The former chief executive of a large London housing association has joined the board of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and will assist the body with the creation of the new Building Safety Regulator.
Elaine Bailey, who was previously the boss at 50,000-home landlord Hyde Housing, has been appointed to the HSE board by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as a non-executive director for at least the next 12 months.
As part of her part-time role, she will assist the HSE as it takes on the role of the Building Safety Regulator and, in the interim, support its shadow regulatory role.
The Building Safety Regulator is a new body proposed by the government as part of its response to the Grenfell Tower fire and will be run as part of the HSE. It is a key part of the government’s Building Safety Bill, which is set to go before parliament later this year.
The regulator will have two key duties: to introduce a better safety system and impose sanctions and regulations to ensure this happens.
A draft Building Safety Bill was published by the government in July last year, and was put forward by housing secretary Robert Jenrick as the biggest change to building safety in nearly 40 years. The 334-page document included a number of proposals including more stringent requirements on the built environment sector around building safety standards, as well as tougher sanctions on those that do not comply.
The Building Safety Regulator will be run in shadow form until the Building Safety Bill passes through parliament.
The appointment was made by the DWP, following a Commissioner for Public Appointments’ approval, and she will support the HSE until it recruits a permanent member. The recruitment process will begin shortly. Ms Bailey will receive £15,100 for 30 days’ work across the year.
Ms Bailey was chief executive of Hyde for five years before announcing her retirement in 2019. She is a member of the 14-person Industry Safety Steering Group, formed by Dame Judith Hackitt in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire to drive building safety and cultural change.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms Bailey said: “I am delighted to be taking up this role. It is vitally important that people are safe in their homes, feel safe in their homes and this is what we want to achieve at the HSE.
“My thanks to Sarah Newton [chair of the HSE] and to the secretary of state for the opportunity to work towards achieving these goals.”
Thérèse Coffey, secretary of state for work and pensions, said: “Elaine’s experience of building safety, as well as her work with tenants in a housing or high-rise building environment, will be an asset to the board and its vital work in helping keep people safe.”