20th, 21st & 22nd October 2020, Online


Sir Ken Knight

Sir Ken Knight CBE, Chair, Independent Expert Advisory Panel, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Sir Ken’s UK fire service career spanned over 40 years including the fire chief in two fire and rescue services before being appointed as London’s Fire Commissioner in 2003.

From 2007 until January 2013, Sir Ken was the Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for England, advising on fire policy matters and during major emergencies.

Sir Ken has authored a number of UK organisational reviews in addition to

reviews of the fire and rescue services in Southern Ireland, Bermuda and Gibraltar and the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq.

In 2015 he was appointed as the lead Commissioner for London Borough of Tower Hamlets a position he held for over two years.

Following the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017 Sir Ken was appointed as the Chair of the Independent Expert Advisory Panel. He continues to play a key part in delivering the changes required in the built environment..

Sir Ken is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers. Her Majesty the Queen awarded Sir Ken the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in 1991 and the CBE in 2001. Sir Ken was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the fire and rescue service.

Dame Judith Hackitt

Dame Judith Hackitt, Author, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety

Dame Judith Hackitt is the author of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety and chairs the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG), which is responsible for holding industry to account on the progress of industry culture change. Having advised Ministers on the functions and form of the recently announced Building Safety Regulator, Dame Judith has been appointed to chair a board overseeing the transition to the new regime.

Dame Judith Hackitt is Chair of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation formerly known as EEF.  She is also Chair of SEMTA the UK skills body for Engineering and Manufacturing and senior non-executive director of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, an organisation which exists to support and encourage innovation in Advanced Manufacturing.  She is also a Board member of HS2 Ltd.   An engineer by profession, Dame Judith holds a degree in chemical engineering from Imperial College, London.


Alastair Soane

Alastair Soane, Director, Structural-Safety

Director of Structural-Safety the group encompassing CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety) and SCOSS (Standing Committee on Structural Safety). Responsible for leading on developments of voluntary and mandatory reporting systems on structural safety and fire safety for MHCLG as part of the new Building Safety Bill. Previously with extensive experience on UK and International construction projects. Former member of Building Regulations Advisory Committee and chair of the advisory panel on Part A Structures. Member of the Ethics Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Advisory Group on Temporary Structures within IStructE Visiting professor of civil engineering at Liverpool University.

Victoria Elvidge

Victoria Elvidge, Chair, Social Sector(Building Safety) Engagement Best Practice Group, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Victoria Elvidge trained as a Property Lawyer and spent ten years working at City Firm Ashurst.

She was previously Vice Chair of Sanctuary Housing Association and chaired First Tier Property Tribunals for 10 years.

She has been a Board member of LEASE since 2017 and is currently chairing the Social Sector (Building Safety) Engagement Best Practice Group set up in the wake of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.

Rod McLean

Rod McLean, Head of Fire Safety Unit at the Home Office

Rod has been head of the Fire Safety Unit since September 2017. The unit was set up in direct response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. It is leading the Home Office’s response to the Grenfell Tower public inquiry and also has responsibility for fire prevention and protection policy. Rod and his unit supported the work of the Hackitt Review of building and fire safety and are taking forward the systems’ reform that Dame Judith recommended in conjunction with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Rod has been a civil servant for twenty years, after a short period as an academic historian specialising in European diplomacy in the lead up to the First World War. After a period on the fast stream in the Scottish Executive, he spent three years in Brussels on loan to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office working at the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union.  With exception of a secondment to the Ministry of Justice, he has been with the Home Office since 2004. His previous roles include Deputy Director for Judicial Pay and Pensions in the MOJ, Assistant Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration and head of police forensics and biometrics policy in the Home Office.’


Neil Yeomans

Neil is the Head of Customer Safety for Orbit Housing. 

He joined Orbit in after they became the first housing association ever to be downgraded by the regulator for fire safety reasons.  Neil has helped take Orbit from this low point through to becoming the first National housing association to become PAS 7 accredited and the first ever to win a RoSPA Gold award for customer safety.  Neil comes from a regulatory background himself, as he used to work in an Environmental Health department, specialising in Housing Standards.  He made the leap into housing 7 years ago and is passionate about helping improve customer safety standards across the sector. 

Jane Porter

Jane is the Chief Operating Officer at Optivo

Jane has worked in housing for over 30 years and has held senior executive roles in housing management, development and home ownership.

Jane is passionate about delivering excellent customer services. She has delivered sector leading performance through the use of real time data, segmentation and customer insight. She has driven continuous improvement and efficiencies through her vision and enthusiasm for technology solutions including predictive analytics, RPA, AI, IoT and bots.

She is a member of the MHCLG Social Sector (Building Safety) Engagement Best Practice Group and Stay Put Policy Review Group

Graeme Witty

National Quality Improvement Director, Wilmott Dixon

Graeme has been with the Willmott Dixon business for 14 years and heads up the Quality Improvement Team for Willmott Dixon Construction nationally. Prior to this, he has held a number of roles including Preconstruction Director and Technical Director. He is responsible for shaping and implementing WD’s approach to delivering Quality within our Teams, our Supply Chain and our Customers. With a background in Preconstruction, he understands the issues facing our industry through the current procurement methods and the fragmented nature of the information chain within typical construction contracting arrangements. Graeme has been part of the national roll-out of a specific policy regarding Fire compliance on all Willmott Dixon projects which is designed to reduce risks to both our business and to our Customers