All social housing should feel like a home, a place for people to feel comfortable and safe, where they can live well and thrive.

The poor quality of some social housing has been in the spotlight recently. This Better Social Housing Review, run by an independent panel, is investigating this issue and wants to hear about your experiences, good and bad.

What is the Better Social Housing Review?

The aim of this review is to gather insights and testimonies on how to change social housing for the better. They are reaching out to people with direct experience of social housing, as well as organisations with a role in providing and managing it. The panel will report their findings and recommendations for change to the government and those who build and manage social housing before the end of the year.


JUNE 22 – The Better Social Housing Review is set up – consisting of an expert panel and chair
AUG – OCT 22 – Panel gathers views and insights on social housing from people and organisations across England
NOV – DEC 22 – Panel reports on its findings and recommendations for change

Independent Panel Members

Helen Baker, chair

Helen has held many board level leadership roles in the civil society and public sectors across a career spanning social care, housing, health and education. She has chaired organisations ranging from national housing associations to NHS trusts and social care providers, a multi-academy trust and both local and national charities.

Helen is currently the chair of Shelter and vice chair of The What Works Centre for Wellbeing and is also a deputy lieutenant for Oxfordshire.

Jennifer Braithwate, panel member

Jennifer has been a councillor for Lambeth Council for 12 years and is a landlord and tenant lawyer by profession, specialising in leasehold enfranchisement. She was deputy leader of Lambeth Council, having held cabinet portfolios in Housing, Environment and Children Services.

Leading Lambeth’s housing services, she has direct knowledge of the inner workings of a large housing provider and has seen, first-hand, how good and poor quality housing services impact people’s lives.

She has a particular interest in helping tenants and landlords to understand their rights and obligations.

Sumita Singha OBE, panel member

Sumita is a chartered architect, author and teacher with a passion for the environment, equity and ethics. She came to the UK 30 years ago on a scholarship to the University of Cambridge to study sustainable design, having studied architecture in India. She runs her own sustainability-focussed practice, Ecologic Architects, and is on the board of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Sumita comes from a humble background and has direct experience of the issues faced by people living in social housing. She is interested in the provision of safe, durable and sustainable housing for all. Sumita received an OBE for services to architecture in 2021.

Neal Wylde, panel member

Neal has lived in rented accommodation for over 30 years, in both private and social housing. He has sat on several social housing panels and volunteered as an engaged tenant for 11 years. Neal has been involved in all aspects of engagement, from analysing and improving the operational workings of organisations and contract procurement, to communications systems, policy oversight, and staff employment.

In addition to Neal’s voluntary positions, Neal has worked in managerial positions in retail, wholesale, the motor industry, and transport logistics.

As a wheelchair user, Neal is passionate about ensuring the voices and experiences of tenants with disabilities and the more vulnerable within society are heard and respected.

Tom Markham, panel member

Tom is a commissioning officer working in Children’s Services for Manchester City Council, commissioning and leading on the procurement of accommodation and support services for care experienced children and young people, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

In 2022 he was awarded the Council’s ‘Rising Star’ award in recognition of his commissioning work, which focused on expanding partnerships with charitable/non-profit organisations.

Tom works with the Leaving Care Service in Manchester and helped to roll out Manchester’s House Project, which developed into the Greater Manchester House Project Collaborative.

Tom is also a youth justice volunteer with Trafford Borough Council.

Visit the Better Social Housing Review website for more information