11 care homes in Brent were found to be failing to meet fire safety standards through London Fire Brigade (LFB) audits carried out following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Responding to the figures, obtained from a written answer by the Mayor of London, local London Assembly Member, Navin Shah AM, urged care homes to “co-operate fully with the LFB to get their fire safety standards up to scratch” to prevent any future tragedies.
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. 51 received an enforcement notice and 498 received a notice of deficiencies. The remaining majority of care homes were found to be ‘broadly compliant’ with fire safety standards.
On a local level, Bromley had the highest number of care homes failing to meet fire safety standards, with 71 care homes either receiving a notice of deficiencies or an enforcement notice. On the other end of the scale, Hammersmith and Fulham had only 5 care homes that were found not to be up to scratch.
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.
All care homes that received an enforcement notice, and those whose notice of deficiencies pointed to more significant failings, will receive a follow up visit from LFB to ensure the required improvements have been made.
The LFB have confirmed that, as of March 2019, they have conducted follow up visits at the 30 care homes that received an enforcement notice, with the remaining 21 sites to be checked on 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”.
Local London Assembly Member, Navin Shah AM, said, “It is very concerning that some of the most vulnerable members of our community 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”.