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The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023: health and safety

Posted: 16/11/2023

This series of ‘back to the future’ articles looks at the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023, the changes made, and what social housing providers should be aware of, as well as examining whether it is entirely new law, or a re-invention of something previously seen within the social housing sector.

This is the second article in the series, which looks at the health and safety aspects of the act.

One of the requirements of the act is that registered providers must appoint a ‘health and safety’ lead who will be required to:

  • monitor the provider’s compliance with health and safety requirements;
  • assess risks of failure to comply with health and safety requirements;
  • notify the ‘responsible body’ of risks of, and actual, material failures to comply with health and safety requirements; and
  • provide advice to the responsible body as to how the provider should address risks and failures to comply with health and safety requirements. 

The ‘responsible body’ in respect of a private registered provider has a different meaning depending on the type of legal entity.

Registered providers will need to ensure the health and safety lead has ‘sufficient authority’ within the organisation and can devote enough time to perform the role effectively. The name and contact details of the health and safety lead must be published and provided to the Regulator of Social Housing. 

A registered provider who fails to appoint a health and safety lead, or whose appointed health and safety lead fails to perform their functions, can be subject to various sanctions from the regulator. The Regulator of Social Housing can:

  • serve an enforcement notice;
  • fine the provider;
  • require a provider to recruit someone to undertake certain management functions, and choose from the pool of applicants who is appointed; and
  • appoint a manager for the registered provider.

Registered providers are therefore going to need to consider carefully who would be an appropriate person to appoint as health and safety lead. The health and safety lead must however be an employee or officer of the registered provider, and the role cannot be outsourced (but there are different rules for local authorities).

This aspect of the act is all new, and much welcomed law which seeks to try and ensure that a tenant’s health and safety is paramount.

The next ‘back to the future’ article will look at tenant satisfaction under the act. Other articles in this series will consider the following aspects: Awaab’s Law; the regulator’s new powers; consumer regulation; and electrical safety.

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