Clause 91 - Residents’ engagement strategy

Part of Building Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 19th October 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 2:15 pm, 19th October 2021

I thank hon. Members for raising this important matter, but I am afraid that the Government are not able to accept the amendment. However, having listened to the hon. Member for Luton South speak, I now understand more fully the intended purpose of the amendment. Personally, I feel that the role of the accountable person fulfils the intention that she seeks.

As we have touched on, ownership of buildings can be complex. We need to be able to point to the person or entity that residents can go to if they have the kinds of concerns mentioned by the hon. Lady. The accountable person fulfils that purpose and will be a useful addition to the needs of her constituents. Our assessment is that this amendment would not deliver improved building safety protections for residents in high-rise buildings.

Clause 91 requires that the accountable person must prepare strategy “for promoting the participation” of residents in decision making about building safety and decisions relating to the management of the building or performance of the accountable person’s duties. Inserting “ownership structure” in the clause would not require residents to be provided with information on the ownership of the building, but it would require an accountable person to include in their strategy ways to promote the participation of residents in decisions related to the building’s ownership structure.

I assure hon. Members that their intention of ensuring that residents have information on and are able to hold to account those responsible for their safety has been met by the Bill. Information about accountable persons will, by virtue of clause 73, be publicly available on the register of higher-risk buildings, which will be published by the Building Safety Regulator.

In addition, clause 77 requires important details about the identity of those responsible for managing building safety to be displayed in a conspicuous position in the building by the principal accountable person. This will further ensure that residents have information about key people responsible for their buildings. Clause 90 provides that where there is a change in accountable persons, the regulator must be notified and residents given updated information about their accountable person through the notice displayed conspicuously in the building. This ensures that when there are changes to who is responsible for a building’s safety, this is captured and residents will be informed. Therefore, I respectfully ask the hon. Member for Weaver Vale to withdraw the amendment.