Update from West Midlands regional committee - May 2018

Update from Boris Worrall, Chair, National Housing Federation West Midlands Regional Committee

15 May 2018

The sands are shifting - and quickly. This was a key theme at the May National Housing Federation West Midlands Regional Committee as we got to grips with the rapidly evolving funding landscape of devolution and new approaches to ‘deal making’ with Homes England. It can be confusing. So we spent some time creating clarity about what is going on. We hope it helps.

Homes England is looking to announce longer term deals in three waves over the coming months. This will be based around scale and additionality - in exchange for investment and other support. The money will be part of the same funds we currently bid for grant into. There’s plenty of grant money available for the year to be accessed in the normal way, through bids and continuous market engagement. A number of larger providers or consortia have bid into this – and it was great to hear from Homes England that the region had stepped up in CME at year end, and that the reputation of our sector was stronger than ever as a result of our delivery.

Devolution - under the Mayor Andy Street the Combined Authority is looking at other sources of funding to accelerate housing delivery and the West Midlands Housing Association Partnership and NHF are engaging with them on this. Watch this space, they are also keen to announce deals. 

So we can view these two initiatives as separate but linked - and broadly speaking focused on different funding sources. If you’d like more detail please contact Kate Warburton at the Federation. 

We also discussed progress on the Voluntary Right to Buy pilot, the timing of the Housing Green Paper, and how we as a sector are responding to Grenfell and creating a proactive offer to tenants. 

We also agreed that we want to improve the breadth and quality of the West Midlands Leaders Forum by holding two a year as mini conferences for the region, instead of quarterly, with more time and external speakers. The date of the next one is Thursday 19 July when we will be joined by David Orr for the last time before he leaves the Federation.

If you have views or questions on any of this you can email me.

Boris Worrall
Chair, National Housing Federation West Midlands Regional Committee