Forbes Solicitors' housing team builds for continued growth

Having recruited six new team members since March 2020 to take its total headcount to 48 professionals, the team is now in the process of adding another 15 hires following a raft of 11 new client wins nationwide.

Total file numbers across the housing and regeneration team are up 22 per cent versus August 2020, with new instructions being buoyed by a reputation for successfully meeting the challenges of Covid-19 to embrace new ways of working and changing compliance requirements.

Catherine Kennedy, a partner and head of the housing property team at Forbes Solicitors, explains: “Remote working and social distancing during Covid-19 created new challenges for housing associations. This has made governance and compliance more complex, and this has been against a backdrop of new Government policies focused on enhancing quality standards and satisfaction for residents.

“This climate of change has increased the emphasis on good quality data in managing uncertainty and seen increased demand from existing and new clients for wider information law services.”

Beyond growing demand for data processing and protection expertise, housing and regeneration team growth is being driven by ongoing investment in affordable homes. The team has been supporting a mix of public and private sector construction projects nationwide, advising on large-scale procurement contracts and creating delivery frameworks which are helping to meet a national housing shortage. 

Forbes’ housing and regeneration team is also increasingly working with housing associations to meet the Government’s drive towards higher levels of home ownership. This includes managing governance and compliance in line with the new shared ownership model, which was introduced under the Affordable Housing Programme 2021. 

The team is also well regarded for its innovative approach to helping local authorities and housing associations address complex criminal activity such as county lines drug dealing. It has created regional networks bringing together key parties from the private and public sectors such as police forces, community groups and third-sector organisations to proactively share information and increasingly take preventative action against crime. Forbes is taking this a step further in November, with an industry-wide webinar featuring UK and Ireland organisations focused on addressing serious organised crime. 

Catherine Kennedy concludes: “The housing sector has responded strongly to the challenges of Coronavirus and continues to move forward. There’s a concerted effort to expand housing stock, whilst enhancing the quality of homes, standard of resident services and the communities in which people live.  

“This is leading to greater demand for wider legal expertise such as employment, governance, procurement and data protection. There’s little sign of this growth trend slowing, and we’re recruiting ahead of the curve. By adding new hires in the coming months, we can continue to blend dedicated housing insight and experience together with our firm’s wider specialisms to offer a seamless service. This really resonates with housing associations faced with a multitude of different legal challenges.”