The role of the HCA and other community builders

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the government's agency established in 2008 to take over the functions of English Partnerships, the investment side of the Housing Corporation, some delivery functions of Communities and Local Government department and the Academy for Sustainable Communities. Additional functions for the HCA are proposed in the Localism Bill (2010). 

Lessons Learned

Plans for new communities must avoid becoming aligned too closely with a particular political agenda which may not last over the lifetime of the development. Communities will need strong commitment from the agencies involved in creating them.

See: Walker Riverside & Hammarby Sjöstad

Targets can help galvanise project partners to innovate and build to the highest specifications. When targets are not entirely met this should not automatically lead to blame or disappointment if what was achieved was still remarkable.

See: Hammarby Sjöstad

Section 106 should be used imaginatively and should be carefully tailored to the needs of the area.

See: East Thames

Being open and flexible about what role each agency involved in the creation of new places can take, especially in the case of funders, will ensure that financial plans for projects proceed without misunderstandings over which agency takes responsibility for each element of the scheme.

See: Manchester

Helping to create and maintain new successful communities will be a fundamental part of the HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency's role as it works with its partners.  HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency will work in a way which puts local authorities and communities in the lead, contributing to economic growth by helping communities to realise their aspirations for prosperity and to deliver quality housing that people can afford.

The HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency's objects are set out in the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 as:

  • to improve the supply and quality of housing in England
  • to secure the regeneration or development of land or infrastructure in England
  • to support in other ways the creation, regeneration or development of communities in England or their continued well-being, and
  • to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development and good design in England with a view to meeting the needs of people living in England.

These have been translated into an overall aim of delivering an outcome of helping to create and maintain sustainable successful communities and contribute to economic growth. The HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency will focus on the integration of sustainable economic, social and environmental aspects of communities while ensuring the financial and organisational sustainability of all programmes and projects.

The HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency will take a holistic approach to communities, supporting local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships. This overview, includes the inter-relationships between existing communities and new communities particularly where they will be in close proximity.

Many of the HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency's interventions will reflect the complex needs of different places, for instance the new communities in the East region where there are shortages of homes, affordability issues for many people, and potential water supply and flood matters to be taken into account.

The HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency's core business is to support local partners to achieve their objectives for housing and regeneration by:

  • investing in new housing and the development and regeneration of communities
  • providing expertise and technical support; and
  • utilising our own and other public sector land assets.

and HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency will work with and through other bodies, including other public, private and third sectorGlossary: refers to organisations are those that operate independently on a not-for-profit basis, usually defined as voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises, mutuals or co-operatives organisations.

The HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency's approach will be to use Local Investment Plans, developed with local authorities and sub-regional structures as part of the processes to agree the scope and methods of the HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency's and others' investment to achieve the local vision for successful new and regenerated communities.

The HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency will operate at national, regional, sub-regional, and local levels; agreeing and achieving balances to ensure that the overall aims of contributing to the creation and long-term maintenance of new successful communities is achieved, while at the same time being flexible to meet the needs and aims of local communities.

The HCAGlossary: Homes and Communities Agency will focus on outcomes for people and communities to ensure that investment contributes to improving the quality of life for people, individually and collectively.

Elements within this ingredent:

1. Community builders

Local authorities have a strategic role as place-shapers in their area. This will mean that in most cases they will take a lead role in driving forward the creation of new communities.

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