Fire Alarms-eligible for HB?

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    Can anyone find a way to justify making a fire alarm charge eligible for HB?


    Um, it’s not in the list of excluded services, and it relates to the provision of adequate accommodation (especially in hostels, sheltered schemesw, supported housing etc.)

    Kevin D



    Sch 1 (para 1(c)) states that charges in respect of the provision of an emergency alarm system are not eligible.

    Interestingly, the type of emergency alarm is not specified. With that phrasing, it appears to mean ANY kind of emergency alarm. Presumably, a fire alarm would count as an emergency alarm.

    If that is so, mad as it may seem, it seems to be ineligible. Although, this is one of those cases where I hope to be wrong.

    I agree with Bob that the charge is related to the provision of adequate accommodation, but if para 1(c) bites first, the issue mentioned by Bob doesn’t arise.



    So how could you argue that it is not an ineligible alarm charge as per Schedule 1(1)(c)?
    Sorry Kevin, had not read your reply before I sent this.
    Thanks to you both for your responses


    All our sheltered housing schemes, and many of our supported housing schemes, have fire alarms, and the small weekly charge for this is shown on our service charge breakdown. Not once, to my knowledge, has a local authority ever suggested that it’s ineligible for HB.

    As Kevin knows, “emergency alarms” has always been taken to refer to personal alarms in sheltered schemes etc – i.e. for use by individual tenants to summon help in an emergency – and as such any charge is now covered by Supporting People Grant.

    Surely this is an area where common sense should prevail……

    Kevin D


    Yep – my first reaction was that “emergency alarm” meant “personal alarm”. I was very surprised when I double checked the actual wording – hence my expressed hope of being wrong.

    Findlay is oddly silent on it; implying that the provision is “self-explanatory”. In light of this thread, apparently not so self-explanatory… 🙄

    I like the idea of the common sense argument 🙂 . Unfortunately, I think Cmmr Howell has the final say on that in [b:94009f44f3]CH/3893/2004[/b:94009f44f3] where he states @ para 9:

    [quote:94009f44f3]”…tribunals and Commissioners are of course bound to apply the regulations approved by Parliament as they stand, not as we would like them to be…”[/quote:94009f44f3]

    Although, he didn’t mention LAs….. 😈


    If this helps to distinguish between the ineligible “emergency” alarm and the- what is think is eligible – “fire alarm”:-
    Schedule 1 actually says that “charges in respect of the provision of an emergency alarm system” are ineligible, so to me, that wording is talking about the whole “system” and the “provision of the service” in the sense of how the whole service functions including the response to the alarm call. That certainly makes sense in terms of “social alarms” because the charge covers the cost of people answering the call, which is eligible for SPS instead of HB. (In fact I remember some arguments that it is ONLY this element that is eligible for SPS and that the “equipment” element should be eligible for HB under normal furniture and equipment provisions.)
    So logically, it can’t be talking about fire alarms in this schedule otherwise it would be referring to the cost of the fire service coming to put out the fire! (Does this make some sort of sense?? 😉

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