Public and Private, Collaborating to Deliver More Homes Picture 1

HTA Roundtable discussion at Artisan CIH Manchester, 28th June 2017

To coincide with this year’s CIH conference HTA Design LLP hosted a lunchtime round table to discuss the need for greater public and private sector collaboration in the nation’s bid to deliver more homes.  

Janice Morphet reported on progress on her research project due to be published in December which catalogues the various approaches of over 300 local authorities across England are adopting to deliver new homes. Janice shared a few of her key findings so far and why councils are choosing to go down this route. Reasons include: to control quality, bring forward difficult sites, deal with homelessness, generate income streams, and also to deliver Placemaking.

Tom Bloxham highlighted the changes Manchester had undergone and how a shared public-private vision was critical to why the city had overcome numerous challenges over the years. Preparing the city’s 1980’s Olympic bid in particular had been a significant catalyst for public/ private partnership. Tom illustrated through Urban Splash’s journey and development how innovation and reinvention approaches, together with an understanding of what ‘punters want’ had enabled Urban Splash to forge a recognisable and desirable brand even in difficult markets.  This same reasoning is behind US’s recent modular housing drive.  Tom emphasised the importance of engaging the right partners - a good example being their successful Partnership with Places for People.

Ian Piper described the new more interventionist role of the Homes England (the HCA).       Homes England intends to use its resources more effectively, and will be more activist in the land market using its resources to unlock constrained land by facilitating land assembly and development infrastructure.   Homes England hopes to drive an accelerated construction programme through a diversification of providers and to stimulate greater innovation for delivery especially offsite solutions

Stephen Teagle  highlighted Galliford Try’s vast experience of partnerships. Collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders was, in his view, critical to meeting their growth trajectory.   A flexible approach, good financial covenant, and management team depth are essential ingredients for good partnerships.  Stephen defined other necessary attributes for collaboration including:

-       Jointly incentivised returns

-       Playing to each other’s strengths

-       Challenging quality of delivery

-       Driving efficiency of supply chain

-       Establishing proper auditable governance

-       Defining Pace of delivery - what is the cost of not delivering housing need?

Other notable points emerging from the follow-on discussion included:

  • With new Developers coming in there was a need to adopt new dynamic models
  • Explore greater use Public Works Loan Board as funding route and raising LA borrowing caps to enable greater delivery.
  • Recognizing value of land and taking a longer term approach
  • Understand how to access/ unlock funding streams
  • Transparency of data/ information / financials and costing to showcase and share best practice
  • The role devolution can play – enabling authorities to be able to move faster
  • Need to change political and transactional nature of deal-making to more collaborative approach
  • Need to provide LA’s with examples of where things have worked and how
  • Do not lose quality agenda in search for affordability

Rounding off the event, Mike De’Ath, Partner at HTA, re-emphasised the exciting opportunities ahead and the need for a focus on delivery. Reflecting on the diverse speaker contributions, we are in a great place to bring together all of of experience and learning to build great homes and places in partnership.