Work to tackle a backlog of fire safety measures will come under closer scrutiny in Camden after a housing watchdog said residents could be at risk.

Camden Council's housing scrutiny committee will get monthly updates on work including fitting hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and audits on fire risk management plans.

They will also hear about work to clear flammable items stored in communal areas.

The Regulator of Social Housing criticised Camden Council in July after finding more than 9,000 homes had no smoke alarm and around 4,000 had no carbon monoxide detector.

Investigators reported the council demonstrated a failure to act in a timely manner and called for "urgent action".

Camden Council had pleaded guilty and was fined £500,000 by Westminster magistrates court in March after Magdalena Fink died in a fire at a council home in Daleham Gardens in Hampstead in November 2017.

Fire Risk Assessments in 2013 and 2017 had highlighted concerns about combustible wooden cladding on a communal staircase and a lack of proper fire doors, but these had not been addressed when the fire broke out.

At full council meeting last night (September 18), Green councillor Sian Berry said: “The judgement is incredibly serious. There isn’t the seriousness that there should be. The words of the regulator are plain enough.” 

She said if work should be done within ten days “we know they are at risk”.

“The council needs to get a grip on this,” she added.

Liberal Democrat Tom Simon, who leads the largest opposition group on the council, said: “There needs to be more effective scrutiny.”

He said the regulator’s findings showed “the council was not on top of things”.

Town hall bosses said they have spent £68 million on fire safety since the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, with a further £228 million on removing harmful cladding from the Chalcots estate in Fellows Road, Swiss Cottage.

Work includes fitting fire resistant front doors to 10,000 homes, communal alarms in 1,200 blocks and more than 1,100 blocks including compartmentation, fire retardant paint, signage and emergency lighting in 1,100 blocks.

The council said it has tackled 40,000 fire safety jobs in its 30,000 homes.

Other steps include launching a fire safety charter and a fire safety panel, which includes residents.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Meric Apak said the council had reduced the urgent list to 85 actions and some involved working with residents to remove security grilles in front of their flat doors. These can impede firefighters in an emergency.

“We have visited all our homes to offer smoke detection,” he said.

"I know we need to go further and faster to ensure our residents they are safe and be sure their homes are safe.

“Grenfell changed everything – my priority is investment in capacity to make critical fire safety improvements.”