Bob Kerslake looks to senior government, EP and Housing Corporation to staff new agency

The chief executive of the government’s proposed new housing and regeneration agency has started recruiting a “set-up” team to get the organisation running as quickly as possible, once he starts his job.

It is understood that Sir Bob Kerslake, currently chief executive of Sheffield council, has asked Ros Dunn, a senior communities department official, to be one of his key lieutenants in forming the new Homes and Communities Agency. Sources claim communities department staff have been told of her secondment to the agency and she has already started working on the new role.

Dunn, formerly director of strategy for the Thames Gateway before the appointment of Judith Armitt as chief executive, has been recruited to work up policy for the new agency, which will merge the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships’ roles.

A senior communities department source said Kerslake had also recruited senior, as yet unnamed, figures from the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships to join the team. The source said: “He needs senior people from each of the current places to come together.”

Kerslake was appointed chief executive at the agency just before Christmas but is not expected to start the job until March.

The organisation is designed to help meet the government’s ambition to build three million new homes by 2020, and continue the regeneration of English cities. The intention is to have it up and running by April 2009. MPs have authorised the spending of £930,000 on staff and operational costs in advance of the inception of the new body.

The Housing Corporation and EP declined to comment.