Communities department announces plan to slash budget of housing agency

The Homes and Communities Agency is to be halved in size and lose half of its 12 directors, under plans announced today.

The annual running costs of the body will reduce from £80m to £40m over the next four years, according to a statement by the Communities Department, with the number of its offices cut from 17 to just four.

The announcement comes as the agency is working up plans to take on the responsibility of the Tenant Services Authority, but is bracing itself to lose control of housing activities in London.

The government said the announcement was part of its programme to make quangos more accountable to the public and cut their running costs, and represented the start of an ongoing process.

The restructure will see the HCA reorganise its eight regions into five, with David Edwards, currently regional director for the South east, joining former director policy Trevor Beattie in departing the agency. East Midlands director Margaret Allen will lead a team implementing the organisation’s change plan.

Richard Hill, currently director of investment and renewal, will now become director of programmes and deputy chief executive; while Richard Ennis will remain as director of finance and corporate services.

The regional directors are as follows:

Executive director, North East and Yorkshire – David Curtis

Executive director, North West – Deborah McLaughlin

Executive director, Midlands – Paul Spooner

Executive director, East and South East – Terry Fuller

Executive director, South West – Colin Molton

Housing minister Grant Shapps said: “We are committed to building more affordable homes and regenerating local communities. The HCA will play a vital role in delivering this radical agenda, but with a new working ethos of communities in charge. HCA will need to remain flexible to deal with new challenges that will continue to emerge in the coming months and years.”

Pat Ritchie, HCA Chief Executive said: “We have created a top structure with a strong local focus that will provide effective leadership and engagement with local partners while saving money. Further changes will flow from this top structure, maximising the potential of our expertise and investment to help local authorities achieve ambitions for their own areas.”

More soon…