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Strong public support for housing safety inspections to be in the hands of local councils

Strong public support for housing safety inspections to be in the hands of local councils

A new poll carried on behalf of APSE by polling company Survation finds that the public are almost three times more likely to support local councils being responsible for local Buildings Inspections work rather than private inspectors. The poll found 59% of the public support council Building Inspections, and just 23.4% support private inspectors.

The poll makes an interesting assessment of public trust in housing safety following the tragedy of Grenfell Tower. 

Interestingly, support is highest amongst Conservative voters with 63.9% supporting councils as the Building Inspectors.

Public support to give councils stronger powers to call landlords to account is also high with 82.1% supporting, or supporting strongly, stronger powers, with the highest support amongst Conservative voters at 85%. This pattern is followed on the issue of interventions, with 88.3% of Conservative voters believing council powers should be enhanced, and the public at large supporting this with 83.1% wanting to see stronger interventions. 

Speaking about the report at a housing fringe at the Labour Party conference, Paul O'Brien, APSE Chief Executive, said "This poll is a wake up call to Government. The public clearly support a role for local councils in keeping residents safe. With the majority of Inspections carried out by private companies it is time to look again at the fragmented housing market and redefine the role of local councils in ensuring the safety of their communities."

The full questions are tabled below:


Building inspectors

  • 59% support Council inspectors
  • 23.4% support private inspectors 
  • 17.3%  don't know


Power of Council to call landlords to account

  • Strong Support 52.1%
  • Somewhat support 30.1%
  • Don't know 12.6%
  • Somewhat oppose 0.9%
  • Strongly oppose 0.8%

The total support figure is 82.1%. Note total support among Conservatives voters is 85%.


Power of Council to intervene where landlords fail

  • Strong Support 60.1%
  • Somewhat support 23.1%
  • Neither support of oppose 12.6%
  • Somewhat oppose 0.9%
  • Strongly Oppose 0.8%

Total support 83.1%. Support among Conservative 88.3%. Note that support strengthens for the stronger intervention.


Download Research (pdf)


For a summary of the research, please download the presentation below. 

Download Presentation (pdf)



Notes to Editors

  • The survey followed British Polling Standards and was carried out by Survation on behalf of APSE.
  • The sample size was 1,634 and polling took place between the 15-20 September 2017.
  • Survation is an innovative and creative market research agency, working with big brands and key campaigns, and is a member of the British Polling Council.
  • APSE is the Association for Public Service Excellence, working with over 300 local authorities across the UK.
  • The full dataset for the survey for the relevant questions can be downloaded by clicking the button below.
  • For more information, contact Mo Baines, APSE Head of Communication and Coordination, on mbaines@apse.org.uk or call 0161 772 1810.




Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.






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