Westminster Social Policy Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

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

TO BE PUBLISHED February 2020

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference is examining the future for social housing in England.

Key areas for discussion include:

  • Priorities for the forthcoming Government White Paper on Social Housing - which follows the Green Paper released last year, with aims to:
    • empower tenants
    • provide better redress and regulation
    • improve the quality of social housing
  • The recovery of the construction sector from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Next steps for streamlining the planning process and building more social homes in the areas where they are needed most
  • Developing innovation and design to meet the challenges of delivering new homes which enhance the community, support healthy lives, protect biodiversity and meeting changes in demand, following recent announcements from the Housing Secretary aimed at encouraging innovative approaches to home building
  • Improving the safety and quality of social homes in light of plans to introduce a new Building Safety Regulator following the response to the Building a safer future consultation

The discussion in detail:

Improving the provision and quality of homes

In the context of the Government’s forthcoming social housing White Paper which follows the Green Paper released last year delegates will discuss:

  • what more can be done to support social mobility, strengthen the regulator and tackle stigma as outlined in the Green Paper
  • next steps for improving the safety of social homes and priorities for the new building safety regulator, following the Government’s response to the building a safer future consultation
  • support that is needed for the sector and the tenants it serves as communities and businesses emerge from the COVID-19 crisis
  • latest thinking on best practice for local authorities in working with partners to innovate the way they provide social housing

Delivering new social homes which enhance the community

With a government White Paper due out later this year on streamlining the planning process, and with the construction sector coping with the impact of COVID-19 attendees will assess:

  • how best to improve the planning system to support the delivery of the right type of homes in the right location
  • what the National Design Guide and planned National Model Design Code mean for design of homes that can enhance the community, promote healthy lives and support local biodiversity
  • the support that the house building industry will need moving forward from COVID-19
  • further steps for attracting finance for new projects and learning from what works well in other sectors
  • 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

Why this is relevant: the context:

It takes place against the backdrop of a range of major policy developments affecting the planning regime, including:

  • The Housing Secretary outlining measures in the expected Planning White Paper to simplify and speed up the system, with plans for local decision-making allowing automatic permission for projects such as new homes - with a more competitive and diverse housing sector - and faster renewal project approval, as well as protection for green belt and Areas of Outstanding Local Beauty
  • The recent announcement that full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes;
  • The Housing Secretary launching the Next Steps Accommodation Programme - enabling councils to apply for funds to support new tenancies and cover the property costs for around 15,000 vulnerable people who were provided with emergency accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic
  • The Government extending its Affordable Housing Programme by one year aimed at safeguarding 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
  • The government publishing its draft Building Safety Bill - containing wide-ranging changes designed to improve building and fire safety, including the creation of a new Building Safety Regulator
  • Phase 2 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, with hearings having recently resumed
  • The Government outlining measures to support social housing residents as the lockdown eases and extending the suspension of evictions in private and social rented housing until August 23rd
  • The Regulator of Social Housing publishing the results of its new monthly survey of housing associations and local authorities about how they are coping with the coronavirus pandemic

The agenda:

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

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the MHCLG and HM Revenue & Customs.

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

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording 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

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Westminster Social Policy Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates