Headlines: December 19th, 2007

An experienced senior figure from Local Government has been named as the first head of the new Homes and Communities Agency, which will bring together the existing work of English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and some delivery functions from the Department of Communities and Local Government. He is Sir Bob Kerslake, who is currently Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council.

Sir Bob is expected to move to his new job in March and will be responsible initially for overseeing the development and implementation of the agency, becoming its first Chief Executive from April 1st 2009, when it becomes operational. The Agency has been established to deliver Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s promise of three million new homes by 2020.

Sir Bob , who has also served as Treasurer and then Chief Executive of the London Borough of Hounslow and as Assistant Director of the Inner London Education Authority, said, he was delighted to be taking on a uniquely challenging and demanding post. “It is vitally important that everyone has access to a decent home at a price they can afford, in a place where they want to live and work, and I am looking forward to leading the Homes and Communities Agency to make this a reality,” he added.

The Housing and Planning Minister, Yvette Cooper, said the HCA was vital to delivering the new homes the country needed and Sir Bob had the skills, experience and leadership the agency needed. “His knowledge of local government will be particularly valuable in his new role,” she said.

Paying tribute to Sir Bob’s Decade of leadership in Sheffield , the leader of the city council, Jan Wilson, said it was no surprise that he would be playing a key role on the national stage. “I have worked closely with Bob for seven of the ten years he’s been in Sheffield, and have witnessed at first hand his skill, drive, and determination to achieve the very best for both the Council and the city,” Councillor Wilson added.