A housing boss who refused to resign over the fallout from the death of a two-year-old child killed by mould has been removed as chief exective with immediate effect.
An inquest into the death of toddler Awaab Ishak found that the boy died from chonic exposure to mould in his home.
Gareth Swarbrick had released a statement refusing to resign from Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) earlier this week saying that: “The conversation around my position has begun to overshadow the most important part of all of this, which is that a family has lost their child.”
But now the organisation has now said it was “no long tenable” for him to stay on.
A statement today (Saturday) from from the Representative Body Chair and Vice Chair, and the Board of RBH today said: “The Board has taken the decision to remove Gareth Swarbrick from his post as Chief Executive of RBH with immediate effect. We will now work to appoint an external Interim Chief Executive.
“Our original instincts were for Gareth to stay on to see the organisation through this difficult period and to make the necessary changes, but we all recognise that this is no longer tenable. The Coroner noted that RBH had made changes as a result of the tragic death of Awaab. Under new leadership RBH will continue to embed these changes and to continue to drive further improvements to our homes and to our communications with tenants.
“We are committed to sharing what we have learnt about the impact to health of damp, condensation and mould with the social housing sector, and to supporting sector wide changes. We will work with other agencies local and national and with central government in implementing the wider changes recommended to them by the Coroner.
“As an organisation we are deeply sorry for the death of Awaab and devastated that it happened in one of our homes. We must ensure this can never happen again. His death needs to be a wake-up call for everyone in housing, social care and health.
“We support the Coroner and Housing Ombudsman’s call for the government’s Decent Homes Standard to be strengthened to include damp and mould. There will be no further statement at this time.”
More to follow…