A simple rebranding of the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) could help to promote wider engagement with it, according to stakeholder feedback in the review of the system by consultancy RHE Global.
Speaking at CIEH’s 13th Housing and Health Conference, RHE’s head of consulting Alan Davies outlined findings from the review’s first six months, including feedback from more than 360 landlords, 300 EHPs and 150 tenant representatives, as well as HHSRS trainers and academics.
In addition to a name change, stakeholders suggested updates to HHSRS guidance that take into account new legislation, case law, building regulation changes and building technology advances. Stakeholders would also like to see the incorporation of minimum standards, which is a separate strand of work as part of the review.
Accessibility of the guidance was also highlighted. “[Stakeholders suggested] looking at the guidance document itself: the accessibility in terms of it being digitally designed and led; using the digital technology that is out there; being readily accessible; maybe more relevant to all stakeholders; or simply linked better across the guidance documents,” Davies said.
Stephen Battersby, CIEH vice president, said in a separate talk at the conference: “I wonder just how much some of the problems [with HHSRS] are due to a lack of training, including in environmental health qualification courses. Clearly, we must say the system starts from a basis of being competent to inspect the premises. Because the first step is being able to identify deficiencies in dwelling.”