Welsh Government receives advisory report on fire safety scheme for social housing


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Welsh government’s new fire safety scheme for social housing receives expert evaluation

The Subsidy Advice Unit (SAU), under the auspices of the Competition and Markets Authority, recently published a report aimed at advising the Welsh Government on its proposed fire safety scheme targeted at medium and high-rise buildings within the social sector.

The report, dated 8 May 2024, outlines the SAU’s assessment of the government’s compliance with the Subsidy Control Act 2022.

This evaluation scrutinises the Welsh Government’s methodology and evidence used in determining the scheme’s adherence to regulatory frameworks, primarily focusing on subsidy control requirements.

The SAU’s review includes a detailed analysis, though it refrains from making any direct recommendations on the scheme’s implementation.

Key findings and recommendations

The SAU report suggests several improvements to enhance the Welsh Government’s assessment of the fire safety scheme.

It recommends more precise referencing and stronger evidence to support assertions within the assessment.

Specifically, the report calls for enhanced details on aspects of scheme design, such as the intervention limits and the efficiency of grant funding for remediation works.

Additionally, the report addresses the need for better evidence supporting the counterfactual scenarios, particularly the inability of landlords to manage fire safety issues promptly without subsidy.

The SAU also highlighted the importance of considering non-subsidy alternatives and the overall proportionality of awards to individual beneficiaries, suggesting a more systematic approach to assessing these elements.

Implications for policy and practice

The guidance provided by the SAU is non-binding but critical for the Welsh Government’s decision-making process concerning the fire safety scheme.

By outlining potential areas for improvement, the SAU aims to ensure that the proposed measures effectively meet policy objectives while adhering to statutory guidelines.

This advice is intended to aid the Welsh Government in refining the scheme, thereby enhancing the safety and compliance of social housing projects.

IFSJ Comment

The SAU’s evaluation of the Welsh Government’s fire safety scheme proposal underscores the complexity and necessity of thorough compliance assessments in public safety initiatives.

As the government contemplates the implementation of this scheme, the insights from the SAU report highlight the importance of evidence-based decision-making and rigorous adherence to subsidy control measures.

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