Headlines: June 20th, 2007



Communities and local government minister Ruth Kelly has published a consultation document on meeting the future housing need. It calls for views on the roles and responsibilities of the new housing body, Communities England, and for suggestions on how it might operate. The document seeks feedback on the vision and scope of Communities England including the key ambition to make homes sustainable as well as affordable.

Communities England, which is due to be running by April 2009, will take forward the housing and regeneration strategy. It is being formed from the amalgamation of English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and the delivery work of Communities and Local Government. Its task will be to boost housing supply across the country and help revitalise some of the most deprived towns and cities.

The new body will work with local councils on a number of fronts including increasing the supply of housing, promoting mixed communities and estate transformation, increasing low cost home ownership and promoting the reuse of brownfield and surplus public sector land. It has a target to deliver one billion pounds worth of new homes, infrastructure and community facilities by 2014.

The document also invites views on the recommendations made by Professor Martin Cave in his Review of Social Housing Regulation. Recommendations include a new power for the independent regulator to require social housing providers, as a condition of registration, to engage constructively and co-operate with local authorities.

The review also proposes that accountability of social housing providers should be promoted by requiring them to supply data to local authorities and tenants on tenant satisfaction and other performance indicators. The regulator would be under an obligation to investigate and respond to documented local authority complaints about social housing providers.

The Transition Team will stage a series of thirty national stakeholder events, beginning next week, to get feedback on the future shape of Communities England.