Headlines: January 18th, 2007

A new agency is being set up to support the delivery of new homes and develop mixed, sustainable communities in England. The Agency to be known as ‘Communities England’ will be formed by bringing together the functions of English Partnerships, which is the national regeneration agency, the Housing Corporation, which funds new affordable housing and regulates housing associations in England, and some elements of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Communities England will be charged with the task of promoting social mobility and economic inclusion. The Agency will have a 4 billion pounds budget and it will pioneer innovative and more efficient ways of working with key partners in the public, private and voluntary sector to get better outcomes from public investment in places. It will also streamline the supply chain.

The Agency will be headed by English Partnerships chairman Baroness Ford.

The hiving off of work from the Department for Communities and Local Government will allow the Department to focus less on ‘hands on’ management and more on strategic policy making.

Plans for the new Agency emerged from the Housing and Regeneration Review launched in April 2006 to assess the institutional structures for housing and regeneration delivery carried out by English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation. The review was asked to consider the best way of organising national delivery mechanisms to maximise the use of private investment, public subsidy and land holdings, and assets funded by past public investment, to support the delivery of new homes and mixed, sustainable communities.