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.

Jeremy Pocklington

Jeremy Pocklington is Director General, Housing, Planning and Building Safety, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 

Jeremy Pocklington joined MHCLG on 28 August 2018 as Director General, Housing and Building Safety.

Prior to this Jeremy was Director General, Energy and Security at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) from December 2016 until August 2018. Prior to this he was Director General of Markets and Infrastructure Group at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Before joining DECC Jeremy was Director of the Enterprise and Growth Unit at HM Treasury responsible for policies on growth, business and infrastructure and for advising on public spending for BIS, DfT, DECC and DEFRA. From 2009 to 2012 he was Director of the Economic and Domestic secretariat at the Cabinet Office. Prior to that he was the Deputy Director in HM Treasury responsible for corporate finance and public-private partnerships. He joined the Treasury in 1997 and has held a range of posts on financial regulation, tax and fiscal policy as well as working as an assistant private secretary to 2 Chief Secretaries.

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.’


Emma Clancy

Emma is Chair, Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC), Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Emma started her career at Marks and Spencer, then moved to Which? magazine where she took up her first HR role.  She then held a senior HR business partner role at Royal Bank of Scotland.  She was then appointed to the position of HR Director at NICEIC, where she moved from an HR position into the role of CEO, a position she occupied for over seven years.  During this time she led business growth and a successful culture change programme which led to the NICIEC becoming a Times Top 100 Best Companies to work for. She has extensive experience in certification and the definition and measurement of competence and is currently working for a leading manufacturer of building products transforming their European customer service operation.

Emma is currently serving her third term on BRAC (Building Regulations Advisory Committee) as interim Chair. She is an active member of the committee and is also currently Chairing the ADB working group review the approved document. She was a founder member of the Consumer Protection Alliance; she is also a trustee of a charity working to promote awareness of the symptoms of cancer to the construction sector in order to promote early diagnosis and has served on the Trustmark Board,

Emma has run a number of high profile campaigns around the importance of employee engagement and has been active in encouraging women into the construction industry believing embracing diversity is key to changing culture.

Nigel Wiles

Nigel Wiles is Director of Strategy Planning and Major Projects for L&Q Housing Trust.

He is currently leading on the Trusts Early Adopter programme working collaboratively with the MHCLG and other partners in preparation for the legislative changes that are expected. Nigel has over 30 year’s experience of working in asset management and maintenance within Social Housing organisations. He is a Chartered member of the RICS and CIOB.

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. 

Dennis Davis CBE

Dennis Davis CBE, Executive Officer, Fire Sector Federation

Dennis is currently Executive Officer Fire Sector Federation and an international independent adviser on fire and civil protection matters. His background is that of an operational firefighter who served through the ranks to Chief Fire Officer for Cheshire and then became HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland. His professional contributions have included presidency of the Institution of Fire Engineers and UK Chief Fire Officers, chairmanship of the Institution, the UK fire conference organisation and the precursor body to the Federation. Currently he is Special Adviser to the International Fire and Rescue Services Association. Within the Federation Dennis’s technical roles involve leading activities on competency, which currently is focused on fire risk assessors, fire research and statistics and international affairs.

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

Martin Taylor

Martin Taylor is Director of Regulatory Policy at LABC

Martin has worked across Building Control in varying capacities over the last 30 years.

Working at a range of District, Borough and Metropolitan local authorities together with private sector Approved Inspector experience. Martin has delivered Building Control services to a wide portfolio of clients and building types.

Diversifying into a role of wider public sector senior management Martin has group managed the full suite of local authority regulatory services at Head of Service and Assistant Director level.

Martin coordinated LABC’s responses to Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety and was a member of two of the Working Groups that informed both the interim and final report.

Martin is now part of MHCLG’s Joint Regulators Group and various supplementary working groups piloting the new regulatory tools and approaches outlined within Dame Judith’s final report as we transition towards a new regime and the creation of the Building Safety Regulator.

As a member of the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition Standard Setting Committee, Martin is a keen supporter of the leadership demonstrated by the RICS in this key area of research.

David Watson

Technical Director – Building Safety Programme, L&Q, MHCLG Early Adopters Panel

David has been the Regional Design & Technical Director with L&Q for the past five years. He is Currently on secondment to the Building Safety Team within L&Q working on fire safety matters with the Early Adopters Group within MHCLG. With 35 years’ experience in design and construction, originally working in architectural practices and with developers in Scotland, David has spent the last 20 years working in London mainly with major private developers and contractors managing design and technical matters on large scale mixed use projects.

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

Judith Schulz

Judith Schulz is an Associate Director of Arup

Judith is also a Chartered Fire Engineer with the Institute of Fire Engineers and has been a Member of BRAC Building Regulation Advisory Committee since August 2019. She leads the 20+ fire engineering and accessible environments team in London. Judith has degrees from NZ (fire engineering from Canterbury University), Germany (civil engineering from Technical University of Karlsruhe) and England (Interdisciplinary design in the built environment from Cambridge) and worked on many high profile and award-winning projects, in the UK and internationally, including for example the London 2012 Olympic Main Stadium, The Shard, as well as Heathrow Airport. She provides strategic fire safety advice to several clients with large building portfolios in the UK, building on her experience at all stages of a project cycle. She has a keen interest in digital transformation and what it means for fire safety. The motivation behind her thorough and proactive style stems from her goal that fire safety is properly considered, and respected, by all - which needs everyone involved at design, construction and operational stage of buildings to take part.

Cllr John Gray

Deputy Mayor & Cabinet Lead for Housing Services, Newham Council

John was born in North Wales and has a background in social housing management (Council & Housing Associations). John is currently on unpaid leave of absence from large UK Housing Association for political duties. He is a practitioner member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. 

John is a Labour Party Councillor in Newham, London since 2010 representing West Ham ward. He is the Deputy Executive Mayor (Statutory) and Cabinet Member for Housing services since 2018.  Member of Labour Housing Group. 

John is a Technical member IOSH, Appointed Trade Union Safety representative, Chair of UNISON Greater London Housing Associations Branch and National Executive Committee member for Housing Associations and the voluntary sector (General Seat). 

John is also a pension trustee for 3 funds and Joint Vice Chair of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum.