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Hackney Council Housing Service self refers itself to the Housing Regulator

15th July 2024
As part of its drive to continually improve the services it provides to everyone living in its homes, Hackney Council’s Housing Service has referred itself to the Housing Regulator having not fully met the regulator’s expectations by the end of June.In April 2023, the regulator set a number of new measures for all social housing providers, including the Council, to help drive up standards for people living in social housing. The Council had to report how it was delivering against these measures by the end of June 2024.There are five areas - covering gas, fire, asbestos, water and lift safety checks - where the Council felt it had not fully met the regulator's expectations.The Council is now fully compliant with the requirement to undertake fire risk assessments on communal areas and has plans in place to fully achieve, or be as close as reasonably possible to achieving, the regulator’s standard in the other four areas between now and the end of August 2024.However, as these targets were not achieved the Council has referred itself to the regulator. While the Council has not fully met all the requirements, mitigations are in place to ensure all our homes remain safe to live in. Among the steps the Council is taking are:Gas Safety - we carry out more than 18,600 annual gas services on our homes each year. Currently there are 375 outstanding services still to be carried out. Appointments have been made to carry out the checks in 348 of these homes and the Council is proactively working to be able to gain entry to the homes where residents have not responded or we have been unable to enter.Asbestos  - Asbestos is not dangerous if not disturbed. We have currently been unable to carry out checks on 88 communal areas as part of our annual checks but these will take place over the coming weeks.Water Safety - risk assessments of water storage need to be completed every five years. While there has been a delay in renewing a number of these so far regular maintenance and testing of the water storage is carried outLift Safety - we have to check all of our lifts on an annual basis for insurance purposes as this is the measure used by the regulator to check we are meeting its standard. Unfortunately there was a delay in starting these checks due to appointing a new contractor to carry them out - but we have now agreed an accelerated programme with them to ensure all of the lifts are checked by the end of August.  However, our lift repairs contractor carries out monthly checks on all of our lifts to ensure they are safe.We are also recruiting additional gas engineers as well as assessors to carry out any currently outstanding safety checks. The regulator will now assess the steps the Council is taking to meet its standards in these areas which will also help in its drive to continually enhance the service it delivers.The table below highlights the five areas the Council has referred to the regulator, how it was delivering against them in March 2024, the current position and when it expects to be compliant with the regulators expectation. MeasureMarch 2024  Current positionExpected date for meeting 100% targetGas safety checks97.83%98.17%31 August 2024Fire safetychecks95.98%100%Achieved 10 July 2024Asbestos safety checks96.53%99.21%31 July 2024Water safety checks83.69%94.84%31 July 2024Lift safety checks72.02%85.79%31 August 2024

An update on the encampment outside Hackney Town Hall

10th July 2024
More information about the Council's work since the start of the conflict can be found at:

Venues can extend their opening hours for the EURO 2024 semi finals

With support from Hackney Council, venues will be able to stay open for an extra two hours on Wednesday 10 July to allow local football fans to come together for longer to watch England play in the EURO 2024 semi final. The extension will automatically apply to premises which are licensed to sell alcohol until at least 11pm, allowing them to stay open until 1am the following morning. The change only applies to England matches, meaning venues can stay open later on Wednesday the 10 July and Sunday 14 July 2024, should England reach the final. The decision comes from the Home Office, who can make an order relaxing licensing hours to mark occasions of “exceptional national significance”. The Government has previously pushed back pub closing times for royal weddings, the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016, the Fifa World Cup in 2014 and the last EURO 2022 final. It’s hoped that the extended hours will give pub-goers longer to celebrate the matches, and provide a boost to the hospitality industry after a difficult few years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hackney Council will continue to support residents and licensed premises throughout this period. The Council’s Hackney Nights and Licensing and Environmental Protection teams will work directly with venues to ensure they are compliant with the conditions of this extension. If residents have any concerns about the licensing extension, please reach out to the Hackney Nights team by emailing  
8th July 2024

Innovative art programme to transform libraries into cultural hubs with training for artists

A ground-breaking initiative aimed at integrating artists and communities in library spaces, is set to transform the borough’s libraries into vibrant cultural hubs.Art at Heart was developed in response to feedback from around 8,500 Hackney residents, and residents expressing that one of their top desires is for libraries to become dynamic centres for creativity. This summer, the project will train early-career artists through paid residencies in libraries across Hackney, collaborating closely with local community groups. The initiative, led by Hackney Council in collaboration with Art School Plus, and funded by Arts Council England, will see award-winning artists including Ingrid Pollard and Olivia Plender, lend their expertise to help the artists integrate their work and residencies into library spaces. Local artists will take part in a training week facilitated by artist, feminist and co-founder of the Glasgow Women's Library Dr Adele Patrick.Hackney’s Libraries service will also partner with students from the MFA Curating course at Goldsmiths, University of London to provide two curators with a specialism in socially engaged and public art an opportunity to work in libraries. Acting as advisers and peers, the curators will support the artists working within the library spaces to build a network and trigger future collaborations.Disability-led arts organisation SHAPE will collaborate with Arts School Plus to break down barriers in culture and to involve their network of disabled creatives in reimagining the library as a vibrant place of community, expression and imagination. The programme is part of Hackney’s libraries strategy which focuses on promoting creativity, reading and lifelong learning, digital inclusion, volunteering and participation, and engaging with vulnerable people and communities throughout the borough.Residents will have the opportunity to visit their local libraries and take part in the Art at Heart programme during the summer. Dates and times for the arts activities will be published on Love Hackney in July 2024.NotesHackney Libraries ServiceHackney Council runs eight libraries and a Community Library Service - its membership is open to anyone and allows customers to borrow stock, to use the computers and participate in cultural, learning and community focused activities. Information on all Hackney Libraries can be found on Love Hackney.The libraries strategy for Hackney 2022 to 2026 is a vision for what the borough’s library service aims to achieve over the four years. It responds directly to what residents said they wanted for their libraries. View libraries strategy for Hackney 2022 to 2026 here.Art School PlusArt School Plus connects early-career artists with organisations, businesses, and public realm projects.Art School Plus is both an alternative artist training programme and an innovator of unique projects. It is the bridge between artists and opportunities which exist outside of a gallery setting, supporting both organisations and artists in making projects a reality.The Art School Plus programme champions the role of the artist within a wider social context, supporting a true diversity of voices and perspectives in this space.Arts Council EnglandArts Council England (ACE) is the national development agency for creativity and culture. ACE has set out their strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of all is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone has access to a range of high quality cultural experiences. ACE invest public money from the Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver the vision.
5th July 2024

Sign up for free events and activities for young people interested in creative arts

Learn and perform a new instrument, create your own theatre production, or build your own furniture in Discover Young Hackney’s annual youth arts and culture programme.Young Hackney residents aged 15-26, including those with SEND, can take part in free events and workshops throughout August, covering a wide range of creative art forms including music, dance, theatre, architecture and woodwork.Take your first steps towards a career in the creative sector, by signing up to the exciting line-up of activities taking place from 1 August - 1 September:Play with avatars, music and choreography in this digital dance workshop by Alexander Whitley Dance Company, in partnership with DarkfieldSpend a week creating a performance showcase with professional actors in Arcola TheatreLearn to play a new instrument and show off your skills in front of a live audience at Hoxton HallCreate your own piece of theatre around the theme Limitless with Hackney Shed, in partnership with Hackney Empire and Access All AreasLearn about the music industry with trained professionals from Progression Sessions, in partnership with EartH and Hipgnosis MusicDesign an architecture project from planning to construction with STORE Schools, in partnership with Flimsy Architectural StudioExplore the world of woodwork and build furniture to last with the Woodshop of Recycled Delights, in partnership with BetaMinds, Babes in Development and Project IndigoFind a full list of what’s happening and details of how to take part here. You can also follow Discover Young Hackney on Love Hackney's Instagram and Twitter.
1st July 2024