HUNDREDS of council houses in the Wee County are without valid electrical safety checks as a result of a Covid backlog.

Clackmannanshire Council is obligated to ensure its properties are recertified every five years, but has been unable to do so due to a "planned programme postponement" during the pandemic.

It has, however, vowed to become fully compliant by the end of the financial year.

The local authority included the lapse, along with three other areas of "material non-compliance", in a draft submission of its Annual Assurance Statement to the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR).

With the matter to be discussed and noted by elected members at this Thursday's meeting of Clackmannanshire Council, the areas of under performance were highlighted alongside measures proposed to address them.

In the draft submission, the council admits it does not "materially comply with meeting our legal obligations to ensure that every council home has had an electrical safety check undertaken within five years, and has a valid electrical safety certificate to show this".

The document added: "Postponed electrical safety checks as a result of Covid-19 have meant that 598 properties still remain to have an electrical safety check undertaken.

"A planned programme of catch-up works is progressing well, with catch-up completion expected by March 31, 2024."

The lack of electrical safety checks comes after the Advertiser revealed the council had failed to ensure all its properties had been fitted with interlinked heat and smoke alarms.

A fire badly damaged one home in Alloa, only for Clacks Council to admit the property had not been brought up to the correct safety standards.

In the aftermath, the council said it would "carry out checks in our properties to ensure all required alarms have been fitted".

Its submission to the SHR said a sample size would be inspected and only when a second fault is found will the council check all properties.

The summary read: "After a recent incident, it was noted that a council property was not compliant with the current fire regulations (i.e. interconnected fire and heat alarms).

"We have built up a programme to undertake a sample check of 30 per cent of our housing stock to ensure full compliance.

"This when added to the current rolling EICR programme will mean 50 per cent of the stock will have been sample checked, when complete.

"This programme will take up to 12 weeks, with 1500 visual checks to be carried out and completed by the end of 2023.

"If it transpires that the sample discovers any more homes affected, we will immediately move to a full check of all housing stock.

"The SHR have been notified and are content with our proposed approach, as well as the watch commander of Alloa Fire Station."

The draft Annual Assurance Statement includes three additional areas of non-compliance with housing requirements.

Clacks Council has admitted a "breach" of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) Order (Scotland) due to the use of temporary accommodation outwith the council area for more than seven days.

However, the local authority insists it is making efforts to ensure all possible council-owned properties are available, while monitoring the housing market to buy more homes where possible.

Other areas of non-compliance include the lack of a recognised anti-social behaviour policy in place, and no provision for tenants to participate in the scrutiny of performance information.

On both counts, the council has proposed the introduction of new strategies, alongside targeted recruitment.