“Achieving CORGI Accreditation has given a significant boost to our confidence at all levels within North Lincolnshire Homes as well as externally,” said Gareth Davey Quality and Compliance Manager for North Lincolnshire Homes. “We know that this means our gas safety levels are ‘above and beyond’ and managed appropriately.”
North Lincolnshire Homes was set up in 2007 to offer homes that people can afford. It currently has a housing stock of 10,000 properties across the North Lincolnshire area of which 8,500 properties have gas. The organisation has an internal team of seven gas engineers carrying out repairs and external contractors focusing on servicing.
“Over the course of about eighteen months in 2011-12 we started to put a focus on how we could work to a standard that would match or exceed other best practice Housing Associations,” continued Gareth. “The CORGI Quality Accreditation Scheme was clearly the best route for us to follow – we believed that we were already very thorough, but by meeting this accredited standard we were keen to see where the gaps might be and to plug them.”
The CORGI Quality Accreditation Scheme has been designed to assess the quality of management systems and processes that are in place for achieving safe gas work. Accreditation is valid for three years with annual surveillance visits. It addresses several key areas of gas safety management including:
- company gas policy
- specification/contractor selection
- voids procedure
- mutual/exchange procedure
- work records
- unsafe situation procedure
- access policy
- managing standards of work
- technical support
- complaints procedures
The CORGI Quality Accreditation is for social housing providers, landlords and contractors working with them and meeting the Accreditation standard will reduce the risk of a Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) serious detriment notice.
“The first audit that was carried out for our Accreditation was very useful, going through all of our processes and procedures,” continued Gareth. “We scored 91.2%, which was excellent, but left us with a few areas to develop. The score re-assured us that we were doing very well and was good for our confidence in showing that we were on top of gas safety. It was also very re-assuring for our senior management who could see that we were doing the right things.”
“Following the initial audit we put in place a plan to improve the areas of weakness and make sure we maintained other standards to the same high level. We identified some procedures, such as Mutual Exchanges and Frameworks that needed some improving, but most of the changes in other areas were putting meat onto the bones of policies and procedures that we had in place already.”
At the end of July 2015, North Lincolnshire Homes went through their second annual audit as part of the Accreditation Scheme.
“We were delighted to score 98.9% in our second audit,” declared Gareth. “We still need to tweak one area but overall we are pleased that we are in a good place. It is very important that we maintain what we are doing now. My colleagues Philippa Sturdy, Contracts & Planning Officer and Philip Woodward, Gas Compliance Officer, Quality & Compliance at North Lincolnshire Homes have been fully involved with the Accreditation process and have been key in reaching such high standards.”
“The support that we have had from Kevin Winship and Chris Jones at CORGI has been invaluable. Their knowledge is excellent and they have coached us through the process at all stages.”
“The impact of achieving CORGI Accreditation is being seen across the organisation,” concluded Gareth. “We are confident that we are in control of gas safety and have worked with all areas of the organisation from tenants to senior management to achieve this. We have demonstrated our commitment to gas safety by putting 50 tenants through the CORGI Level 1 VRQ in Gas Safety Awareness for Tenants. We have better processes in place than three years ago and are very confident that we have levels of gas safety that are ‘above and beyond’ many other similar organisations.”
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