Homes and Communities Agency costs to be halved in two years

23 Nov 10
The Homes and Communities Agency’s £800m running costs are to be halved over the next two years, housing minister Grant Shapps has announced

By Vivienne Russell

24 November 2010

The Homes and Communities Agency’s £800m running costs are to be halved over the next two years, housing minister Grant Shapps has announced.

Plans were unveiled yesterday to cut the number of senior managers working at the quango by half and reduce the number of office locations from 17 to 4.

Shapps said the HCA would continue to play a ‘vital role’ in providing more affordable homes but with a new ethos that placed communities in charge.

‘The plans will enable local communities to [achieve their priorities] – while also saving the taxpayer over £100m,’ he said.

HCA chief executive Pat Ritchie added: ‘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.’

Under the management shake-up announced yesterday, the agency’s eight regions will be reorganised into five new areas: Northeast and Yorkshire; Northwest; Midlands, East and Southeast; and Southwest. As has previously been announced, the HCA’s London region is to be transferred to the Greater London Authority.

The HCA will discuss its proposed new area boundaries with local authorities to get feedback on the changes.
David Edwards, currently director for the Southeast region, will leave the agency next month. Terry Fuller will take over as executive director for the new East and Southeast area. Margaret Allen, currently director for the East Midlands region, will lead a team to implement the HCA’s overall change plan.

Ritchie said: ‘We have quickly moved to reorganise our operating structure to maintain existing strong relationships with local authorities and to align with the emerging local economic partnerships. Through this reorganisation we will improve efficiency and remain well placed to support the work of local communities.’

The number of corporate directors at the agency has already been cut to two. Richard Ennis remains as director of finance and corporate services. Richard Hill, currently director of investment and renewal, is to become director of programmes and deputy chief executive.

The other area executive directors are: David Curtis (Northeast and Yorkshire); Deborah McLaughlin (Northwest); Paul Spooner (Midlands); and Colin Molton (Southwest). David Lunts will continue as executive director, London, until the transfer of the region to the Mayor of London takes place.
A consultation on changes to the agency’s structure below director level will begin in the new year.

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