Housing

Government launches group to give social tenants voice on building safety

According to a recent article published by Inside Housing, the government has launched a new group which will see social landlords and their residents explore ways to improve tenant engagement over building safety.

Social housing tenants are to join their landlords in a new government-backed ‘best practice’ group to look at ways of improving how tenants can communicate concerns over fire and building safety issues in the future.

The government has launched the Social Sector (Building Safety) Engagement Best Practice Group that will see eight social landlords take part.

Housing associations including Clarion, Optivo, Chelmer Housing Partnership and Phoenix Community Housing will be part of the group, with Sheffield City and Stockport Homes also listed as members.

Each social landlord will be joined by one of its residents at the group’s monthly meetings to discuss and agree short-term initiatives to be piloted across the organisations to ensure residents are better informed about the safety of their buildings and have a greater say in work carried out.

The group will present its findings to the government after six months, and these findings will be used to shape future policy on tenant engagement.

It will be independently chaired by Victoria Elvidge, who is currently a board member of the government’s leasehold advisory service LEASE and was previously vice chair of Sanctuary Group.

She will be assisted by Paul Everall, chief executive of the Local Authority Building Control, and Tim Birchall, fire safety technical officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The launch of the group follows the Social Housing Green Paper last August, which committed the government to establishing a group of social landlords to look at tenant engagement.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s report on fire safety that was published last May also called for the government to test ways to engage with residents and give them a bigger say in the fire safety work carried out on their buildings.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government then confirmed it would to launch a group as part of its response to the Hackitt Review published in December last year.

Kit Malthouse, housing minister, said: “Everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home.

“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.

“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.”

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