Eight social landlords and their respective residents come together to test a stronger voice for communicating approaches to building safety within social housing.
The Social Sector Engagement Best Practice Group is pitched as a key measure of the government’s Social Housing Green Paper and the Building a Safer Future implementation plan.
It will be independently chaired by LEASE board member Victoria Elvidge with two fire and building safety experts − Tim Birchall, fire safety technical officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, and Paul Everall, Chief Executive of the Local Authority Building Control – also signing up to the group.
Each social landlord represented in the group will be joined by a resident from their respective housing stock to help share best practice and challenge existing approaches towards ensuring resident safety.
Group membership is made up of:
- Victoria Elvidge (Chair)
- Chelmer Housing Partnership
- Clarion Housing Group
- Phoenix Community Housing
- Poole Housing Partnership
- Sheffield City Council
- Stockport Homes Group
- Your Homes Newcastle
- Tim Birchall, fire safety technical officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
- Paul Everall, Chief Executive of the Local Authority Building Control
The group will meet monthly for the next six months as a pilot to present its findings to the government.
Those findings will then inform and develop future policy – with a decision on the future for the Group taken accordingly.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of building regulations, published in May 2018, called for the government to test ways to engage effectively with residents and give them a much stronger voice in an improvement system of building safety.
Following this, the government committed to establishing a small group of social landlords to pilot innovative ways of communicating and engaging with residents on building safety issues in the Social Housing Green Paper, published in August 2018.
The government then reaffirmed this commitment in the Building a Safer Future implementation plan, setting out that the first meeting of the Best Practice Group would take place in the new year.
“As our Social Housing Green Paper and Implementation Plan set out, we are keen to pilot new and engaging options to ensure social housing residents are better informed on issues that matter most to them – none more so than their safety,” said housing minister Kit Malthouse.
“This new group will see social landlords and their residents come together to explore new ways to trial this that will help inform wider reforms as we look to rebalance the relationship between landlord and residents,” he said.