Aims of the strategy

The Housing Standards Enforcement Policy and Statement of Principles for determining Financial Penalties provides guidance which enforcement officers shall have regard to when making enforcement decisions in relating to regulating conditions in all houses. The document also contains the Councils policy in relation to setting fines and penalties for certain criminal and other offences under the Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations.  

Background to the proposal

In April 2020 existing Housing Enforcement Policies novated to the new Dorset Council. These policies remain in force until 31 March 2021, or until a new policy supersedes them.   

The formation of Dorset Council on the 1 April 2019 required that the Council adopt one new Enforcement Policy and Statement of Principles for determining Financial Penalties across the new district area.  

This enables officers to be properly guided in their enforcement decisions, to ensure a consistent and proportionate approach to regulation as required by the Regulators Code.  

This new Dorset Council Housing Standards Enforcement Policy represents a convergence of the original sovereign council enforcement policies and there is no significant change from these original sovereign documents.  

Relevant legal provisions including the Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations and statutory and non-statutory guidance. 

Similar policy documents from the original sovereign Councils the: 

Nationwide good practice 

Consultation with: 

  • Bournemouth Poole and Christchurch Council 
  • National Landlords Association 
  • Shelter 

Enforcement activity needs to be:  

  • proportionate: Our activities will reflect the level of risk to the public and any enforcement action taken will relate to the seriousness of the offence 
  • consistent: Our advice to those we regulate will be robust and reliable and we will respect advice provided by others. Where circumstances are similar, we will endeavour to act in similar ways to other local authorities. 
  • targeted: We will focus our resources on higher risk enterprises and activities, reflecting local need and national priorities. 
  • transparent: We will ensure that those we regulate are able to understand what is expected of them and what they can anticipate in return. 
  • accountable: Our activities will be open to public scrutiny with clear and accessible polices and fair and efficient feedback process. 
  • carry out our activities in a way that supports those we regulate to comply and grow 
  • provide simple and straightforward ways to engage with those we regulate and hear their views 
  • base our regulatory activities on risk 
  • share information about compliance and risk 
  • ensure clear information, guidance and advice is available to help those we regulate to meet their responsibilities to comply 
  • ensure that our approach to our regulatory activities is transparent 

Intelligence and Communication

Data, information, evidence and research used and how it has influenced the decision-making process

Relevant legal provisions including the Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations and statutory and non-statutory guidance. 

Similar policy documents from the original sovereign councils the: 

Nationwide good practice 

Consultation with: 

  • Bournemouth Poole and Christchurch Council 
  • National Landlords Association 
  • Shelter  

Enforcement activity needs to be:  

  • proportionate: Our activities will reflect the level of risk to the public and any enforcement action taken will relate to the seriousness of the offence 
  • consistent: Our advice to those we regulate will be robust and reliable and we will respect advice provided by others. Where circumstances are similar, we will endeavour to act in similar ways to other local authorities. 
  • targeted: We will focus our resources on higher risk enterprises and activities, reflecting local need and national priorities. 
  • transparent: We will ensure that those we regulate are able to understand what is expected of them and what they can anticipate in return. 
  • accountable: Our activities will be open to public scrutiny with clear and accessible polices and fair and efficient feedback process. 
  • carry out our activities in a way that supports those we regulate to comply and grow 
  • provide simple and straightforward ways to engage with those we regulate and hear their views 
  • base our regulatory activities on risk 
  • share information about compliance and risk 
  • ensure clear information, guidance and advice is available to help those we regulate to meet their responsibilities to comply 
  • ensure that our approach to our regulatory activities is transparent 

Engagement or consultation that has taken place as part of this EqIA

Consultation with - Bournemouth Poole and Christchurch Council, National Landlords Association, Housing Services Team, Portfolio Holder, Legal Services, Shelter  

Feedback

Final copy of report with revisions including continued contact, liaison and discussion with both internal and external partners on an ongoing basis, ensuring feedback and supporting the development of the enforcement service. 

Assessment

Impacts of the strategy 

Impacts of the strategy
Impacts on who or what? Effect Details

Age

Disability: 

(including physical, mental, sensory and progressive conditions) 

Neutral

There is no barrier or conditions that affect the rights of people based on their age. 

In exceptional circumstances the policy may allow enforcement action to be taken against owner occupiers who are at demonstrable imminent risk. Such owner occupiers tend to be older, vulnerable persons who may lack the mental capacity to make informed decisions about their own safety and welfare. 

Such actions are always considered in consultation with other statutory agencies including Social Care and with due regard to the persons human rights.

Gender Reassignment & Gender Identity / Pregnancy and maternity / Race and Ethnicity / Religion or belief / Sexual orientation / Sex (consider both men and women) / Marriage or civil partnership / Carers / Single parent families / Armed Forces communities 

Neutral

There is no barrier or conditions that affect the rights of people in these protected characteristics

Rural isolation

Neutral

There is no barrier or conditions that affect the rights of persons living in rural isolation. Enquires to the service can be made via a number of different channels including online portal, telephone and letter. In order to assess property conditions inspections are made of persons homes irrespective of where they live.

Social & economic deprivation

Positive

There is no barrier or conditions that affect the rights of social and economic deprived residents.  

Enquires to the service can be made via a number of different channels including online portal, telephone and letter. In order to assess property conditions inspections are made of persons homes irrespective of where they live.  

The policy will assist those living in the poorest housing. There is a close connection between poor housing conditions and deprivation and therefore the policy has to potential to eliminate discrimination and advances equality of opportunity for this particular group.

Key to impacts

Key to impacts
Positive Impact 

the proposal eliminates discrimination, advances equality of opportunity and/or fosters good relations with protected groups.

Negative Impact 

Protected characteristic group(s) could be disadvantaged or discriminated against.

Neutral Impact 

No change/ no assessed significant impact of protected characteristic groups.

Unclear 

Not enough data/evidence has been collected to make an informed decision.

Action Plan

action table
Issue  Action to be taken  Person(s) responsible   Date to be completed by 

Promotion 

Ensure that the policy is available in the appropriate accessible formats for potential users ie web site, other health professionals 

Steve March 

Within 3 months of the policies adoption 

Diversity Data Collection 

Consider the collection and assessment of diversity data in relation to enforcement activity. Data in relation to the persons we enforce against (landlords) and data in relation to those who we assist via enforcement (tenants) 

Consider the use of the Tascomi online portal for gathering diversity data about tenants accessing the service 

Consider the use of a questionnaire etc to gather diversity data of landlords using the service 

Steve March 

Corporate Issue –Business Intelligence and Performance Team to progress 

Within 6 months of the policies adoption 

Training 

All employees to undertake online Equality and Diversity Training/Refresher Training 

Steve March 

Within 3 months of the policies adoption 

Who has agreed this EqIA?

Who agreed the EqIA
Role Name Date
Officer completing this EqIA

Steve March 

22 September 2020 

Equality Lead

Susan Ward-Rice 

22 September 2020

Equality & Diversity Action Group Chair

Bridget Downton 

22 September 2020 

 

Diversity and Inclusion Officer - Dorset Council

Name: Susan Ward-Rice
Email: susan.ward-rice@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tel: 01305 224368
Full contact details

Share this page