procurement in the 2017-2018 financial year.

Although there is no silver bullet for tackling the issue of fraud and corruption within procurement, this review draws together a range of activities which collectively help identify and mitigate the risks faced by local councils. The report details anonymised examples of good practice already in place across England, providing excellent evidence of local authorities’ innovation, commitment and collaborative approach.

The case studies of incidents of fraud and corruption and examples of best practice in prevention, illustrate how risks can materialise and what can be done to mitigate them. In addition, the report includes a risk matrix, which highlights possible measures that councils can use to strengthen their resilience to the risks of fraud and corruption. I hope the report will serve as a valuable resource for councils across the country to learn from. In additional to this report, I would also encourage councils to make best use of the National Fraud Initiative[5], CIPFA Counter Fraud resources[6] and the case studies from the Counter Fraud Fund pilots MHCLG funded in 2014[7], as well as the latest Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally Strategy[8].

Taking forward the findings of the Review

This report sets out suggested next steps for the public sector as a whole, for local councils and for MHCLG. Those for the public sector focus on putting in place standard definitions and measurement methodologies, ensuring there is a central place to record reports of fraud and corruption and strengthening whistleblowing arrangements.

MHCLG has a key role in supporting a culture of strong governance and robust accountability within the local government sector, and the Counter Fraud and Anti-Corruption agenda are important strands within this work.

At the level of individual councils, appropriate capacity is needed to prevent, detect and respond to incidents of fraud and corruption within the procurement lifecycle. This means having in place effective fraud and corruption risk management structures and risk assessments, effective due diligence and management of gifts and hospitality and conflicts of interest.

Capacity and capability within local authority contract management and commercial activities have been identified as areas for improvement and all those involved in procurement must understand their roles and responsibilities, whenever commissioning, procuring or purchasing on behalf of their council. Councils should consider how the risks of fraud and corruption are managed in their wider networks, including local authority companies, Arms-Length Management Organisations (ALMOS) and other special purpose vehicles.

Procurement is only one area where fraud and corruption risks are present for councils, and similar risks are present in other areas of council operations. Many of the recommendations in this report should support efforts by councils to prevent and detect fraud and corruption, and to hold perpetrators successfully to account.

[1]. National Procurement Strategy for Local Government in England 2018, LGA, page 5 https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/11.122%20-%20National%20Procurement%20Strategy%202018_main%20report_V7.pdf

[2] See page 16, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764832/Cross-GovernmentFraudLandscapeAnnualReport2018.pdf.

[3] The Fraud Measurement and Assurance Oversight Board concluded that there is an upper and lower range of likely losses: 0.5% to 5%. See page 31, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764832/Cross-GovernmentFraudLandscapeAnnualReport2018.pdf.

[4] Page 15, Cross-Government Fraud Landscape Annual Report 2018, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764832/Cross-GovernmentFraudLandscapeAnnualReport2018.pdf

[5] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-fraud-initiative

[6] https://www.cipfa.org/services/counter-fraud-centre

[7] https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/efficiency-and-income-generation/counter-fraud-hub-outcomes-counter-fraud-fund-0

[8] https://www.cifas.org.uk/insight/public-affairs-policy/fighting-fraud-corruption-local-authorities

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS275
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 08 June 2020
Made by: Mr Simon Clarke (Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government)
Commons

Local Authority Procurement Fraud and Corruption Risk Review

Today I have published a review into the risks of fraud and corruption in local government procurement in England, in collaboration with the Government’s Anti-Corruption Champion, the Hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose). This report delivers on a commitment by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) in the UK Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-2022 and is an important part of the wider agenda to strengthen the UK’s response to the risks posed by corruption. The findings highlight the importance of continued vigilance across the whole procurement lifecycle and is particularly relevant at this time of heightened activity by councils, as they are working hard to respond to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Acknowledging and mitigating the risk of fraud and corruption is critical to sound financial management and ensuring that every pound spent by local councils supports the communities they serve. Activities to reduce vulnerability to the risks of fraud and corruption will also have the potential to improve efficiency and identify losses resulting from error, by highlighting weaker areas within systems and processes.

The potential benefits to both councils and the local taxpayer are significant. Under ‘business as usual’ circumstances councils in England spend around £55 billion a year on goods, works and services[1]. Estimates[2] of the losses to government expenditure caused by fraud and error range between 0.5% and 5%[3] (equating to between £275 million and £2.75 billion per year for local government procurement spend).

It is also important to emphasise that fraud and corruption are by their nature hidden, and a low level of reported cases does not necessarily indicate a lack of fraudulent or corrupt activity. Recent cross government reports demonstrate that detected fraud and corruption is only a proportion of the true scale of the problem[4]. Furthermore, of the 86 councils responding to the survey as part of this review, 23% reported having experienced cases of fraud and corruption within procurement in the 2017-2018 financial year.

Although there is no silver bullet for tackling the issue of fraud and corruption within procurement, this review draws together a range of activities which collectively help identify and mitigate the risks faced by local councils. The report details anonymised examples of good practice already in place across England, providing excellent evidence of local authorities’ innovation, commitment and collaborative approach.

The case studies of incidents of fraud and corruption and examples of best practice in prevention, illustrate how risks can materialise and what can be done to mitigate them. In addition, the report includes a risk matrix, which highlights possible measures that councils can use to strengthen their resilience to the risks of fraud and corruption. I hope the report will serve as a valuable resource for councils across the country to learn from. In additional to this report, I would also encourage councils to make best use of the National Fraud Initiative[5], CIPFA Counter Fraud resources[6] and the case studies from the Counter Fraud Fund pilots MHCLG funded in 2014[7], as well as the latest Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally Strategy[8].

Taking forward the findings of the Review

This report sets out suggested next steps for the public sector as a whole, for local councils and for MHCLG. Those for the public sector focus on putting in place standard definitions and measurement methodologies, ensuring there is a central place to record reports of fraud and corruption and strengthening whistleblowing arrangements.

MHCLG has a key role in supporting a culture of strong governance and robust accountability within the local government sector, and the Counter Fraud and Anti-Corruption agenda are important strands within this work.

At the level of individual councils, appropriate capacity is needed to prevent, detect and respond to incidents of fraud and corruption within the procurement lifecycle. This means having in place effective fraud and corruption risk management structures and risk assessments, effective due diligence and management of gifts and hospitality and conflicts of interest.

Capacity and capability within local authority contract management and commercial activities have been identified as areas for improvement and all those involved in procurement must understand their roles and responsibilities, whenever commissioning, procuring or purchasing on behalf of their council. Councils should consider how the risks of fraud and corruption are managed in their wider networks, including local authority companies, Arms-Length Management Organisations (ALMOS) and other special purpose vehicles.

Procurement is only one area where fraud and corruption risks are present for councils, and similar risks are present in other areas of council operations. Many of the recommendations in this report should support efforts by councils to prevent and detect fraud and corruption, and to hold perpetrators successfully to account.

[1]. National Procurement Strategy for Local Government in England 2018, LGA, page 5 https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/11.122%20-%20National%20Procurement%20Strategy%202018_main%20report_V7.pdf

[2] See page 16, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764832/Cross-GovernmentFraudLandscapeAnnualReport2018.pdf.

[3] The Fraud Measurement and Assurance Oversight Board concluded that there is an upper and lower range of likely losses: 0.5% to 5%. See page 31, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764832/Cross-GovernmentFraudLandscapeAnnualReport2018.pdf.

[4] Page 15, Cross-Government Fraud Landscape Annual Report 2018, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764832/Cross-GovernmentFraudLandscapeAnnualReport2018.pdf

[5] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-fraud-initiative

[6] https://www.cipfa.org/services/counter-fraud-centre

[7] https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/efficiency-and-income-generation/counter-fraud-hub-outcomes-counter-fraud-fund-0

[8] https://www.cifas.org.uk/insight/public-affairs-policy/fighting-fraud-corruption-local-authorities

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS271
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 03 June 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Rough Sleeping: COVID-19 Response

My Hon. Friend, the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing (Luke Hall) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government has worked closely with local authorities, charities and health providers to offer accommodation to as many rough sleepers as possible in order to help them stay safe during the pandemic.

We have asked all local authorities to provide information on the number of individuals they have accommodated. The information provided is management information, not official statistics, and local authorities continue to hold the most recent information.

This information submitted shows that since the start of the pandemic, local authorities have accommodated 14,610 people. This includes people coming in directly from the streets, people previously housed in shared night shelters and people who have become vulnerable to rough sleeping during the pandemic.

This is a truly remarkable achievement and has been possible because of an incredible effort by the Government, local authorities and charities.

In order to be transparent, we have today published the management information received from local authorities which provides a breakdown of this figure both inside and outside of London.

This number should not be compared to the official autumn annual snapshot of rough sleeping numbers because the data sets are not comparable. A significant proportion of the 15,000 people accommodated were not rough sleepers but have been housed in order to prevent any risk of them sleeping rough during the pandemic. The work local authorities have undertaken during the pandemic has assisted many who were sleeping rough or living in accommodation where they share sleeping spaces, for example in hostels or night shelters, where they wouldn’t be able to fully self-isolate. Local authorities have also housed those at risk of rough sleeping, or who have presented to local authorities as at risk of sleeping rough throughout this pandemic.

The Government has supported this vital work with £3.2 million emergency funding as an initial first step, followed by funding totalling £3.2 billion to local authorities to allow them to meet local need during the pandemic, including protecting the most vulnerable and rough sleepers.

We have also announced a further £433m to provide 6,000 long-term, safe homes to support thousand of rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation move on to more sustainable accommodation.

The Government is now supporting local authorities on their next steps plans to ensure accommodation arrangements can continue to be managed safely to protect the most vulnerable, assessing individuals’ needs in order to ensure as few people as possible return to the streets. We have asked Dame Louise Casey to spearhead this work through a new Covid-19 Rough Sleeping Taskforce.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS263
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 03 June 2020
Made by: Luke Hall (Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing)
Commons

Rough Sleeping: COVID-19 Response

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government has worked closely with local authorities, charities and health providers to offer accommodation to as many rough sleepers as possible in order to help them stay safe during the pandemic.

We have asked all local authorities to provide information on the number of individuals they have accommodated. The information provided is management information, not official statistics, and local authorities continue to hold the most recent information.

This information submitted shows that since the start of the pandemic, local authorities have accommodated 14,610 people. This includes people coming in directly from the streets, people previously housed in shared night shelters and people who have become vulnerable to rough sleeping during the pandemic.

This is a truly remarkable achievement and has been possible because of an incredible effort by the Government, local authorities and charities.

In order to be transparent, we have today published the management information received from local authorities which provides a breakdown of this figure both inside and outside of London.

This number should not be compared to the official autumn annual snapshot of rough sleeping numbers because the data sets are not comparable. A significant proportion of the 15,000 people accommodated were not rough sleepers but have been housed in order to prevent any risk of them sleeping rough during the pandemic. The work local authorities have undertaken during the pandemic has assisted many who were sleeping rough or living in accommodation where they share sleeping spaces, for example in hostels or night shelters, where they wouldn’t be able to fully self-isolate. Local authorities have also housed those at risk of rough sleeping, or who have presented to local authorities as at risk of sleeping rough throughout this pandemic.

The Government has supported this vital work with £3.2 million emergency funding as an initial first step, followed by funding totalling £3.2 billion to local authorities to allow them to meet local need during the pandemic, including protecting the most vulnerable and rough sleepers.

We have also announced a further £433m to provide 6,000 long-term, safe homes to support thousand of rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation move on to more sustainable accommodation.

The Government is now supporting local authorities on their next steps plans to ensure accommodation arrangements can continue to be managed safely to protect the most vulnerable, assessing individuals’ needs in order to ensure as few people as possible return to the streets. We have asked Dame Louise Casey to spearhead this work through a new Covid-19 Rough Sleeping Taskforce.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS259
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 03 June 2020
Made by: Luke Hall ( Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing )
Commons

Troubled Families Annual Report

As required by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, section 3(1), today my Department has published the fourth annual report, setting out how the Troubled Families Programme (2015-2020) has been supporting our most disadvantaged families who face multiple and complex problems. We are laying this report today and will place a copy in the House of Commons library. There has been a slight delay to the publication of the report, due on 31 March, as my Department focused on the emergency response to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The Troubled Families Programme has been at the heart of our ambition to strengthen families and improve their futures since 2015. This year’s Annual Report details the Programme’s performance for the period up to the end of March 2020, outlines the changes introduced for the 20/21 financial year to allow more families to be eligible for support, and clarifies how their progress towards outcomes will be measured. The report was drafted before the Covid 19 pandemic so does not reflect the ongoing response from local government to support families during this unprecedented time.

Improving families’ lives: Fourth annual report of the Troubled Families Programme 2019-2020 details how the Programme is driving a profound shift in the way that local services respond to entrenched problems and support our most disadvantaged families. Assigning a single key worker to each family, backed by multi-agency partners and coordinated data, this joined up ‘wrap-around' support works with whole families to tackle the range of issues they face.

Over the lifetime of the Programme, local authorities have supported 350,105 families to achieve successful outcomes, including 30,000 adults who were helped into sustained employment, although the Programme has worked with many more families. These families faced multiple and complex problems including a combination of crime, truancy, neglect, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, poor mental health, worklessness and financial exclusion. Every successful family outcome represents a family’s life changed for the better – a considerable achievement for the families and the local authorities supporting them.

Analysis to track family outcomes over time, and case study research, indicates that the Programme delivered successful outcomes by intervening early to prevent escalation to Children’s Social Care. Analysis found that for every £1 spent on the Programme it delivers £2.28 of economic benefits (includes economic, social and fiscal benefits) and £1.51 of fiscal benefits (only budgetary impacts on services).

Analysis also suggests that the Programme is reducing the probability of future interaction with the criminal justice system, and the severity of offending, for adults and juveniles who had been convicted or given a custodial sentence before they joined the Programme.

The Troubled Families Programme has received new investment to extend the Programme for an additional year. The additional government funding of £165m will enable the current Programme to continue until the end of 2020-21.

The refreshed Financial Framework for 2020/21 was published on 14 May 2020 and sets out the expanded eligibility criteria and an explanation of the way in which local authorities should identify and support families using a range of indicators.

‘Improving families’ lives: Fourth annual report of the Troubled Families Programme 2019-2020 is accompanied by a range of publications that evaluate the Programme’s progress which can be accessed at Gov.uk.

These are:

Analysis of national and local data sets: part five

Staff Surveys - Troubled Families Coordinators: part four

Staff Surveys - Troubled Families Keyworkers: part four

Staff Surveys - Troubled Families Employment Advisors: part four

Case Study Research: part four

Family Survey additional analysis

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS257
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 03 June 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Troubled Families Annual Report

My Hon. Friend, the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing (Luke Hall) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

As required by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, section 3(1), today my Department has published the fourth annual report, setting out how the Troubled Families Programme (2015-2020) has been supporting our most disadvantaged families who face multiple and complex problems. We are laying this report today and will place a copy in the House of Commons library. There has been a slight delay to the publication of the report, due on 31 March, as my Department focused on the emergency response to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The Troubled Families Programme has been at the heart of our ambition to strengthen families and improve their futures since 2015. This year’s Annual Report details the Programme’s performance for the period up to the end of March 2020, outlines the changes introduced for the 20/21 financial year to allow more families to be eligible for support, and clarifies how their progress towards outcomes will be measured. The report was drafted before the Covid 19 pandemic so does not reflect the ongoing response from local government to support families during this unprecedented time.

Improving families’ lives: Fourth annual report of the Troubled Families Programme 2019-2020 details how the Programme is driving a profound shift in the way that local services respond to entrenched problems and support our most disadvantaged families. Assigning a single key worker to each family, backed by multi-agency partners and coordinated data, this joined up ‘wrap-around' support works with whole families to tackle the range of issues they face.

Over the lifetime of the Programme, local authorities have supported 350,105 families to achieve successful outcomes, including 30,000 adults who were helped into sustained employment, although the Programme has worked with many more families. These families faced multiple and complex problems including a combination of crime, truancy, neglect, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, poor mental health, worklessness and financial exclusion. Every successful family outcome represents a family’s life changed for the better – a considerable achievement for the families and the local authorities supporting them.

Analysis to track family outcomes over time, and case study research, indicates that the Programme delivered successful outcomes by intervening early to prevent escalation to Children’s Social Care. Analysis found that for every £1 spent on the Programme it delivers £2.28 of economic benefits (includes economic, social and fiscal benefits) and £1.51 of fiscal benefits (only budgetary impacts on services).

Analysis also suggests that the Programme is reducing the probability of future interaction with the criminal justice system, and the severity of offending, for adults and juveniles who had been convicted or given a custodial sentence before they joined the Programme.

The Troubled Families Programme has received new investment to extend the Programme for an additional year. The additional government funding of £165m will enable the current Programme to continue until the end of 2020-21.

The refreshed Financial Framework for 2020/21 was published on 14 May 2020 and sets out the expanded eligibility criteria and an explanation of the way in which local authorities should identify and support families using a range of indicators.

‘Improving families’ lives: Fourth annual report of the Troubled Families Programme 2019-2020 is accompanied by a range of publications that evaluate the Programme’s progress which can be accessed at Gov.uk.

These are:

Analysis of national and local data sets: part five

Staff Surveys - Troubled Families Coordinators: part four

Staff Surveys - Troubled Families Keyworkers: part four

Staff Surveys - Troubled Families Employment Advisors: part four

Case Study Research: part four

Family Survey additional analysis

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS261
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 02 June 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Grenfell Update

On 30 October 2019 Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which focused on how the fire started and spread and the emergency response, concluded with the publication of the Phase 1 report. In January 2020 the Government reaffirmed the acceptance, first given on the day of publication, to accept in principle, all the recommendations that Sir Martin Moore-Bick made for central government in that report.

Six months on from the publication of the Government’s response to the Phase 1 report, I would like to update Parliament on the Government’s progress at turning our commitments into real and lasting change to building and fire safety.

The Grenfell fire was an unimaginable tragedy that must never be allowed to happen again. Even in these unprecedented times, the Government’s commitment to implementing the Inquiry’s recommendations, as a priority, remains unchanged. As does the Government’s commitment to ensuring those most affected, the bereaved and survivors – who have displayed such remarkable courage, resilience and dignity – continue to be engaged in discussions about policy development.

Ban on the use of combustible materials

The Inquiry’s report was clear that the use of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) rainscreen cladding and combustible insulation on the exterior of the Tower was the defining factor in the rapid spread of the fire. The Government introduced regulations in December 2018 that banned the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of specific types of new high-rise buildings. A public consultation was held between January and May 2020, to further explore and refine the scope of that ban – including a proposal to ban the use of ACM with unmodified polyethylene core and similar materials on all buildings in England. We are analysing feedback and will be publishing a response in due course.

Remediation

Since the Grenfell Tower fire, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Home Office (HO) have identified over 450 buildings with unsafe ACM cladding, and we have worked with local authorities and fire and rescue authorities to ensure that appropriate interim safety measures are in place, while these buildings undergo remediation.

In March this year the Government announced that it will provide £1 billion to fund the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems. This is in addition to the £600 million which Government has made available for remediation of the highest risk ACM cladding. The prospectus for this fund was launched last month and sets out the buildings and non-ACM cladding systems that are eligible for funding and registration is now open for potential applicants, in advance of the full application process opening by the end of July 2020. More information on the Fund Prospectus can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund.

This fund will meet the cost of remediating unsafe non-ACM cladding systems where building owners (or other entities legally responsible for making buildings safe) are unable to do so. Government are also providing additional, specialist project management capability to building owners or managing agents to speed up the development and implementation of building plans.

The Fire Protection Board

The Government has also established a Fire Protection Board, chaired by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), to provide greater assurance to central government of Fire and Rescue Service protection activity. The Board is leading a Building Risk Review Programme, supported by government funding to ensure that all high-rise residential buildings of 18m or above are inspected or reviewed by the end of 2021. We are also using a proportion of the additional £20m secured for fire and rescue services in the recent Budget to further support an uplift in protection capability.

Stay Put

At the end of last year, a joint HO and MHCLG steering group was set up to support a technical review of stay put. There are three strands to this work: an evidence review, assessing academic evidence on methods of evacuation; operational research to test evacuation strategies; and building design research. The first stage of this work has been commissioned and is underway whilst preliminary work is being carried out on the other strands.

Building safety

At the heart of the Government’s radical reforms to building safety is the new Building Safety Regulator, which we are establishing within the Health and Safety Executive. The Government set out plans in our response to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation for the biggest change in building safety for a generation.

The new regulator will be responsible for implementing and enforcing a more stringent regulatory regime for higher risk buildings, as well as providing wider and stronger oversight of safety and performance across all buildings and increasing the competence of those working on building safety. This work complements the establishment of a new construction products regulatory role to strengthen national oversight and effectively enforce the new regulatory regime.

The Government will soon be publishing the draft Building Safety Bill for scrutiny before it is introduced in Parliament. This Bill will put in place this new and enhanced regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products, and ensure residents have a stronger voice.

In April, the Government published a workplan detailing the next steps for the wider review of Approved Document B, following the technical review that was started in December 2018. Research will be carried out in areas such as means of escape, compartmentation and toxicity. This work will build on the changes we have published in an update to Approved Document B last month, so that sprinklers and wayfinding signage will be provided in all new blocks of flats above 11 metres. The Government is also working with the NFCC on further tests of evacuation with a view to including guidance on provision of these systems in a later update to Approved Document B.

Fire Safety Bill

The Inquiry’s Phase 1 report also called for new duties on building owners and managers to share technical information with fire and rescue services and undertake regular inspections of flat entrance doors. It is our intention to take forward these recommendations for existing buildings under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 underpinned by the changes being introduced through the Fire Safety Bill.

The Fire Safety Bill, which was introduced in March and received cross-party support, clarifies that the scope of the Fire Safety Order covers external walls (including cladding and balconies) and flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings. It provides a firm foundation upon which to bring forward secondary legislation to implement the recommendations that require further changes to the law. The Bill is a significant further step to ensure better identification and management of fire safety risks in such buildings.

It is important that the Government’s response to the Inquiry’s recommendations has the support of those with experience in these matters, and those most affected by them. To ensure their views inform our response, a public consultation will be issued soon setting out the Government’s proposed approach to the remaining recommendations that call for legislative change.

Fire and Rescue Services

Many of the recommendations within the Inquiry’s Phase 1 report were directed at non-Government organisations that are equally committed to the reforms. The report was clear that the London Fire Brigade (LFB) must learn and change to restore public confidence. Our request for regular progress reports from the LFB setting out how they are translating the recommendations into action are a key part of retaining focus and momentum on the need for change.

There remains much to do, but the HO is already seeing a commitment to revised policy and procedures backed up by the use of better equipment and technology to support high-rise fire fighting and fire fighting in London more broadly. The pandemic has created many challenges, but it has not affected the LFB’s commitment to implementing the Inquiry’s Phase 1 recommendations.

It is important that the lessons from Grenfell are learned beyond London. This is why the NFCC is working to ensure that the Phase 1 recommendations are implemented across all fire and rescue services. The HO is working closely with the NFCC on an improvement plan to help it drive real change across the sector.

In the three years since the Grenfell Tower fire, the Government has remained steadfast in its commitment to driving forward both cultural and legislative change so that no such tragedy can ever be allowed to happen again. Through implementation of the reforms highlighted in this statement, and wider work of Government and our stakeholders, we will move from the conditions that allowed a tragedy like the fire at Grenfell Tower to occur almost three years ago, to a system which ensures developers and building owners demonstrate greater responsibility for the safety of residents and which allows local authorities and fire and rescue authorities to enforce this. The Government is firmly committed to ensuring all residents are safe in their homes, now and in the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS253
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