The skills shortage – training the next generation
The NHMF’s mission is to be the centre of excellence for improving property performance and its best practice website is a free resource to help social landlords be efficient, effective and economic in complying with their health and safety requirements.
However, with the challenges landlords are experiencing in recruiting skilled staff, the best practice website also has the potential to be a free training tool for new staff and to help staff to keep up to date.
The best practice website could be used during staff induction and training. For example, new technical staff could be asked to research the website’s compliance section. It is structured with a set of topical guides summarising landlords’ legal responsibilities for meeting statutory health and safety requirements. Each guide explains what is legally required and provides links to approved guidance and good practice examples so that landlords can review their compliance regimes from first principles. New staff could be tasked with preparing papers on the legal requirements for selected topics, such as gas or fire or electrical safety. These papers could also be used for new staff to review a landlord’s current practice against the legal requirements, approved guidance and good practice examples and to propose possible improvements. The website could also be used for annual CPD training to ensure staff keep up to date, and it could be used at each stage of career progression.
The website also provides criteria for commissioning and carrying out risk assessments and managing risks which is an essential requirement of all health and safety practice. This would provide all new technical staff with the understanding they need for their work. Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower and the recommendations from the Hackitt Review, this aspect of asset management and maintenance has become increasingly important and is likely to remain so with increasing scrutiny by the Regulator of Social Housing. It will no longer be sufficient for social landlords to have ‘ticked’ all the boxes because they will need to demonstrate that they have assessed the risks for their residents and that they are actively managing and reducing those risks. Risk assessments are only the start because they identify what the risks are. An action plan then needs to be developed on how those risks will be managed and reduced and then implemented.
The best practice website has been kept up to date with Q&A briefings when regulations have changed, such as the ban on combustible materials following the Grenfell fire. Best practice case studies are regularly published to help the sector learn from what works well and to avoid what does not work. For example, a fire safety case study explains how one social landlord improved fire safety for its vulnerable and older residents while reducing operating costs.
The website is designed to be a starting point for any landlord wanting to review its own compliance priorities and procedures. It enables landlords to set and agree compliance priorities with their boards and senior management. Something that is becoming increasingly important as government implements the recommendations from the Hackitt Review and the Regulator for Social Housing increases its scrutiny of tenant safety and the quality of their homes.
What our users think
It has a good summary, easy to find tabs and goes into details on the subject of those tabs. I agree it would be a good tool for learning as it gives the information in a clear and easy manner which makes it easy to understand even if you are not 100% clued up on the subject.Adam Charnock, Asset Officer, Magna HA
This looks brilliant….what I have read is clear, informative, succinct with links to extended information, tailored to our needs. It is going to be a great help to me in understanding our priorities and motivations. It’s a lot to take in and quite a learning curve at the moment but the clarity of what I’ve read so far is excellent and will be really beneficial. The format or layout is easy to navigate. It contains a lot of the information I had been looking for but in one location, which is excellent.Bob Roberts, Trainee Asset Surveyor