The government has today (30 November 2016) published a wide-ranging review of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) that will help improve its efficiency and provide greater focus to its housebuilding work.
The Tailored Review found that the HCA is well positioned to help achieve national housebuilding ambitions and play a vital role in creating a housing market that works for everyone.
The Review concluded that the agency should continue in its current form as a public body with a renewed and revitalised purpose of supporting housebuilding and increasing the supply of available land.
To help achieve this purpose it also recommended that the agency’s social housing regulation function should become a separate public body. This is an administrative change that will not affect the regulator’s powers or operations.
Housing and Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell said:
We are determined to create a housing market that works for everyone and the Homes and Communities Agency and regulator will play an important role in delivering the homes this country needs.
The agency will be vital for boosting housebuilding and speeding up the delivery of new homes so all can benefit from having somewhere safe and secure to live.
And as a new standalone body the regulator will ensure the social housing sector continues to benefit from strong, independent governance.
The Chairman of the HCA, Sir Edward Lister, said:
The Homes and Communities Agency has a strong track record of delivering the government’s housing targets but we know we need to do even more in future to ensure more people have the opportunity to own their own home.
We therefore fully welcome the recommendations of the government’s review. We are already implementing a number of changes to our operating model to help speed up delivery and promote new approaches to housebuilding.
We will set out how we intend to play a more active role in the delivery of the government’s increased housing ambitions in the coming months.
Julian Ashby, Chair of the HCA Regulation Committee, also welcomed the recommendations of the review and said:
The HCA Regulation Committee welcomes the government’s continued commitment to having a strong and independent regulator for the social housing sector. The decision to separate the regulator from the HCA will strengthen our ability to promote a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver homes that meet a range of needs.
This change is to the organisational structure and governance of the regulator only and will not impact on our regulatory approach or day to day operations.
There will be regular dialogue with stakeholders throughout the implementation process, building on the discussions held during the tailored review, through DCLG’s consultation being launched today and the consultation we are undertaking on fee charging. We will maintain our focus on delivering our statutory objectives throughout.
A consultation will be launched today on plans to use a Legislative Reform Order to establish the regulator as an independent body. Separately the regulator is consulting on introducing fees for social housing regulation. These measures will ensure the regulator maintains the powers and resources to run an independent robust regulatory system.
The Homes and Communities Agency
The HCA is the national housing, land and regeneration agency and the regulator of registered social housing providers in England. The Agency is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The Tailored Review of the HCA was carried out between February and April this year as part of a wider programme of government activity to scrutinise the effectiveness and efficiency of public bodies.
Improvements will also be made to the Agency’s partnership working, with an additional emphasis on reducing bureaucracy and ensuring staff have the right set of skills for the future.