Circle Housing Group

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Circle was one of the largest groups of housing associations in the UK. In 2016 it merged with Affinity Sutton and was renamed Clarion Housing Group, becoming the largest UK Housing Association and registered provider of social housing. Clarion provides affordable housing and related services in England, mainly in London, the South East, East Anglia and Birmingham.

The group was formed as Circle Anglia when Circle 33 Housing Group and Anglia Housing Group merged in 2005.[1] Circle owns and manages more than 63,500 homes, including supported and sheltered housing, for more than 200,000 people across the UK, and employs over 2,200 staff.

The Circle Housing Group has 12 partners. Nine registered providers (RPs): South Anglia Housing, Wherry Housing Association, Old Ford Housing Association, Circle 33, Merton Priory Homes, Mole Valley Housing Association, Mercian Housing Association, Roddons Housing Association and Russet Homes; as well as Circle Living for sales and marketing and management of shared ownership, market rent and private sale properties. It has two care and support partners - Circle Support and INVICTA Telecare - one of the largest Telecare providers in England.

Circle belongs to two regional clubs of large associations: the G15 in London,[2] and East Seven in East Anglia.[3]


Housing associations borrow money to pay for new homes and improvements. During the financial crisis of 2007–2008, banks were less able to provide all the credit that larger associations required, although Circle raised £1.7 billion in bank debt as the credit crunch developed.[4] In November 2008, Circle Anglia raised £275 million on a 30-year corporate bond. This is the largest bond ever issued by a housing association in its own name.[5] In November 2010, Circle was the first housing group to go to investors after the new government's comprehensive spending review, and raised £124m through a bond tap.[6]

Official criticism[edit]

The Homes and Communities Agency, which regulates social housing in England and Wales, ruled in early 2015 that Circle had breached the 'serious detriment' threshold for harm to consumers for its home repairs, due to "chronic and long standing difficulties in the delivery of the repairs service".[7] Islington Borough Council had served a number of statutory notices on Circle after they had failed to repair homes in the Borough. The problems followed after Circle reduced its pool of contractors from 180 to six, in an attempt to save £100m over ten years.[8]

In April 2015, the regulator concluded that the failures stemmed from poor management of the risks, and ultimately, governance:

this exceptionally poor provision of repairs and maintenance has been made possible or contributed to by serious and enduring failures in, or in the operation of, Circle’s strategic planning and control framework such that Circle did not adequately manage or mitigate the strategic and operational risks inherent in the delivery of that service[9]


The members of the group are:[10]

Name Established Activity Size
Circle 33 Housing Trust 1968 General needs housing 15,600 homes
Mole Valley Housing Association 2007 Housing management in Mole Valley following a stock transfer of Council housing in 2007 3,800 homes
Old Ford Housing Association 1998 Housing management in Old Ford as the successor to Tower Hamlets Housing Action Trust. Winner of the Housing Corporation's 2008 Gold Award for Building Cohesive Communities. Includes Orchard Village in Havering. 4,000 homes
Roddons Housing Association 2007 Stock transfer from Fenland District Council
Russet Homes 1991 Stock transfer from Tonbridge and Malling 6,000 homes
South Anglia Housing Merger of the former Stort Valley, Vange and Ryeland Housing Associations, which were all set up to handle stock transfers, as well as Blackwater, and Barking and Dagenham 6,400 homes
Wherry Housing Association 1990 Formed for stock transfer of 3,700 homes from Broadland. Now owns properties in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire 5,800 homes
Circle Support Special needs care and support Over 4,500 clients
Invicta Telecare Telecare and housing support Over 85,000 clients
Circle Living Originally the 'Homes' division of Circle 33, it handles shared ownership, leasehold and maintenance services


  1. ^ History page on group website
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  3. ^ Seven of the largest housing associations in the east of England have clubbed together Archived 2010-11-03 at the Wayback Machine., Inside Housing, 23 June 2008
  4. ^ Circle Anglia snares £1.7bn loan despite crunch, Telegraph Online"
  5. ^ Circle Anglia breaks bond record with £275m deal[permanent dead link], Inside Housing, 11 November 2008
  6. ^ Association taps bond market for £124m, Inside Housing, 17 November 2010
  7. ^ Regulator slams landlord for its London repairs service Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine., Inside Housing, 11 February 2015
  8. ^ Tower Hamlets mayor consults lawyers over Circle Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine., Islington Gazette 12 February 2015
  9. ^ Regulatory judgement: Circle Anglia Limited, Homes and Communities Agency 2 April 2015
  10. ^ Partnership Members on the group website

External links[edit]