(v) Potential Benefits and Costs
17-21 - Do you have data on the number of people/premises you work with that this Guidance will apply to?
Few respondents (13/38) confirmed that they have, or are able to share, related information. Ten (four housing associations, two advice agencies, one local authority, one managing agent/facilities manager, one care provider and one independent/private sector housing provider) gave figures for people affected, ranging from 70 to 8,000. This does not necessarily imply that the organisations supplying this data are committed to carrying out person-centred risk assessments. The respondents that answered "no" often did not provide reasons. Two respondents stated that more work would be required to gather this data.
Twelve respondents (four housing associations, two advice agencies, three local authorities, one managing agent/facilities manager, one independent/private sector housing provider and one care provider) provided information on premises, ranging from 3 to 5,000 for premises.
22 - Proportion of premises and people that have appropriate fire safety measures, taking into account the Guidance
This question asked respondents to either provide data or make estimates on the number of premises and people that have appropriate fire safety measures, taking into account the Guidance.
A total of thirteen responses were received. Of these, seven were able to provide data. The remaining six gave estimates.
Of the seven providing data, the breakdown was as follows:
(i) Adequate Premises based measures (data)
- one answered less than 50%,
- three answered 50%-75% ,
- three answered 76%-100%.
(ii) Adequate Person-centred measures (data)
- one said less than 50%,
- three said 50%-75%,
- three 76%-100%.
Of the six providing estimates, the breakdown was as follows:
(i) Adequate Premises based measures (estimates)
- one respondent said less than 50%,
- two respondents answered 50%-75%,
- three said 76%-100%.
(ii) Adequate Person-centred measures (estimates)
- one answered don't know,
- one less than 50%,
- one 50%-75%,
- two 76%-100%.
Only a minority of those who took part in the consultation provided data or estimates. Of those who did respond, most indicate that over 50% of their premises and people have adequate fire safety measures. This suggests many will have to carry out assessments in the near future to assess the situation. In addition, it is not clear whether the responses relating to people imply that the fire safety measures are appropriate, as determined by a person-centred risk assessment. Furthermore, it has to be emphasised that many respondents are not housing providers, but advice agencies or persons with views, etc. that may not be able to provide relevant information. However, (5/6) housing associations, (3/8) local authority housing providers, both care providers and the independent/private sector housing provider provided related information.
23 - Please provide further information on the number of people or premises that will need additional fire safety measures as a result of applying the Guidance?
Only two respondents (one independent/private sector housing provider and one local authority housing provider) could provide further information. Of these, the local authority said that they own 220 premises covered by the Guidance. The independent housing provider confirmed that 4,500 residents live in specialised housing or similar premises, but cannot give further information on additional fire safety measures until the person-based risk assessments have been carried out. This very low response rate implies that relevant assessments have to be carried out first.
24 - What are the anticipated benefits, including financial, from implementing the Guidance?
Sixteen respondents highlighted improved fire safety and the reduction of fires and saving of lives as the main benefits. Further benefits include a more structured approach to fire safety in Specialised Housing, the implementation of best practice and fostering a better understanding of resident/tenant needs.
Several respondents (two local authority housing providers, one housing association, one advice agency and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service), confirmed potential financial benefits resulting from the application of the Guidance and reduced fire risks. Local authority housing providers expected a positive impact on repair and refurbishment costs for their properties due to fewer fire incidents. The advice agency envisaged a potential reduction of insurance premiums linked to fewer fire incidents.
The housing association expected reduced costs to the Fire and Rescue Service, due to fewer fire incidents. The Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that fewer fire incidents and/or less serious fires and false alarms could free up time for fire prevention activities and the introduction of the guidance. They envisaged financial benefits for housing providers due to reduced fire damage repair costs as well as for the NHS, resulting from the reduced need to treat people injured in fire incidents.
25 - Please provide information on the types of improvements you anticipate will be needed? It would be useful to know whether these are person-centred or premises based and whether they are basic measures e.g. smokers apron / self-closing device or more significant e.g. individual fire suppressions systems / separation of roof spaces.
Improvements listed by respondents included improved housing management approaches due to the premises-based risk assessment, installation of storing and charging facilities for mobility scooters and the removal of combustible cladding. One local authority housing provider highlighted the need for the person-based and premises-based risk assessment to be completed first before this could be analysed.
26 - What other costs will be incurred in applying the Guidance?
Eleven respondents (five local authority housing providers, two housing associations, two advice agencies, one care and support provider and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service) anticipate other costs.
One local authority housing provider anticipates additional costs due to increased staff requirements and retrofitting of accommodation. Another local authority, also a housing provider, expressed concern that if accommodation cannot be upgraded in at a reasonable cost, alternative accommodation may have to be found.
In addition, one housing association expects increased insurance premiums, without providing further detail. The care and support provider expects a business impact but is still to assess their premises against the Guidance. Furthermore, one advice agency expects increased costs in building maintenance and management as well as a renewed focus on building design. Another advice agency expected building modification costs -should the use of mobility scooters increase- as a result of the options suggested in Appendix 7 on mobility scooters.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Serviceexpected additional work to support their partners, as a result of the Guidance. Training will be needed for those that offer advice on the Guidance. Furthermore, housing providers may have to re-assess evacuation procedures, face additional costs and require additional staff.
27 - Do you have access to funding sources currently to improve fire safety in specialised housing e.g. from Community Safety Partnerships?
Just two respondents (one person with a view and one advice agency) confirmed access to funding, but of these, one could not provide further details, while the other referred to internal resources for service provision. One housing association also confirmed the use of their own resources, while not having access to external funding sources. A joint response by two advice agencies called for funding support from the Scottish Government to meet the requirements of the Guidance.