Department for Communities and Local Government
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How can councils build more homes?

An independent review that is considering the role of councils in housebuilding has made its first call for evidence.

Natalie Elphicke and Keith House, who are leading the review, asked for ideas and case studies about councils and housing supply. The review is investigating whether councils are building enough homes, and how they could play a bigger part in providing new homes for local communities.

Since 2010 there has been significant change in the powers of councils to build homes and in council finance. There have been examples of direct new homes building by councils, and the creation of partnerships to build homes through working with others.

The review will examine how councils are using their current powers and flexibilities to deliver new housing, and how they could team up with housing associations, house builders, residents and businesses to do more.

Mrs Elphicke and Mr House said they wanted ideas, evidence and case studies from a wide audience so they could consider new approaches to increase housebuilding, identify barriers and challenge ‘myths’ that may stand in the way of housing developments.

Keith House said:

Councils have a crucial role to play at the heart of housing delivery. This review aims to help increase housing supply across all tenures by examining all aspects of councils’ role in housing finance, development and partnership working. We want to learn from the best and encourage councils and the sector as a whole to find new ways to deliver more homes in our communities.

Natalie Elphicke said:

Where there’s a good idea, a good way to deliver more and to work together, we want to hear it! Whether council led, council supported, resident or business led, do get in touch and tell us how you are delivering homes for your area. Our review will be showcasing people who have made a real difference on the ground to supporting homes for their communities, who are proud of what they have achieved and have good experiences to share.

Anyone can submit evidence and ideas, whether:

  • answers to questions posed on the online survey

  • case studies to demonstrate how councils are shaping, leading, or enabling housing development, and how innovative finance models or partnering arrangements have facilitated developments

  • sending in written policy paper ideas and suggestions

This open call for evidence will run for just over 8 weeks until 23 May 2014.

The photo has been licensed under Creative Commons copyright courtesyostevekeiretsu

Further information

  1. On 30 January 2014, government announced that Natalie Elphicke and Keith House would lead an independent review into the role that local authorities could play in boosting housing supply. Read the terms of reference for the review.
  2. The review will examine how councils are using their new freedoms under Housing Revenue Account self-financing to increase housebuilding, and will examine what more could be done by local authorities to support housing supply across all tenures.
  3. This is an open call for evidence. The reviewers want to gather ideas, evidence and case studies from a wide audience about how local authorities can support housing supply.
  4. The reviewers will report, jointly to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, by the end of 2014.
  5. Natalie Elphicke is chair of Million Homes, Million Lives. It works with councils and housing associations for more better-quality affordable housing that is built in the right places. She is also non-executive director of Principality Building Society. She is a qualified barrister and solicitor, and previously a city law firm partner specialising in housing finance.
  6. Keith House is a Board Member of the Homes and Communities Agency, and Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council. While at Eastleigh Council he oversaw an innovative approach to housing which saw the council establish a company to enable the delivery of housing across a range of tenures. Keith is also the Deputy Chair of the Local Government Association Environment and Housing Board.
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