Homes England Guest Blog

Remember that there are increasing opportunities for affordable housing through the remaining unallocated funding within the SOAHP – Shared Ownership Affordable Housing Programme. Partners are therefore encouraged to speak to Homes England Contract and Relationship Managers at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss project requirements and grant needs to be taken through continuous market engagement (CME).  It is also worth noting that the details of Social Rent and HRA headroom are still subject to ministerial sign off. Homes England will share updates with partners in the coming weeks and months.

Further to the SOAHP, Homes England has reopened bidding for the Department of Health – Care & Support Specialist Housing fund (CASSH) through continuous market engagement (CME).  Under CASSH, CME capital grants will be provided to support and accelerate the development of specialist affordable housing which meets the needs of older people and adults with disabilities or mental health problems. As this will be a continuation of the existing fund the funding requirements will remain unchanged from previous bid rounds, with a published prospectus already in place. Funding will be made available over the next three financial years to 2020/21. As with SOAHP, bidding is through IMS.  See: If you would like to know more then please speak to Homes England Contract and Relationship managers at the earliest possible opportunity.

In addition, Homes England is pleased to be soon launching the Community Housing Fund. The £163 million fund will soon be available to community-led groups across England to support delivery of new affordable homes up to 31st March 2020. Community-led housing groups will be able to bid for revenue funding to build capacity in their organisations and to assist them with the costs involved in the pre-development stage of projects. Local Authorities will also be able to bid for funds to support capacity-building activities for community-led groups in their areas and bid for capital funding for small-scale infrastructure projects, such as roundabouts or pumping stations, to unlock sites that the community can then develop for housing. A second phase of the fund is to be launched later this year by Homes England for capital funding to develop community-led affordable housing schemes.

Throughout the North, we are already supporting community led housing activity and we know that communities throughout the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber are mobilising behind this issue. We would like to work with partners to collectively support, resource and facilitate more forms of community led development. The Community Housing Fund is only just part of the picture, let us know if you would like to find out more about the support on offer for community led housing development from national and local organisations with funding for the establishment of organisations, revenue support for project development or peer to peer learning.

Across all programmes, Homes England is working to develop strategic partnerships to accelerate delivery in early years, looking to build the pipeline of schemes and sites using our flexibilities, like the land acquisition tranche, and to see a step change in affordable housing delivery through new ways of working and aligning investment and land opportunities. However, our priority is to build the programme now, taking advantage of the available funding and accelerating delivery this year and next. Talk to us about your sites so we can work together to help shape the proposal.

Whether you are a Local Authority wanting to support a new community organisation with their housing ambitions or a Housing Association working up a new scheme – Get in touch with us to talk about funding needs, tenure mix, revenue or capital support.

For more information email Victoria Keen.

Homes England’s Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme

The Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme is open for bidding – funding is available for a range of tenures. We offer increased flexibility in 18/19 and beyond – using our land, working in collaboration and encouraging new entrants into the programme. Talk to your Homes England Contract Manger or email for more details.

The sector now has certainty over rental income, increased funding to £9bn and reclassification – now we collectively need to perform!

Key messages for 18/19:

  • Recent changes mean that there is now so much potential for growth and opportunities for a range of Registered Providers (RPs) and SME Contractors;
  • The challenge is massive but we must grasp this opportunity and not fall at the first hurdle;
  • Continuous Market Engagement (CME) is still open and substantial funds are available – including the newly introduced acquisition tranche payment, which can help with cash flow (ask your Contract Manager for more details);
  • We have a new framework for increased delivery of affordable homes;
  • Look out for the launch of the £163 million Community Housing Fund – available to community-led groups (or with LAs and RPs, in support) across England to support delivery of new affordable homes up to 31st March 2020.

Guest blog: Victoria Keen

Breaking through – understanding and collaborating with the NHS

In the year that we celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, we often forget that the man credited with its creation, Nye Bevan, was not just the Minister for Health, but also for Housing. His vision for the creation of the NHS was equally matched by a vision of a country living in new vibrant neighbourhoods, rebuilt after the war.  In the ten years after the war, 2.5 million homes were built, three-quarters of which were social housing.  Nye Bevan, like many of our greatest reformers, understood the connection between good housing and good health.

70 years later we find ourselves in the grips of a crisis, in both housing and in the NHS. Sadly, there is no longer one Ministry responsible for health and housing, and the division between the two policy areas feels far too large.

For many housing providers, integrating with health has always felt like the right thing to do. We all use the NHS, and the people and families who live in our homes often experience some of the worst health inequalities. Tenants, patients, service users, residents, customers – whatever we call them – are the same people, and it makes sense to work together to provide the help they need to live life to the full.

But why is it so difficult? Why does integration feel so out of reach? And how can we make collaboration happen when our attempts to engage seem to go nowhere?

As difficult as it may seem, integrating housing and health can be done. There are many great examples of housing providers who have made it work, who have taken the time to build the right understanding that opens doors, meets the right people and makes conversations easier.

HACT and the NHC are working together to deliver a Seminar in June that will build understanding about the NHS, and share insights about how to make it work in practice. The seminar will give housing professionals everything they need to know about the healthcare sector and the providers they are seeking to engage with.

From the outside looking in, the operating environment for the NHS can seem daunting. Housing providers often struggle with knowing how best to engage, with whom and with which organisations. They often misunderstand how the healthcare market works and struggle to realise the opportunities available to them.

Like the housing sector, the NHS is diverse and made up of a complex network of independent businesses.  Like all parts of the public sector, it exists within a complex legislative, regulatory, quality and financial framework.  As complex businesses, NHS providers have a range of strategic and operational performance frameworks that, together with defined methods of practice, drive behaviours. And the strategic environment is constantly changing.

The Seminar will build the core understanding needed by housing providers to support their engagement with the NHS. It will explore the key mechanisms and market dynamics of healthcare delivery and share examples and experiences from those who have successfully developed new partnerships, such as Home Group. It will be essential for anyone looking to improve their relationship with the NHS.

Case Study

Home Group

The concept behind the ‘home from hospital scheme’ is simple, says Rachel Byrne, executive director for new models of care at Home Group, which has 55,000 homes nationally and works with more than 26,000 vulnerable people through supported housing, justice and health services.

“Not everyone has friends or family to help them settle in safely at home after a stint in hospital, and without that support a patient can’t be discharged,” she says, spelling out the dilemma faced by hospital administrators countrywide. “So that’s where we come in.”

Offering a six-week package of home support, a team of eight full-time care organisers aided by volunteers work across in-patient and accident-and-emergency wards, assessing the needs of patients whose discharge has been delayed due to an absence of a capable carer.

The Home Group team does not offer hands-on physical care, but act as patient advocates, service providers, social groups and a patient’s extended family to help build a support network that not only eases their return home but seeks to guard against re-admittance. “And the scheme is proving as efficient as it is simple”, adds Ms Byrne.

“Up to 90% of our clients are frail and elderly,” says Ms Byrne. “They are often lonely and isolated. What we do is to put the practical stuff in place – make sure the shopping is being done, that they are aware of transport services such as dial-a-ride, and in some cases liaise with online services that can deliver.”

For Ms Byrne the pilot is part of a wider, emerging relationship between health and housing services, where social landlords have a clear offer, and where the results speak for themselves.

“Social landlords are geared up for this kind of role. In many cases we would be delivering this kind of care to our own residents anyway, but here we are extending to the wider population with great results. It’s a win-win situation.”

Book onto our ‘understanding and working with the NHS’ seminar here.

Guest Blog: Homes England thank Registered Providers

The Homes England NEYTH team would like to say a huge thank you for all your hard work to achieve such a fantastic result for 17/18. From a position of being significantly under programmed in September 17, working closely with our RP partners, we ended up in a position where we could have exceeded our investment target. This was the result of our teams working closely together to shape investment proposals and using flexibilities to unlock stalled opportunities. In the NEYTH we exceeded both our starts and completions targets. This is a great result and sets us up for an even greater delivery challenge this year. Now that we have proven and demonstrated that the North can deliver, we need to continue to build on this momentum and success.

The Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme is still open for new bids through continuous market engagement – funding is available for a range of tenures until 2021. We have continued with our flexible approach for 18/19 and beyond – using our land, collaboration, working with our partners to deliver more and encouraging new entrants into the programme. We also now have the ability to make acquisition tranche payments, for which we are currently seeking a future pipeline of sites for 18/19.  The NEYTH team continue to use local delegations which means that we can speed up decision making, we ask in return that you speak to your contract managers and Homes England contacts at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss and help shape your programme needs, ambitions and new schemes.

The sector now has certainty over rental income, increased funding to £9bn and reclassification – now we must continue to perform and to increase our own ambition for the North. The challenge is massive but working together we can grasp this opportunity.

For further information, please contact Victoria Keen, Strategy and Information Manager, North East, Yorkshire and The Humber. Tel: 0191 497 7619 | Ext: 7619.

Guestblog: Ward Hadaway – Housing Sector Forecast 2018

Ward Hadaway logo

In its guest blogs, NHC Supporter Ward Hadaway offers the legal perspective and some guidance on some of the social housing sector’s most pressing issues. In this edition: a look at what’s in store for the housing sector in 2018.

On entering 2018, we reflect on the main outcomes of 2017 for the housing sector and discuss what we can expect in 2018.

Review of 2017

Looking back at 2017, a number of prominent events stood out for the housing sector:

  • The Housing White paper “Fixing our Broken Housing Market” outlined the Government’s plans to reform the housing market and boost the supply of new homes in England.
  • The General Election which gave the UK its sixth housing minister, Alok Sharma MP, since 2010 following Gavin Barwell losing his seat.
  • The supported housing U-turn in which the Government proposed a new ‘three-pronged’ funding model for sheltered, transitional and long-term supported housing from April 2020.
  • The catastrophic event of the Grenfell Tower fire drawing into focus product specification, health and safety and building regulation, management of social housing and the inadequacies of the local authorities in rehousing the victims of the fire.
  • The Autumn budget providing, amongst other things, an investment of £44bn into housebuilding over the next 5 years, a target of 300,000 new homes to be built a year until 2020 and a lift on borrowing caps for councils.
  • Government plans to abandon capping housing benefit for social housing tenants at the Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

What is the forecast for 2018?

The following key points are what we expect to look out for during 2018:

Government papers

The Government is continuing to work on a Social Housing Green Paper. The paper will focus on the safety and quality of social housing, the management of social homes, tenants’ rights and complaints handling procedures. In addition to this, the Green Paper is expected to consider how the sector can contribute to the Government’s economy boosting strategies.

The Government are conducting a nationwide ‘Social Tenant Engagement Questionnaire’ to obtain information on tenant’s views on social housing. The responses will feed into the policy paper and views can be submitted via the following link.


The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) is due to come into force in April of this year. The HRA will place duties on local authorities to try and help prevent homelessness by intervening at the earlier stages and some authorities will be under a duty to refer who may be homeless, or vulnerable to being homeless, to a housing authority. There is £72 million available to help authorities implement the HRA with a further £3 million being provided to bodies to update their data systems in order to monitor how the HRA is affecting homelessness in their district.

Changes to the GDPR

Changes to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come into force on 25th May 2018. The main changes regulate more stringently how organisations manage, store and handle ‘personal information’. Day-to-day work for social landlords and housing associations involves dealing with personal information. Organisations must move to compliance by 25th May 2018.

A snapshot of the property market

Over the past 12 months, house prices have risen 2.5%. Savills and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) predict a 1% rise in 2018 whereas Countrywide predict a 2% rise. A 3.1% increase is predicted next year by the Independent Office for Budget Responsibility based on first time buyers benefiting from the changes to SDLT whilst a 1.6% decrease has been forecast by Morgan Stanley. The supply of new build homes to rent has increased and as a result, JLL predict no more than 2% increase in rents for 2018.

With the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations and as always the possibility of unforeseen events (such as Grenfell) that tend to shape the landscape, it is always difficult to predict with any certainty what will happen this year. As ever, horizon scanning, preparation, and risk management will be crucial to deal with whatever 2018 presents.

If you have any questions on the above and how it will affect social housing providers, or any other questions as a social housing provider, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of our expert Social Housing Team.

Joint seminar with the Northern Housing Consortium

We are hosting a seminar with the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) covering Safeguarding in the Housing Sector on Wednesday, 28th March 2018 in Leeds. For further information and to book your place, please follow the link. Ward Hadaway frequently holds seminars with the NHC on a wide variety of issues concerning the housing sector. It is always worth keeping an eye on the NHC’s events listings or signing up to its weekly events update.

Our expertise

We work with Registered Providers across the country day-in, day-out so we know what kind of issues you face and the pressures under which you work. Our Social Housing Team brings together substantial experience and expertise to provide a full service tailored to meet your needs.

For further information, please contact Howard Walker, PR Manager at Ward Hadaway, on 0191 204 4446 or

Guestblog: IamYiam – If your body is a temple, how can you worship it every day? 


IamYiam is a health platform that creates personalised health and fitness activities and nutrition plans based on science, genetics and history. The company has written the following piece as an introduction to NHC members.

If your body is a temple, how can you worship it every day? 

It’s a good question, and one that probably enters our thoughts at various moments throughout our lives, especially at times when we are feeling run down or have an illness that interferes, or worse, inhibits our normal everyday lifestyle.

How we see our bodies is an interesting topic. Most of us desire to look good, some like to feel good too and others see our bodies as something to be respected; worshipped almost. Ultimately it is a matter of choice. Then there are those who see themselves from a different perspective. Those that seem to expect our bodies to be this robust, throw-anything-at-it machine, that will continue forever at peak performance, regardless of what nourishment we give it or what maintenance we provide. Our temples absorb this wear and tear and abuse, until they start to show signs of breakage. Only then we cry out for help.

This appreciation of our bodies, or more accurately general lack of appreciation, highlights a huge challenge in the way we think about our own health and the lifestyles we lead.

There is no doubt that currently we live in society that has a challenged curative healthcare system that costs us globally $8 trillion, with preventable diseases now making up for 75% ($6.1 trillion) of the global healthcare costs. This see’s the UK healthcare and wellbeing market with costs as high as £180bn with the UK’s NHS already overstretched.

One translation of these statistics could reflect that, as individuals, our approach to health seems to be that we choose to either hope for the best or ‘put it off till later’. We more or less act as if we are happy to treat our bodies to a life of disregard, and in turn ignore the inevitable health problems that will contribute to the trillions of pounds required to fix our bodies in the future.

Let’s imagine this challenge in another way. You are gearing up to set off on a lifelong voyage, similar to one’s lifelong health journey you might say.

First, you choose your destination, and then look to your mode of transport, your vehicle, your body in health terms. Interestingly, not all of us can have the body of a strong powerful 4×4, with some of us born to be more of a fast, streamlined sports car.

Next, as an intelligent individual that cares for our other passengers, likely you would prepare your chosen mode of transport for this adventure, safely checking it had enough fuel, understanding the correct tyre-pressure, glad you had recently undertaken the engine and brake service, all now maintained with refreshed engine oil, and maybe even a shiny body polish. Full of pride and confidence you press the start button, and purr into life.

Now imagine how enjoyable this journey would be as you smoothly travel to your destination, your body performing perfectly; capable of handling the twists and turns of the road ahead. And maybe one day becoming a timeless classic.

The alternative…jump into your car, your fingers crossed while you try to remember the last time you ever had your car serviced, wondering if the tyres have enough air or even tread for the road ahead. Your engine struggles into life, spluttering and coughing, as you limp off down the track, not looking forward to the journey and unsure as to whether you and you passengers will ever make it safely to your destination.

It seems therefore, that as we decide on our health journey we do have a choice, and that the challenge of caring for our bodies is not just a matter of simply sticking our heads in the sand. What else could be the cause for such alarming industry numbers?

The good news is that recent data shows us that personalised preventative health is the growth industry of the next decade, with consumers looking for factual guidance and better support in helping them to stay fit, healthy and happy in the long term. The choice of direction we take is changing from that of waiting to be fixed when things go wrong, to choosing a lifestyle that adds to the quality of one’s health and helps prevent the illness and poor performance of the past.

This choice however means consumers need trusted information on health and wellbeing and finding this information can be difficult, with the core questions of what will work for me and where do I start often forming the initial challenge.

It seems this new attitude to healthier bodies could help in the business world in other ways too.

In the UK, research shows that employees who suffer poor health, or have a lack of focus on wellbeing or display low social engagement have a direct impact on business, not just in lost productivity, but in generating a £29 billion annual bill for sickness absence. Yet despite the clear cost of getting it wrong, less than one in ten UK businesses adopt an approach to wellbeing that is linked to their business objectives. Most businesses know it pays to invest in the wellbeing of their people, but don’t know where to start.

This seems to reflect a more operational challenge, which is to provide employers immediate access to proven programs, providing meaningful performance focused results for their staff. Workplaces are ultimately where people, for better or worse, spend much of the working day, and combined with the need from business for better tracking and evaluation, the improvement in employees’ wellbeing to drive business performance is a clear route to growth.

Moving forward, we live in a world of information, connection and innovation, yet with too much choice and confusion. With so many heath conditions preventable and lifestyle-related, we anticipate consumers more engaged than ever in their healthcare, fitness and wellness future.

Whether it’s about helping employers in supporting employees manage their everyday health, through bespoke nutrition and fitness plans, or ensuring individuals are able to take control of their own health goals and receive clear advice. Or being able to track your progress through smart online assistants, whatever the solution, fortunately there are companies such as iamYiam that see this challenge and are there to help guide you on the path to wellness and improvement, with performance based results.

Deciding on your health journey, your destination and how you get there, is still a matter of choice, reflecting how you see yourself today and more importantly, tomorrow. Perhaps the real question should be “is your temple seen as a relic from the past, or to be enjoyed into the future as a timeless classic”?

The choice is yours.

For further information, please contact Alan Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer, iamYiam

Guestblog: Ward Hadaway – Disrepair

Ward Hadaway logo

In its guest blogs, NHC Supporter Ward Hadaway offers the legal perspective and some guidance on some of the social housing sector’s most pressing issues. In this edition: disrepair.

Asset management is a fundamental issue for Registered Providers – the quality and quantity of their housing stock have a direct impact upon their finances and reputation. Many providers have reliable and robust procedures in place to ensure that their properties are maintained (and improved where appropriate) on both a reactive and proactive basis.

However, ever-decreasing budgets and increasing financial constraints, coupled with large portfolios, means that sometimes maintenance matters do ‘slip through the net’ and are not dealt with as quickly or efficiently as they might otherwise be.

Disrepair claims in these circumstances are nothing new. However, up until around 2011 these were largely dealt with under Legal Aid or in the context of counterclaims (for example, where a tenant had been taken to Court because of significant rent arrears). Now that the scope for Legal Aid has been whittled down, disrepair claims are commonly funded by Conditional Fee (“No Win No Fee”) Agreements. The significance of this is disrepair claims can be harder to resolve by way of practical solutions where the tenant’s solicitor has a vested interest in the claim – particularly the payment of their costs by the landlord.

Even in fairly severe cases (which are relatively few and far between) it is uncommon for compensation in disrepair cases to exceed £10,000. However, legal costs (on both sides) can quickly exceed this amount – often, the parties’ legal costs significantly outweigh any compensation the tenant might claim. In 2016, a disrepair claim settled at trial for just £2,000 – however the landlord was ordered to pay £25,000 on account of the tenant’s legal costs, pending an assessment of those costs by the Court (and the tenant’s solicitors made a further (albeit unsuccessful) application for a further payment on account of their costs of £80,000).

As always, prevention in these circumstances is better than the cure. Time and money that is invested in ensuring you have reliable systems in place to log and raise repairs and keeping detailed notes as to the progress made and completion of those works will be well spent if it means that disrepair claims can be fended off quickly and at an early stage. One of the key factors for a successful system is to make sure frontline staff receive adequate training around disrepair. They should be taught the importance of logging and raising repairs (and providing adequate detail), the process that must be followed upon receipt of a disrepair claim, the time limits that apply and the potentially costly consequences that might follow if this is not done.

For those matters that might slip through the net, the same systems can be used to identify problem cases at an early stage and allow landlords to take a commercial view as to the merits of early settlement, balancing the potential costs of litigation and compensation against any reputational risks.

These issues can appear confusing or daunting. However, the process can be simplified through an understanding of how disrepair claims arise in the first place and the structure of a claim. Ward Hadaway and the NHC will hold its first Disrepair conference on 21st November 2017 at The Studio, Leeds where we will present a number of workshops discussing both the practical and legal aspects of disrepair claims in order to give you the tools and confidence to prevent, and deal with those claims.

For further information, please contact Howard Walker, PR Manager at Ward Hadaway, on 0191 204 4446 or