Figures from the Mayor of London show that 44 care homes in Croydon were failing to meet fire safety standards through London Fire Brigade audits carried out following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The figures put Croydon as second worst in a London boroughs’ league of shame when it comes to fire safety in care homes.
Regional data shows that 1,226 fire safety audits have been carried out by the London Fire Brigade at care homes across the capital since June 2017.
Of those, 51 received an enforcement notice and 498 received a notice of deficiencies. The majority of care homes were found to be “broadly compliant” with fire safety standards.
Of all of London’s boroughs, only Bromley had more care homes than Croydon failing to meet fire safety standards, with 71 care homes in that borough receiving a notice of deficiencies or an enforcement notice.
At the other end of the scale, in Merton and in Hammersmith and Fulham, only five care homes each were found not to be up to standard.
Sutton had 28 not up to standard, Lambeth 26, Kingston 10 and Southwark seven.
Croydon has around 140 care homes operating in the borough, run by a variety of organisations, including private companies, charities and voluntary organisations, and some under contract from Croydon Council.
The LFB data suggests that almost 1 in 3 of Croydon’s care homes were not properly compliant with fire regulations.
The LFB has confirmed that, by March this year, they have conducted follow up visits at 30 care homes that received an enforcement notice, with the remaining 21 sites to be checked in the near future, to give operators an opportunity to fix the problems.
All 30 care homes the Brigade have returned to so far have been deemed “broadly compliant”. The Brigade did not disclose how many of the revisted care homes were in Croydon.
Inside Croydon asked Croydon Council how many of the homes that are run by or on behalf of the local authority had been served with enforcement notices or notice of deficiency by LFB since June 2017. At the time of publication, they were unable to answer our questions.
The information was made available following a written question to the Mayor of London submitted by Labour Assembly Member Andrew Dismore.
His colleague at City Hall, Tom Copley, told Inside Croydon, “It is very concerning that some of the most vulnerable Londoners are being put at risk in this way.
“These inspections carried out by the LFB have been vital in highlighting not only a local issue but one that urgently affects the whole of our capital.
“Care homes have a duty of care to their residents. It is vital they co-operate fully with the LFB to get their fire safety standards up to scratch and take all possible measures to prevent any future tragedies.”
According to the London Fire Brigade Enforcement Policy Statement, a notice of deficiencies (NOD) does not carry any statutory force, but if the Responsible Person for fire safety on the premises fails to undertake the specified improvements, the LFB are able to take this into account during future inspections.
An enforcement notice is issued by the LFB where the inspector can identify on the premises a clear breach of the law, significant risk factors or improvements that can be made within a set period of time.
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Sadly I fear that here we have a case of history repeating itself. Well, let’s hope not. Seriously though, did the London Fire Brigade not issue repeat warnings of potential, life threatening breaches of safety standards with Grenfell?
Even though these warnings were issued to a named person, still they were ignored, as is the right of the local council to whom responsibility for safety falls.
Is this correct, That the London Fire Brigade can use precious resources running surveys and issuing reports so that they can be ignored? Well unless I’m am missing something it would seem that the solution to this frighteningly dangerous problem is this:
GIVE THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE THE POWERS TO ENFORCE THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS.
We trust and respect our Fire Brigades immensely. They have no financial gain from issuing their reports nor political clout to be gained.. It’s almost as if we don’t trust their judgement in providing the information we pay them to provide.
After all, our fire services put their lives on the line every time they answer a call. Don’t we owe it to their bravery to ensure that we support them by carrying out their recommendations which are requested for one reason, in order to save lives. One day that life might be yours.