Homes and Communities Agency

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Logo of the Homes and Communities Agency

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the non-departmental public body that funds new affordable housing in England. It was established by the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 as one of the successor bodies to the Housing Corporation, and became operational on 1 December 2008.[1]

Background[edit]

On 17 January 2007, Ruth Kelly announced proposals to bring together the investment functions of the Housing Corporation, English Partnerships and parts of the Department for Communities and Local Government to form a new unified housing and regeneration agency. It would also incorporate the functions of the Academy for Sustainable Communities and the government's advisory team for large applications.

In the following months, Professor Martin Cave, Director of the Centre for Management under Regulation at University of Warwick, led the most comprehensive review of English housing regulation for 30 years. Reporting in June, the Cave Review recommended that a new regulator be set up, separating the regulation and investment responsibilities of the Housing Corporation.[2]

On 15 October 2007, Yvette Cooper announced that the Government accepted the recommendation of the Cave Review to transfer the Corporation's regulatory powers to an independent body, subsequently named as the Tenant Services Authority (TSA).[3] The new investment body was initially announced as "Communities England", and later renamed as the Homes and Communities Agency.

Management[edit]

The Chief Executive for the new body was announced as Sir Bob Kerslake in December 2007. Kerslake had led the regeneration of Sheffield as chief executive of the City Council since 1997.[4]

On 17 October 2008 the Housing Minister Iain Wright announced the Board members of the HCA including Robert Napier (chair), Kate Barker, Candy Atherton, and Shaukat Moledina (previously Vice-Chair of the Housing Corporation).[5]

Kerslake was appointed as a Permanent Secretary at the agency's parent Department for Communities and Local Government in September 2010. The HCA announced that it would appoint an interim Chief Executive from existing staff.[6]

New initiatives[edit]

The HCA's Kickstart programme provided grants to developers in order to rescue stalled projects during the recession, helping to maintain employment and output of new homes.[7] One of the most groundbreaking Kickstart projects was a £45.6 million investment in Berkeley Homes to provide 555 new homes for rent on the open market, located in London, the south east and south west.[8] However, after a campaign for disclosure by Building Design magazine, the agency revealed that many Kickstart projects failed to meet CABE's standards of good design.[9]

Future of the agency[edit]

Housing minister Grant Shapps announced early on that the TSA would be abolished as part of the cull of quangos by the coalition government after the 2010 general election. In June 2010, he said that the HCA would be retained but become "smaller, more strategic - with the HCA's functions being delivered under local leadership."[10]

In September 2010, the HCA was also included on a list of organisations being considered for closure.[11] However, Shapps announced in October that the TSA would be merged into the HCA.[12] In November, he confirmed that the HCA would be retained, but reformed to cut running costs.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Inside Housing: New agencies will face 'huge challenges'
  2. ^ Every Tenant Matters: A Review of Social housing Regulation by Professor Martin Cave
  3. ^ Tenant Services Authority recruitment begins
  4. ^ Brown reveals housebuilding tsar, The Observer, 16 December 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-28
  5. ^ Tenants to get a stronger voice at national level, CLG, 17 October 2008
  6. ^ Sir Bob Kerslake appointed as permanent secretary at Communities and Local Government, HCA, 6 September 2010
  7. ^ "Shapps welcomes publication of Kickstart assessments". CLG. 26 November 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  8. ^ "HCA signs landmark private sector deal". Inside Housing. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  9. ^ Will Hurst (3 December 2010). "HCA forced to reveal details of poor housing". Building Design. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  10. ^ Speech to the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference, 24 June 2010. Transcript on CLG website.
  11. ^ Document leak shows HCA is 'under review', Inside Housing, 24 September 2010
  12. ^ "Tenant Services Authority to be abolished". Press notice. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Reform of Homes and Communities Agency unveiled". Press notice. DCLG. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 

External links[edit]