e-bids help housing find its target

2 Aug 01
Housing associations are making fewer applications to build new homes, following the introduction of a new on-line bidding system.

03 August 2001

Bids totalling £2.9bn were submitted to the Housing Corporation in 2000/01 – the first year in which the corporation dealt with investment decisions solely on-line. Successful registered social landlords (RSLs) received a total of £1bn.

In previous years, the corporation has received bids worth five or six times the sums available. 'It's better targeted bidding,' said Neil Haddon, assistant chief executive for investment and regeneration, at a press conference to launch the corporation's annual review.

Norman Perry, the corporation's chief executive, said the fact that RSLs no longer needed to fill in forms meant they were 'focusing more on what they really wanted to bid for'.

He added: 'This is one of the biggest systems of e-business done by a government agency.'

Last year was also the first time funding for the approved development programme (ADP) was allocated using regional housing statements rather than relying entirely on a housing needs index.

According to Haddon, this also meant money was better targeted. When local authorities declined to apply for any money through the ADP, the funds were redirected elsewhere. 'In the past, we would have said "you are entitled to that money",' explained Haddon. 'Now we can respond to different pressures in different parts of the country.'

According to the review, published on July 30, 83% of the ADP was spent on regeneration, well in excess of a government target of 65%. 'The housing association sector is in the frontline of neighbourhood renewal,' said Perry in his chief executive's report.

A total of 22,354 new homes were built by RSLs in 2000/01 – 300 above the government's target. The corporation also exceeded the target for housing in rural areas, approving 1,000 new homes instead of 800.

More than 130,000 local authority homes were transferred to RSLs last year and 41 new associations were registered with the corporation.


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