Aico facilitated a panel discussion on the LACORS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services) guidance document, in partnership with the NRLA (National Residential Landlords Association). Aico’s Southern Specification Manager, Tina Mistry hosted the discussion, and was joined by panel members from Hackney Council, Leeds City Council, C S Todd & Associates Ltd and the National Residential Landlords Association. Also present were representatives from the National Fire Chiefs Council, the Greater London Authority and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

The panel discussed the impact of the LACORS guidance document on the varying groups within the Housing and Fire Safety sectors, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the document. It was noted that LACORS is a guidance document and not a design document and therefore should be treated as such. The simplicity and accessibility of the document was praised, for both private landlords and Local Authorities, however it was agreed that the document is quite significantly outdated and in need of review. New ownership of the LACORS document must be established following the Local Government Association’s relinquishment of their authority over LACORS. This ownership could be established by government bodies such as the Home Office, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

It was agreed amongst the panellists that the document did not need to be completely overhauled; there were three key areas that needed updating, namely Fire Detection, Fire Doors and Fire Extinguishers. Consensus was reached that sections needed to be added to the document to include Fire Risk Assessments, examples of archetypes and Resident Engagement.

All parties pledged to work collaboratively together. It was agreed consultation for the review of the documents, re-write of the section and writing of the new sections would initially be done by all relevant parties present on the panel, then to their membership for feedback prior to agreeing a final version. It was noted that the collective group felt that this process could be undertaken within a six-month timescale.

Moving forward, LACORS documents should be updated naturally like all British Standards and that this situation should never arise again where such a platform is required. It was agreed that there are various Regulations, Standards and legislation produced from various governmental departments that refer to cross reference subjections of LACORS, and that there is a clear need to have a centralised online library where all can be reviewed parallel to one another.

Concluding remarks were that the LACORS document needed ownership and subsequent consultative updates to reflect the areas raised in this discussion, after which the document would be adopted by all within the sector. It was put to the Home Office, HSE and MHCLG that a response to the issues highlighted in this panel discussion was expected in six months’ time, Monday 8th March 2021.

Tina Mistry, Southern Specification Manager for Aico commented ‘It was great for us at Aico to facilitate this platform for all the relevant parties present together unanimously echoing the same requirements for change. Also agreeing to collaboratively work together to create the appropriate changes to keep residents safer in their homes’.

Members of the panel discussion included Colin Todd of C S Todd & Associates Ltd, Dave Offord, Operations Manager at National Residential Landlords Association, Kevin Thompson, Head of Private Sector Housing for Hackney Council, Mike Brook, Service Manager of Private Sector Housing at Leeds City Council and Gavin Dick, Chair of the National Residential Landlords Association.