Westminster Social Policy Forum

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The future for social housing in England: expanding access, improving consumer experience and priorities for regulation

February 2020


Price: £95 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


***Full conference taking place online***
This conference is examining the future for social housing in England.


The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from MHCLG; DWP; the HSE; HMRC; BEIS; DfT; and DIT.


The agenda:


  • Key and emerging issues for social housing in England
  • The Social Housing White Paper and priorities for the future regulation of social housing
  • Improving the provision and quality of social housing - regulation, financial sustainability, tenant engagement and support and ensuring safety
  • Making best use of land in delivering social housing
  • Innovation in new social housing - design, delivery, funding and planning
  • Priorities for implementing the White Paper on Social Housing and wider government policy

The discussion at a glance:


  • implementing the Social Housing White Paper - looking at:
    • impact - on residents, and landlords and social housing providers
    • sector priorities - what actions and support will be required to put in place the measures envisaged in the White Paper
    • regulation - priorities for the the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) in fulfilling their new duties and responsibilities in setting standards and in other areas
    • regulatory coordination - how should the RSH, the HSE and the Building Safety regulator organise the information sharing and joint working being put forward in the White Paper
    • safety and security - the next steps needed on smoke and CO alarms, and on electrical and other areas of ensuring the safety of residents
    • landlord accountability - how the new requirements will affect landlords and the social housing market, and the practicalities of putting in place the support needed by residents
    • complaints - looking at best practice on communication and dispute resolution, as well as enforcement
    • quality - the role of landlords and other stakeholders beyond housing itself, in areas such as provision of green spaces and tackling anti-social behaviour
    • affordable housing - assessing the measures outlined on house building, shared ownership, design and finance for home buyers
  • sector recovery - the support that is needed for social housing providers and the tenants they serve, and for the construction industry, to get back on track in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • planning - the impact of recently-announced reform to streamline the system on building more social homes in the areas where they are needed most
  • safety and quality of social homes - with plans for a new Building Safety Regulator following the Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system consultation
  • investment - further steps for attracting finance for new projects and learning from what works well in other sectors
  • innovation and collaboration
    • new approaches - in design and other areas for delivering new homes which enhance the community, support healthy lives, protect biodiversity and meeting changes in demand
    • best practice in design, delivery and working with partners from housing associations and local authorities - and the role of MMC and off-site or modular construction

Key policy developments:


  • The charter for social housing residents - the Social Housing White Paper putting forward a set of rights and expectations on behalf of residents, including:
    • safety and security
    • landlord accountability - as well as transparency on their performance in areas such as spending, repairs, complaints and safety
    • complaints - the right for them to be addressed fairly without undue delay, as well as access to redress through an ombudsman
    • respectful treatment - backed by a consumer regulator and improved consumer standards
    • contact - through regular landlord meetings, scrutiny panels or board membership, backed by government support for the skills needed by residents to enable them to effectively engage
    • quality - in homes themselves, their maintenance, and in the neighbourhood environment
    • opportunities for home ownership where possible
  • the Planning For the Future White Paper - with an increased affordable housing threshold on smaller sites, zonal planning, new local design codes, and local authority housing delivery requirements
  • the Draft Building Safety Bill - with wide-ranging changes designed to improve building and fire safety, including the creation of a new Building Safety Regulator
  • the National Design Guide and planned National Model Design Code - aimed at producing homes that can enhance the community, promote healthy lives and support local biodiversity
  • latest Quarterly survey from the Regulator of Social Housing - finding a financially strong sector in September largely unaffected by the Coronavirus pandemic
  • 90,000 new social homes a year achievable with Government support - findings from the HCLG Select Committee as part of their Long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing inquiry
  • £3bn affordable housing guarantee scheme to be operated by Ara Venn - recently announced to provide cost-effective long-term loans to providers of affordable homes
  • launch of prospectus inviting bids for the Affordable Housing Programme - being extended to safeguard affordable homes whose construction was stalled due to the pandemic, as well as a new £12bn settlement to start next year targeting the creation of approximately 180,000 new affordable homes

Policy officials attending:


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons and officials from MHCLG; DWP; HM Revenue & Customs; BEIS; the Department for International Trade; the Department for Transport; and the Health and Safety Executive.


Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from representatives from the construction industry and their partners and advisors, developers and landlords, tenant and citizen’s groups, charities and campaigning organisations, local authorities and planning specialists, buildings safety and legal specialists, investors, the wider business community, and social and academic commentators, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***


  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles