Merger of Housing Corporation and English Partnerships is on the cards as government launches review of its delivery bodies.

The government has announced a review of its housing and regeneration delivery bodies as part of a wider programme to deliver better sustainable communities.

The government will examine a merger of the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, as predicted in Building, as part of the review.

The Review of Housing and Regeneration has been called for by deputy prime minister John Prescott and local government and communities minister David Miliband. The closing date for responses is 19 May and decisions will be announced during the summer.

One housing and regeneration expert said this short time-frame implied that the ODPM had a set idea of which direction to head in. He said: "It's pretty short and sharp - suggesting that they are fairly advanced in their thinking."

A merger between the two organisations was widely considered three years ago, but has become more likely in recent months following moves by the Audit Commission to reform regulation of public services.

Both Housing Corporation chairman Peter Dixon and English Partnerships chairman Margaret Ford said they welcomed the review.

Miliband insisted that the review would consider a wider range of issues than just the future of the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships.

He said: "This Review is about much more than just the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships. It is about looking at how we can make more of the resources at our disposal and how we can bring innovative solutions to the challenges we face."

Questions respondents will be asked to address include

  • What scope is there for new approaches to investment to increase supply of affordable and market housing and deliver mixed communities?
  • How could any new agency develop an approach that brings in new forms of private sector investment and widens the market for housing provision?
  • How can we most effectively use private money, public land holdings and existing assets funded by past public investment to support delivery of sustainable communities?
  • How should any new agency work with local and regional partners, and central government, to promote sustainable communities?
  • What are the implications for the new agency of a more strategic local authority housing role, the unique arrangements that exist in London, and the emerging role of city regions?
  • Where should the regulation of RSLs sit within a new institutional environment?
  • How could we build on the Housing Corporation’s ongoing work with RSLs in supporting community engagement and empowerment in a new institutional environment?
  • Which functions might be devolved from ODPM in any new institutional environment?