30 March 2019
To help the government look at ways to engage social housing residents and help them raise concerns over building safety and fire issues, a best practice group has been established.
Eight social housing providers will be represented on the new Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Social Sector (Building Safety) Engagement Best Practice Group.
Social landlords, alongside a resident from their respective housing stock, will attend the group’s monthly meetings, where they will decide on short-term schemes.
Schemes will be trialled to improve the sector’s approach to communicating with residents about their buildings’ safety and findings will be presented to the government after six months, which will be used to inform and develop future policy.
Housing minister Kit Malthouse said, “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.”
The group will be independently chaired by Victoria Elvidge, a board member of the Leasehold Advisory Service and two fire and 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, have also signed up to the group.
The group’s launch comes after Dame Judith Hackitt’s post-Grenfell Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, published in May 2018, called on the government to test ways to actively develop tenant participation.
Housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “Everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home.
“As our 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.
The new group will meet monthly for the next six months as a pilot and a decision on its future will then be taken accordingly, the MCHLG said.
The organisations involved so far are Chelmer Housing Partnership, Clarion Housing Group, Optivo, Phoenix Community Housing, Poole Housing Partnership, Sheffield City Council, Stockport Homes Group and Your Homes Newcastle.