Seminar highlights sector must move from ‘compliance’ to a Customer & Building Safety Culture

A Customer & Building Safety Seminar attended by 15 housing associations has highlighted a need to improve technical competence, experience, data and processes and to go beyond statutory compliance to deliver safer homes.

Director of Housing Consulting Peter Salisbury, from Manifest who organised the event, started the afternoon by highlighting why compliance alone is no longer enough. Before moving to discussing key issues around competence, experience, data and processes that are barriers to delivering safer homes.

Thought provoking sessions followed by Neil Yeomans, Head of Customer Safety at Orbit who spoke about Orbit’s transformation from compliance to a Customer & Building Safety service, Brent O’Halloran, Director of Special Projects at The Hyde Group who talked about The Hyde Group’s fire safety journey. And Carol Carter, Chief Executive of Origin Housing who began discussions around recruiting, developing and retaining the right skills for the future.

The event was a positive and interactive session with several key themes emerging from the presentations and discussions including:

  • To change culture, the housing sector doesn’t need a Cultural change program – do the right things and the culture will follow.
  • – gaining experience in the work with support from experienced people is critical.
  • Registered Providers could benefit from greater sharing of skills – sharing skills and other technical resources could help develop the right people across the sector.
  • A holistic approach to building safety is crucial – traditional KPI tracking on its own is not enough, the safety of each building needs to be considered.
  • Getting the right data – the sector needs to get better at collecting and using relevant data about our buildings.
  • The right IT system for the job still isn’t available – lots of systems do some of what is needed but no one system seems to do it all. This makes tracking follow up actions from inspections onerous and time consuming which takes time away from staff who could be concentrating on making buildings safer.

Peter Salisbury from Manifest comments; “I am really pleased with how the event went and grateful for everyone’s participation. One of the key themes is that Registered Providers need to build on the work they have already done to move towards a culture of building safety.

Although It is clear to see that a lot of work has been done across our sector, there was agreement that it’s vital to develop skills and competence. Most providers struggle to find the right people and as a sector we can start to do a lot more to develop skills and experience to build competence.”

Feedback from the day included:

“Really good sessions and exchange of ideas. Nice to see that we are not alone in dealing with the challenges of implementing the new building safety regime. Thanks for putting it together!”

“It was a fantastic event with excellent topics. It gave me lots of food for thought and I loved the speaker’s honesty and transparency as they were great. I really enjoyed the event.”

“Fantastic seminar yesterday and a number of powerful messages. Achieving compliance is no longer enough… Finding the right blend of technical skills with resident engagement skills will be a challenge…The point about how compliance professionals are treated really resonated –

great point about treating those who work in compliance more like heroes rather than like goalkeepers!

The seminar was held at The House of St Barnabas, a not-for-profit private members club.

Manifest intend to build on the success of the seminar, with more events in the New Year. Interested to know more? Then email