I was intrigued to see that the Building for Life score of one of the developments in round one of the Kickstart programme had flowered from 1.5 to 16.5 (26 February, page 11)

Sometimes, it seems a process of self-assessment by a project’s development team can wave a magic wand over the scores you get.

But a word of warning: our audit of affordable housing found that in-house assessments by the people seeking funding for schemes were often less than robust. It’s quite unusual for large amounts of public money to be given out on the basis of self-assessments. The Lottery distributors don’t do it, for example.

We hope that the Homes and Communities Agency will support a minimum design standard for all its schemes, but it needs to be one assessed by people with either the training or independence to do so objectively.

Richard Simmons, Cabe