Training for the Role
Q: We have just upgraded the fire alarm systems to four separate blocks on our site including heat detectors within each flat. (37 in total). As part of the refurbishment we decided to upgrade our Fire Risk Assessment documentation by appointing an independent fire safety person and I’ve just received the first draft.
I have been aware of the responsible person role required for some time and I have, as Secretary, inherited this role by default! The new document indicates the importance of this role and I would be prepared to do some training. My question is, do you know of any organisation that can provide a certificated training package, perhaps online, so I can feel a little more confident that I know what I’m supposed to do within this role!
In addition, I have been Secretary for 30 years and am reasonably confident as regards the duties involved but I do wish to retire from the role within the next 12 months. I may have a replacement, but he would require training Again is there any training organisation that can provide Company Secretary training for a flat management company?
FPRA Hon Consultant Emily Orner replies:
1) As the responsible person for the property, you have an obligation to ensure that you have put in place the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the residents of the property. You have done this by having a competent person conduct a fire risk assessment and it is then for you to ensure that the recommendations of the fire risk assessment are followed and general checks are made to ensure the continued compliance.
2) The role as a responsible person can be a daunting one but employing the assistance of competent contractors is of great benefit.
3) There are certificated training packages available but these can be very expensive and may not be totally relevant to a block of flats, they tend to concentrate on commercial blocks of offices and shopping centres.
4) The Leasehold Advisory has a section on fire safety and this is targeted at leaseholders and which contains a lot of sensible information in relation to reasonable steps to take in respect of fire safety – https://www.lease-advice.org/fire-safety/
5) If you do wish to undertake a course there is a recommended course run online by FIREFM – https://www.firefm.com – which you may find helpful. It is relatively cheap but provides a good overview and would be certificated to show that you have endeavoured to take additional steps to comply with your obligations. Attached are some details of the fire safety courses offered.
6) The role of a Company Secretary for a Residential Management Company, such as yourselves, is a fairly unique role. There are many courses which will give advice on the role of a Company Secretary, but these generally fail to deal with the specific difficulties of the shareholders of the company usually also being the owners of properties which the company is managing.
7) The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) www.arma.org.uk has recently expanded their offering to now allow Resident Management Companies to join as Affiliates. As an affiliate of ARMA you would gain access to their RMC Portal which is full of webinars and articles about the role of a Resident Management Company and the operation of such a company. Not only would this provide you with further clarification about your Company Secretary role, but it would also assist with the day to day running of your limited company. There is a charge to join as an Affiliate and you would be able to gain further information by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
[Submitted July 2018]