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Existing stock

Ensuring that existing housing supply across the country is well maintained and meets a minimum standard of decency is fundamental to healthy and happy communities.

Our responsibilities comprise:

Decent homes

In 1997, there were 2.1m houses owned by local authorities and housing associations that didn't meet the Decent Homes Standard. By the end of 2010, 92% of social housing met the standard of being warm and weatherproof with reasonably modern facilities.

Meeting the Decent Homes Standard

The 2010 Spending Review settlement made £1.6bn available to local authority landlords - including those with housing stock managed by ALMOs - to help tackle the backlog of homes that are not meeting the Decent Homes Standard. A total of 46 local authority and ALMO landlords will receive backlog funding during 2011-15 to make around 127,000 homes decent.

The Government also allocated another £510m to fund the existing Large Scale Voluntary Transfer (LSVT) Gap Funding Programme. Twenty-four stock transfer organisations will benefit from this additional gap funding, which will contribute towards the cost of bringing poor value housing transferred from local authorities up to the Decent Homes Standard.

Our role

We administer the Decent Homes Backlog Programme on behalf of our sponsor department, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), assessing funding bids from local authorities before making recommendations to ministers on allocations. We continue to work with landlords to maximise the impact of the available funding through our enabling role, helping them to complete their Decent Homes programmes as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

We also administer the LSVT Gap Funding Programme on behalf of DCLG. This programme is now closed to new entrants but we'll be managing existing allocations and the overall budget.

(Please note these documents are published as a csv.file, so you will need to click to expand the columns to view all of the figures)

Download Local authority action for energy efficiency in housing stock - An analysis of energy efficiency data from the Decent Homes Standard Backlog programme bids.

Existing stock and energy efficiency retrofit

As the government’s national housing and regeneration agency, the HCA plays a major role in the built environment. The retrofit of existing homes to improve their energy efficiency and resilience to climate change impacts is an important government policy objective.

The HCA uses its local and expert knowledge, and its understanding of social housing, to find ways to disseminate and share information about housing retrofit. Working with partners and stakeholders, the HCA seeks to encourage and stimulate social housing providers to build retrofit objectives into their activities and objectives. The report Dealing Green considers the implications of the Green Deal for social landlords; and our website contains links to reports about how local authorities, ALMOs and housing associations have incorporated energy efficiency improvements into their stock improvement work.

Local authorities and local partners and stakeholders recognise that retrofitting existing homes has a significant potential contribution to local economic growth and to meeting the needs of communities. The HCA report ‘Local Authorities Action for Energy Efficiency in social housing stock’, reviewed information supplied by local authorities in their bids for Decent Homes Backlog funding, about how they are working to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. 

Arms Length Management Organisations

An Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) is a company set up by a local authority to manage and improve all or part of its existing stock. This leaves the local authority free to concentrate on wider strategic housing issues.

We support ALMOs in the delivery of Decent Homes; offer guidance on ALMO administration and governance; and assist in applications for backlog funding.

Visit our archive site for more information on ALMOs.

Large Scale Voluntary Transfers

Transferring housing stock to registered providers, also known as housing associations and including former Registered Social Landlords, is a well-established means of securing investment for the improvement of social housing. The benefits include:

  • Registered providers can borrow money from banks and building societies to buy and invest in housing to bring it up to a decent standard
  • Stock transfers create more meaningful tenant involvement in the management of their homes and contributes to wider community regeneration.
  • This leaves the local authority free to focus on more strategic housing issues

The transfer process

Housing transfers can only be made to registered providers of social housing registered with the social housing regulator and require the support of a majority of tenants as well as consent from the Secretary of State.

Local authorities that are considering transferring housing stock to registered providers are required to work closely with tenants at all stages of the transfer process. A ballot of tenants must be conducted to establish the tenants' views.

Any local authority wishing to transfer tenanted dwellings to a registered provider should discuss the proposal with the HCA and agree a timetable before they can proceed. Key milestones will be agreed that will allow the local authority to complete their transfer, normally within two years.

Our role

We provide support and advice to local authorities and other stakeholders on housing transfer bids and make recommendations to DCLG as to whether consent should be given to transfers. We also ensure that tenants are fully engaged in the housing transfer process and monitor progress against transfer milestones.

Policy update

In November 2013 Housing minister Kris Hopkins launched a revised Housing Stock Transfer Manual, setting out new criteria that upcoming stock transfers must now meet. The Transfer Manual applies to all stock transfer proposals aiming to complete by 31 March 2015. In addition to strong tenant backing, local authorities must demonstrate that a transfer of council housing to a Private Registered Provider will offer value for taxpayers’ money and help to grow a strong, sustainable economy by regenerating the local area, attracting additional private investment, delivering more affordable homes and improving existing homes.

In July 2014 the minister published a new Housing Stock Transfer Manual that will apply  to stock transfers aiming to complete between 1st April 2015 and  31st March 2016. The new guidance continues the themes of value for money, economic growth, estate regeneration and delivering new homes and introduces a greater emphasis on the Right to Transfer regulations.

Procurement Efficiency Initiative

The Procurement Efficiency Initiative (PEI) succeeds the Social Housing Efficiency Programme (SHEP) which ran from 2005 to 2011 and was managed by the National Change Agent on behalf of the HCA. The objective was to improve efficiency in Decent Homes works within the social housing sector by creating procurement consortia and generating gains through the development of long-term supply chain partnering contracts. The benefits included reduced project costs, better outcomes, improved training, local job creation and customer satisfaction.

There are 13 consortia across England comprising 161 social landlords. Since 2005 the programme has helped deliver £342m of savings on £2.1bn of cumulative expenditure.

As well as finding a number of savings - through ways such as aggregation of buying power, working directly with the supply chain, better cost definition, etc - the consortia have taken the lessons learnt on procuring Decent Homes capital works to other areas of their business including new build projects.

As part of our enabling role, we are building on this legacy and continue to help existing consortia and other partners generate procurement efficiencies. We will continue our work to ensure best practice procurement work is being adopted across affordable housing delivery.

Social Housing Energy Savings Programme

The Social Housing Energy Savings Programme concluded in March 2011. The two-year programme supported 52 partners to cavity wall insulate a total of 78,000 social housing properties, 80% of which were hard to treat.

Visit our SHESP programme archive page for details about where the programme funds were allocated.

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