The government has put off a decision on the English Partnerships–Housing Corporation merger until the autumn.

Ruth Kelly, the communities secretary of state, said she had decided on the delay to widen the scope of the review so it could consider whether the Department for Community and Local Government’s housing and regeneration delivery functions should be transferred. They would include overseeing the development of the Thames Gateway and other areas.

The review will look at two options: merging EP and the corporation, and leaving them as two separate but beefed-up agencies.

Mark Lupton, policy analyst at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said the change in the review’s terms of reference opened up the possibility that the two agencies could be retained with each gaining new responsibilities from the DCLG.