Brandon Lewis has today announced a review of the Homes and Communities Agency, to see whether there is a continuing need for its existence.
The HCA currently acts as both a national housing, land and regeneration agency, in addition to being the regulator for registered social housing providers in England. It also has a history of bringing forward significant residential developments in its own right.
The review could be seen as a further step away from traditional forms of affordable housing by the conservative government. Particularly, given the proposed changes to the affordable housing regime put forward in the Housing and Planning Bill, which includes the introduction of 'starter homes'. Alternatively, it could be seen as standard procedure for a regulator which is now eight years old.
In any event, the announcement will add another layer of uncertainty to current residential development proposals. Trying to predict what the affordable housing requirements for a scheme are likely to be in the coming months is starting to become distinctly challenging.
this Review will ensure that we are well-placed to deliver the Government’s objectives and will: i) Examine the continuing need for a non-departmental public body, covering: o how each of the Agency’s functions contributes to government objectives; o whether each function and the body is still required; and o the best future delivery options. ii) Examine the capacity of the Homes and Communities Agency to deliver more efficiently and effectively. iii) Examine whether corporate governance and management arrangements are sufficiently robust and transparent and ensure that Agency is operating in line with recognised principles of good corporate governance. We will be seeking evidence from a wide range of sources, including the Agency itself, and there will be an opportunity for interested stakeholders to feed in views.