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Library: News: Regulator Falls Foul of its own Regulations!


Just like the DCLG and the ODPM before it, the CLG (Communities and Local Government) “sets policy and rescue”, Primarily in England and Wales, and is also responsible for the legislation so arising.

However, a recent request by under the Freedom of Information Act has, has revealed how the headquarters of the very department that legislates for fire safety, fell foul of its own legislation.


The CLG’s headquarters, Eland House, were inspected in late November 2009 by the Enforcing Officers, in this case the Crown Premises Inspection Group (“CPIG”).  In a damning report, the inspector said “The concepts of ‘responsible’ and ‘competent’ persons, and the duties placed upon those persons under the Order, appear not to be understood within CLG premises”. The inspector goes on to say: “At present there is a lack of national policy, guidance and ownership of fire safety management across the CLG estate.”

Enforcement Notice

A Crown Enforcement Notice, dated 16 February 2010, was served on the then secretary of state for CLG, John Denham. According, to, it lists alleged breaches of 13 Articles of the Fire Safety Order that impose duties on the CLG, as the responsible person, including:

  • An unsuitable and insufficient fire risk assessment;
  • Failing to nominate competent persons to help the responsible person discharge his duties;
  • Failure to adequately maintain the fire alarm system, interconnections between fire safety systems, and smoke vents throughout the building;
  • an “unacceptable” policy that no one should use portable fire extinguishers in the building;
  • Lack of evidence of adequate training and provision of essential fire safety information to staff;
  • shortcomings in the means of escape for the number of people likely to occupy the building; ans
  • Introducing a fire load in the atrium which was not considered in the building’s fire engineered design, by installing a cafeteria which, it is said, may lead to “uncontrolled fire spread throughout the building”

Immunity from Prosecution

Unlike the properties of other large organisations who have had to ‘face the music’ for their breaches of the Fire Safety Order, Eland House qualifies as Crown premises. The Fire Safety Order’s Article 32 offences do not apply to the Crown - they are effectively immune from prosecution.

Read’s article on this story here

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