Thistle Housing Association served with asbestos improvement notice

Thistle Housing Association served with asbestos improvement notice

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has served a Statutory Improvement Notice on Thistle Housing Association in relation to its management of asbestos.

The safety body took the action on August 22 after it decided that Thistle had failed to comply with regulations on the control of asbestos.

Thistle is required to comply with the Improvement Notice by November 15 and has appointed expert consultants to help it.

The action was revealed in an updated engagement plan in which the Scottish Housing Regulator updated the progress of its statutory intervention at Thistle. 

The Regulator used its statutory powers of intervention to appoint a manager and five members to Thistle’s governing body in August 2018 after it identified serious and widespread failures at Thistle to comply with the regulatory standards of governance and financial management and to meet outcome two of the Scottish Social Housing Charter.

In August 2019, the Regulator increased the number of appointees on the governing body to nine.

The Regulator required Thistle to independently review its compliance with tenant and resident safety requirements. The review identified substantial and systemic weaknesses in Thistle’s approach.

Separately, an independent review of the information provided to the Regulator by Thistle about the performance of its services to tenants and residents, identified major shortcomings in Thistle’s approach. The review was only able to verify three of the thirty Scottish Social Housing Charter Indicators.

Ian Brennan, director of regulation at the Regulator, said: “Tenant and resident safety is a key priority for us. In June 2019 we established that Thistle had provided inaccurate information to tenants, residents and ourselves about its management of asbestos.

“As a result we required Thistle to immediately independently review the quality of information provided, including its asbestos management systems. We considered that the reviews showed serious weaknesses in and failures in Thistle’s approach.

“Thistle must comply with the Improvement Notice. With support from the Statutory Manager and appointees it will develop plans to address the weaknesses and failures and we will closely monitor its progress. We also require Thistle to provide appropriate information to its tenants and residents about the steps it is taking.”

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