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Wrekin Housing Group (Wrekin) is a Shropshire-based social housing provider with around 12,000 properties.

As part of a retained contract of health and safety consultancy and auditing services with Wrekin, we were instructed to undertake a gap analysis to assess Wrekin’s asset profile and organisational approach to managing Building Safety against the draft Building Safety Bill, Fire Safety Bill, and proposed changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).

Our overall objective was to provide Wrekin with a high-level, strategically focused review which would:

• Strengthen Wrekin’s understanding of key issues relating to Building Safety, particularly where organisational decisions around culture and positioning needed to be determined.

• Identify areas requiring action over the next 12-24 months in preparation for the anticipated legislation.

• Set out (in an action plan) how Wrekin could implement any improvements required.

What We Did

Bespoke terms of reference were developed to reflect Wrekin’s individual circumstances, and a briefing meeting held with the relevant managers to set out project expectations and agree the scope for the gap analysis.

We then reviewed key documents to understand how Building Safety aligned with key corporate objectives, including: corporate plan, asset management strategy, Building Safety policies, financial investment plans for high risk buildings, and Building Safety KPIs/management data. This was followed by a series of interviews to evaluate Wrekin’s approach and explore the following:

• Wrekin’s strategic understanding of Building Safety, risk management and resident engagement.

• Organisational culture in respect of Building Safety.

• Plans for asset investment, growth and new development, and how this may be impacted by the proposed legislative changes.

• Resources required to implement and adapt to the proposed changes, including staff capacity and competency.

• Actions that Wrekin had already taken or had planned to prepare for the new regime.

Our Achievements

We provided Wrekin with a summary report containing practical and proportionate recommendations to enable the organisation to be forward looking, and understand the potential obligations arising from the new building and fire safety regime.

Our report allowed Wrekin to focus on the key areas to enable them to prepare to meet their forthcoming legal obligations, which in turn will see them strengthen their overall approach to managing their buildings effectively, and most importantly, keeping residents safe.

"Pennington Choices were able to give us that specialist assurance that the work we had completed already was in line with the draft legislation, but more importantly give us a view on what we still needed to do. We would recommend all organisations have a similar review undertaken, to give you an up to date position statement, before the new legislation is implemented." - Group Head of Property, Wrekin Housing Group