Westminster Social Policy Forum

Social housing in England: regulation, resident empowerment and increasing supply

Morning, Tuesday, 16th July 2019

Central London


With the Government’s response to the consultation on the Social Housing Green Paper due in Spring 2019 attendees will discuss the next steps for reform in the key areas identified in the Green Paper including the potential for mandatory ‘resident engagement strategies’ and efforts to address stigma; reforms to the consumer redress system, regulation and accountability of housing associations and councils; and plans to expand pathways to home ownership via social housing.

The next steps for government policy in order to support the construction of new homes for social rent and shared ownership will be discussed, in light of the announcement of strategic partnerships between Homes England and housing associations to increase the supply of affordable homes, and the announcement of £250m of new housing deals to deliver homes on Ministry of Defence sites and a further £215m deal to accelerate the construction of new homes across Oxfordshire.

As the first housing delivery test results show that many councils have under-delivered with 22 being required to develop Housing Delivery Action Plans to increase numbers, we expect discussion on whether government proposals go far enough or whether more is needed to support housing associations, local authorities and developers to build more homes, in the context of the removal of the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap, £1bn of extra borrowing for councils to build new homes, and the Government’s consultation on reforming rules on using receipts from Right to Buy homes to build more housing.

The agenda also includes discussion on how the planning system can assist councils to deliver Government targets to increase delivery and supply, including more joined-up Government working, priorities for infrastructure and reviewing developer contributions, following recommendations in the NAO’s Planning for New Homes report.

Attendees will also consider options for the future regulatory framework for the sector - looking at the scope, role and enforcement powers of regulators, the Green Paper’s call for reforms to the complaints handling and consumer redress system for social tenants, the proposed review of the ‘Decent Homes Standard’, and what more housing associations and local authorities can do to further support and empower communities.

This discussion comes with the review of social housing regulation call for evidence launched alongside the green paper and in light of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety and the launch of the Social Sector Engagement Best Practice Group, which aims to develop best practice in improving engagement between residents and landlords on fire and building safety issues. With the sector raising concerns over the Green Paper’s proposed ‘league tables’ for social landlords, the future shape of accountability for housing associations and local authorities will be discussed.

The affordability of social rent will also be addressed following the recent announcement of Government’s post-2020 policy which allows landlords to raise rents by a rate of CPI inflation +1% each year for the next five years.

Keynote Speakers

Jim Bennett

Assistant Director, Regulatory Strategy, Regulator of Social Housing

Aileen Murphie

Director, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government & Local Government Value for Money, National Audit Office

Keynote Speakers

Helen Kelly

Lead, Social Housing Green Paper, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Aileen Murphie

Director, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government & Local Government Value for Money, National Audit Office

Paul Hackett

Chief Executive, Optivo

Jim Bennett

Assistant Director, Regulatory Strategy, Regulator of Social Housing

Chris Wood

Head of Policy, Shelter


Siobhain McDonagh MP

Vice-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Shared Ownership Housing

Lord Best

Vice-President, The Local Government Association and Vice-President, Town and Country Planning Association


Louise Robinson

Partner, Social Infrastructure, Arcadis

Councillor Leo Pollak

Cabinet Member for Social Regeneration, Great Estates and New Council Homes, Southwark Council

Councillor Linda Haysey

Leader, East Herts District Council and Local Authority Representative, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Louise Howells

Partner, Blake Morgan

Nick Reynolds

Chair, National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations

Victor da Cunha

Chief Executive, Curo

Simon Gordon

Policy Adviser, Residential Landlords Association