Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator

On 8 July 2020, the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update announced the UK-wide Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator (SHDF Demonstrator) to support the decarbonisation of social housing over 2020/21, and to boost green jobs as part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

This £50 million programme will support social landlords to demonstrate innovative approaches to retrofitting social housing at scale. The SHDF Demonstrator upscales the Whole House Retrofit (WHR) Innovation Competition.

The SHDF Demonstrator project is an initial investment to learn lessons and catalyse innovation in retrofitting for the £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, allocations for which will be determined at the forthcoming Spending Review.

Applications for the SHDF demonstrator will need to be from:

  • Local Authorities (LAs), including combined authorities, or
  • Consortia led by LAs for work on their retained Social Housing stock and/or Housing Association or Arm’s Length Management Organisations (ALMO) stock within their area.

This eligibility is only applicable to the SHDF demonstrator programme. The future Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (allocations for which will be announced at Spending Review in the Autumn) is intended to be open to all social housing landlords to directly access funding.

The Department of Business, Enterprise & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched the webpage for the SHDF Demonstrator which sets out indicative timelines for the administration of the scheme. BEIS will update the webpage in due course as more details become available.


BEIS confirm that the competition will be formally launched in October 2020 with a relatively short deadline for bids in November 2020 (final dates to be confirmed).

  • Competition launch – October 2020
  • Deadline for bids – November 2020
  • Grant awards – December 2020

On 30 September, BEIS opened the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme for applications to access funding towards the cost of installing energy-efficient improvements. Full details of the scheme and eligibility is here.  Improvement measures must be completed by 31 March 2021.



NHC calls for chancellor to ‘rebuild, level-up and invest in people and places’

With plans for an Autumn Budget cancelled, the future of the multi-year Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) due this Autumn is uncertain.  Nevertheless, the NHC has used its CSR Representation to call on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to work with the North’s housing sector to deliver on his aims to rebuild, level-up and invest in people and places.

Setting out how housing in the North can help the Government deliver on its aims, the representation focuses on:

  • Rebuild: securing economic recovery and contributing to levelling-up by readying the North’s social housing for net zero. The NHC calls for the Chancellor to confirm and immediately release the pledge £3.8bn social housing decarbonisation fund, bringing forward investment planned for later in the decade.
  • Level-up: rebuilding capacity in local government in the North, to drive improvements in housing supply and quality. The NHC recommends the Chancellor announce a sustained real-terms increase in local government funding and a national centre of specialist housing and planning expertise, located in the North.
  • Invest in people in places: making a visible difference by investing in new affordable homes, and infrastructure to support new homes of all tenures. The NHC calls for a further round of the Brownfield Land Fund, an end to arbitrary 80/20 restrictions on housing infrastructure funds, and expansion of the affordable homes programme towards the sector consensus on funding, ensuring the fund is open to every part of the country and offers tenure flexibility.

 Commenting, NHC Chief Executive Tracy Harrison said, “The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet been fully realised, but we know that it will not be experienced equally across every part of the country.  Housing has a track record of delivering effective economic stimulus. Investing in housing growth and quality in the North will contribute to economic recovery, provide visible evidence of levelling-up and prepare the region for net zero.”

The Treasury has not announced a firm schedule for future fiscal events.  The Chancellor has confirmed that delayed National Infrastructure Strategy will go ahead this Autumn; and we understand that there may be other spending announcements, potentially including a scaled-back one year spending round, in due course. Whenever the announcements come, NHC team will produce our usual on-the-day briefing to help members digest the key decisions and understand their implications for housing in the North.

‘No place left behind’ Commission – call for evidence

 The Create Streets Foundation has launched ‘No place left behind’, a Commission into prosperity and community placemaking. This is chaired by Toby Lloyd, the former Head of Policy at Shelter and Housing Advisor to the Prime Minister. Over the next year the Commission intends to come up with new ideas to help “level-up” England as part of the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, with a focus on approaches which allow communities to define and drive “levelling-up” for themselves.

The Commission has launched a call for evidence which closes on Monday 2nd November. The NHC will be responding, but members can also submit evidence using an online questionnaire, by leaving a 3 minute voicemail, emailing evidence, or taking part in a short telephone interview.

Karbon Homes Chief Executive, and NHC Board Member, Paul Fiddaman is one of the Commissioners. He comments:

 “We want to know about past and current projects to improve life in England’s neighbourhoods – what has worked well, what hasn’t, and what future projects and programmes need to do to succeed in getting a fairer and better deal for so-called left behind places. I do hope you’ll be able to share your experiences with us and share the Call for Evidence with others who might be interested. We’ll only get the right answers by speaking to the right people.” 

Changes to the Current Planning System – Things to look out for A Ward Hadaway Briefing for NHC Members

The Government’s white paper Planning for the Future has garnered much attention, but a second consultation, Changes to the Current Planning System, was released on the same day and proposes more immediate changes that, if approved, could be implemented before the end of the year through amendments to national planning guidance or by way of a written ministerial statement. Here, Carolyn Akerman, a solicitor working in the Property Team at Ward Hadaway, highlights some of the key issues you should be aware of.

  1. Changes to the Standard Methodology for housing need.

In order to meet the Government’s target of 300,000 homes a year, the new baseline will be the higher of 0.5% of existing housing stock or the latest projected average annual household growth over a 10 year period.

  • Using the proposed standard methodology many areas in the North will have a target less than their recent delivery. It is projected that only 50,000 new homes a year would be required under the new proposals being only 15% of the proposed national figures despite a quarter of England’s total population residing in the region. A more proportionate figure for the North would be 75,000 new homes a year.
  • The baseline can now be adjusted downwards for the first time if affordability is not an issue in that particular area which is likely to be a particular issue for the North as compared with other regions.
  • This should raise questions over whether and how these reductions in house numbers will impact on planning for growth or aspirations for growth.
  1. Small Sites Threshold

Currently sites of 9 dwellings or less are exempt under the NPPF from being required to provide affordable housing. It is proposed that this small site exception is extended= to sites delivering either up to 40 or 50 homes as a temporary measure for 18 months. The increase is not proposed for designated rural areas.

  • This could be detrimental for Registered Providers who rely on an affordable housing stream secured through such smaller sites. The consultation estimates an overall annual reduction of affordable housing delivery of 10-20% if the threshold is raised to 50.

 First Homes Delivery

First Homes are intended to be sold at a minimum of 30% discount to first time buyers whose annual income is less than £80,000 (outside of London) and ideally who have a local connection.

Further to the publication of the responses to the First Homes Consultation, the government is pressing ahead with the scheme and intends for a minimum of 25% of all affordable housing units secured through developer contributions to be First Homes to be sold at a minimum discount of 30%. Local Authorities would not be able to reduce this minimum but could increase it.

  • There is a real risk that First Homes could replace existing home ownership products, in particular shared ownership. For example, if a local policy requires 20% Shared Ownership Units (SOU) with the remainder of the affordable housing units being affordable or social rent, then the 25% priority will replace the SOU delivery.
  • Thought also needs to be given to the potential for First Homes to eliminate the provision of affordable home ownership products for those who would not qualify for First Homes for example because they are not first-time buyers.
  • Further thought should also be given in respect of 100% affordable housing sites which may currently receive grant in respect of the entire site as it is unclear whether grant funding will be available in respect of First Homes and those RPs who are not accustomed to delivering discounted sale products may need the support or participation of third parties when it comes to delivery of those units.

The consultation for Changes to the Current Planning System ends on 1 October 2020, if you would like to share your views on the document please do so by email to

Ward Hadaway will give an opening briefing and be available to answer questions at a joint meeting with the Northern Housing Consortium for members looking at the full Planning for the Future White Paper consultation (deadline 29 October 2020). For more information and to confirm your attendance please do so following the below link:

Planning White Paper – NHC & Ward Hadaway Briefing and Consultation

Wednesday 14th October, 10.00 – 11.30, online via Microsoft Teams

Book Now:





Locata’s website redesign includes new video page  

Locata has redesigned its company website and introduced a new page for videos demonstrating its housing software.

The new page currently has four HPA2 videos that show how the dashboard and help sites work. Each video is just three or four minutes long so that Locata users can easily get the information they require simply and effectively.

More HPA2 videos will be uploaded over the coming weeks and months.

The Locata Video page also has eight Housing Related Support videos that between them demonstrate the whole HRS system.

This part of the page is password protected so that only genuine Locata customers can see all the unique benefits and innovations within the HRS system.

If you would like to access this part of the video page, simply contact Locata direct and we will give you a password.

The Locata Video page is completed with a video showing the whole of the Virtual NUG that broadcast as a webinar on July 3.

The website allows fast navigation to key information about the company – including how we work and details about our products.

The News page has also been redesigned to allow even simpler access to the most up to date information about Locata and its regular innovations and launches.

The new website still contains the downloadable toolkits developed by Andy Gale that are designed for helping local authorities develop their work and approach to homelessness prevention.

We are very proud of the new website. If you have a moment, why not check it out here

The new Home Page for the Locata business website.

The video page showing how Locata’s software works

The redesigned News page

Software One Guest Blog – Three ways we can help you adapt to this uncertain new reality

2020 has challenged public sector organisations like no other. From providing local services with a remote workforce, to having to do even more with reduced manpower and tight budgets – it’s been tough.

Yet many have stepped into the challenge and transformed the way they are serving members of the public. While the first six months of the year could be described as surviving, now is the time to reset and put in place agile solutions to ensure public sector can thrive moving forward, regardless of what may come.

Below are three ways we can help you adapt to this uncertain new reality we find ourselves in:

Cloud Accelerator Workshops

SoftwareONE can help make your remote workforce more efficient, secure, protected and compliant, putting your IT team back in control, with a range of Microsoft-funded workshops. The workshops cover:

  • Secure Remote Work
  • Security
  • Compliance
  • Identity
  • Teams Calling
  • Windows Virtual Desktop

Learn more about these Cloud Accelerator workshops and see if you are eligible for funding. These are a great way of resetting and improving your remote working strategy at no cost to you. Contact your SoftwareONE account manager or to discuss these further.

Cloud for public sector webinars
SoftwareONE has teamed up with Microsoft to create a two-part webinar series on how local and regional government organisations can use cloud technologies to become more agile and what Microsoft funding is available to support you on this journey. Again, there are ways you can drive your cloud strategy forward despite budget restrictions. Click the links below to register and learn more.

7 October 2020, 10am – Part 1: Disaster Recovery & Cloud Adoption frameworks

14 October 2020, 10am – Part 2: Remote Working, Cost Optimisation and Governance

The Remote Working Reset
We recently held a customer roundtable on to the topic of the Remote Working Reset, in which we were joined by the Organisational Change Lead at City of Lincoln Council to discuss how they have enabled remote working and what their current and future priorities are. If you missed it, you can watch it on demand > Remote Working Reset.