Housing quango swings axe to save £2m

Aaron Morby 14 years ago

The Homes and Communities Agency  plans to slash director jobs and close its Victoria offices in London to deliver annual savings of £2m.

The move by the housing quango second guesses Conservative plans to heavily pare down the HCA during the spending review.

Under the plan that is due to come into force in June, the number of corporate director posts at the Agency will be cut from seven to three, in addition to chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake.

The HCA also proposes to close the main office in London Victoria, moving some corporate staff to its existing offices in Milton Keynes.  It will retain a corporate office in London at Maple House in Tottenham Court road.

The management overhaul takes account of recent changes at the agency including most recently John Lewis, acting director of new ventures and partnerships, who is leaving the HCA for a new post as chief executive of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation.

Chief executive of the HCA, Sir Bob Kerslake, said:  “As a relatively new organisation seeking to improve and build on strong foundations, we are constantly reviewing how we work.

“In the current economic climate we are very clear that where we can make efficiency savings and achieve more for less, then we should.

He added: “We have a strong regional structure and well-established local relationships and I am confident that this new top structure means we remain fit for purpose as a national agency that works locally.”

John Lewis will leave the HCA. He said: “My time at the HCA, and English Partnerships before it, has been extremely rewarding, not least in providing an opportunity to deliver some high profile projects and to work with so many excellent people.

“Change is always exciting, so while I am sorry that I will not be playing a part in the HCA’s future, I am very much looking forward to combining my experiences to date in my new role.”

Director roles

  • Trevor Beattie, currently director of strategy, policy, performance and research will become director of place making. This brings together all of the Agency’s corporate property, regeneration and institutional finance skills, including the Thames Gateway, skills and knowledge and the Milton Keynes Partnership.
  • Richard Hill, currently director of investment and renewal becomes director of housing growth and affordability. He assumes additional responsibilities for housing growth and spatial and market intelligence.
  • Richard Ennis will continue as director of finance and corporate services, assuming extra responsibility for communications and the HCA’s secretariat team.

Stephen Muers will report directly to chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake, as head of strategy.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “Sir Bob Kerslake is clearly leading by example when it comes to being frugal and should be commended for doing so.

“The HCA has proved in a very short space of time that it has the leadership and innovation to make a real difference and we hope that housing minister Grant Shapps can ensure the agency continues to deliver, ensuring that housing is no longer ignored beneath empty rhetoric and broken government promises.”

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