Under the direction to ensure ‘delivery for the taxpayer’ Tony Poulter will lead a review of Homes England.
Forming part of the Public Bodies Review programme, the ‘routine’ review is part of a wider review that includes 40 non-departmental public bodies.
Department for Transport board non-exec Tony Poulter, has been asked to lead the review. He explained: “I hope to […] come to recommendations that will help the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) and Homes England to be as effective as possible in meeting their objectives.”
I am very happy to have been asked to lead this review. Homes England has huge responsibilities for delivering housing and regenerating places throughout the country
With the ast review coming back in 2016, there is a lot of speculation and anticipation ahead of the review. Changes will be expected to come from the findings over the coming years.
Internal reviews have cme since 2016, with three coming in 2020, which recommended:
- How the DLUHC and Homes England work together in partnership
- Governance structures, accountability and purpose.
The review is being conducted shortly after Homes England released a much-anticipated strategic plan, which outlined its shift towards prioritizing regeneration rather than solely focusing on housing delivery.
The primary objective of the latest review is to evaluate current powers
The primary objective of the latest review is to evaluate whether the current powers, legal structure, and operational model of Homes England are suitable for its expected functions.
Additionally, the review will investigate whether the agency’s assessment processes and programs enable it to effectively deliver social and economic value.
The review will also examine the efficiency, governance, and accountability of Homes England, as well as its collaboration with the DLUHC (Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities).
Poulter and his team will engage with various stakeholders, including government departments, consumers, businesses, representative bodies, as well as Homes England’s own board, staff, and senior management, to gather input and perspectives.
The announcement of the review coincides with the revelation that Homes England achieved 36,478 new home starts on-site and 32,990 completions between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023—significant decreases compared to the previous year.
Home start declines linked to the challenges faced by the housebuilding sector
CEO Peter Denton attributed these declines to the challenges faced by the housebuilding sector. Homes England possesses a land portfolio spanning over 9,000 hectares and has approximately £16 billion in combined capital expenditure (including loans, grants, equity, and guarantees) to utilize by 2027/28.
As the sixth largest mortgage lender in England through the Help to Buy program, Homes England exercises various statutory powers, such as compulsory purchase, to fulfill its objectives.
Rachel Maclean, the Minister for Housing and Planning, expressed the government’s commitment to constructing 300,000 homes annually, emphasizing that the review of Homes England will facilitate effective collaboration in achieving this goal.
A Homes England spokesperson clarified that the review is a routine process conducted by the cabinet office for all Arms Length Bodies, typically taking place every three years. Notably, it has been over six years since Homes England’s last review, highlighting their anticipation to cooperate with the lead reviewer and their team.