ARK welcomes the recent publication of the Shelter Commission Report: Building for our future: A vision for social housing

Following the tragic events at Grenfell and the long-awaited publication of the Social Housing Green Paper, dealing with the housing crisis is, despite Brexit, still on the agenda. Therefore, a commission that asks the key question “What does the future hold for Social Housing” is timely and welcomed.

When comparing the Shelter report to the Green Paper, you’ll find many similarities across the two, filtering down to the conclusion that  building more homes, listening to and empowering tenants and strengthening the Regulator would all be beneficial.

The Shelter report brings together a diverse group of independent commissioners to investigate policy and practice and in the process engaging with a further 31,000 individuals and key organisations participating. The report looks to understand the key issues within social housing and how new hope can be provided for those in great housing need.

The major outcome of the commission is a recognition of the need to deliver 3.1m more homes in the next 20 years. ARK has long campaigned for the need to deliver new homes; however new approaches will be needed to deliver homes at scale.

The MHCLG supports the need for more homes to be delivered utilising Modern Methods of Construction, and ARK strongly believes that off-site manufactured homes are the key to delivering high quality, mass produced, bespoke and defect free homes. It has the benefit of being more efficient to build, requiring less labour, generating fewer accidents and producing a more consistent quality compared to traditional construction methods. This is a construction type used extensively in Germany and other parts of Europe, so why not here in the UK?

At ARK we are supporting over 50 clients supplying experienced project managers with the know-how, experience and enthusiasm to get homes built. Through our management of the CHIC consortium we have enthusiastically supported modular homes and the CHIC / Premier Modular show home is now available to view in Kidderminster.

Another inhibitor of delivering new homes is the lack of skilled people. This is not only affecting trades but the professions as well. We are pleased to be working with a number of organisations training trades and professionals to deliver and maintain the new homes we need.

The Grenfell tragedy was a terrible way of reminding us all that the tenant voice needs to be heard and empowering tenants is a key finding of the Commission who have recommended a new independent tenants’ organisation to represent the views of social renters directly to government.

Hearing the tenant voice through governance and scrutiny arrangements at a local level is a crucial factor in service delivery and we are also providing strategic governance support to housing organisations. We have developed our FITness tests, a bespoke service that checks different aspects of regulatory compliance and the key elements of organisational success.

If you would like to find out more about ARK’s services, please contact Sarah Williams, Business Development and Marketing Manager – swilliams@arkconsultancy.co.uk.