Homes England has updated its strategic partnership model and is opening it up to a broader range of partners.
Strategic partnerships are an exciting approach to increase the delivery of affordable housing.
Rather than applying for funding on a scheme-by-scheme basis, strategic partners enter into a multi-year grant agreement with Homes England to deliver affordable housing.
This allows partners to benefit from the certainty of grant for the duration of the partnership, as well as access to Homes England’s wider expertise, insight and influence.
Homes England first launched strategic partnerships in 2018 – since then, they have signed 23 partnerships with 27 housing associations, delivering around £1.8 billion grant investment and over 40,000 additional affordable homes.
Homes England is aware that there is more appetite, experience and capacity across the sector to deliver affordable housing.
So, for the new affordable homes fund, they’ve redesigned their strategic partnership model, with an increased focus on the relationship element, and are opening this offer to a broader range of partners from across the housing sector.
Strategic partnerships play a pivotal role in Homes England’s mission to use everything at their disposal to intervene in the market to make homes happen.
Homes England are looking for ambitious, successful organisations that share similar aims and values to become strategic partners, so that together they can do just that.
Read more about the requirements in the affordable housing funding guide.
Who can be a strategic partner
For 2021, Homes England are offering strategic partnerships to a broader range of organisations than ever before, including not for profit registered providers, for-profit providers and developers, and local authorities.
Homes England will be utilising their expertise and influence to support strategic partners as much as possible, but in return they ask that partners can demonstrate a significant commitment to Homes England’s broader aims, from increasing the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to promoting great design.
Read about the different types and requirements of strategic partnerships here.
The benefits of becoming a strategic partner
The certainty and flexibility of grant funding is just one element of a strategic partnership – it is the collaborative, working relationship with Homes England that really sets it apart.
Homes England first cohort of strategic partners said that working with Homes England in this way has allowed them to do things that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible – for example:
- unlocking difficult sites for development
- attracting finance and investment
- accelerating delivery of much needed homes.
Strategic partners will benefit from a broad range of support from across Homes England.
That means providing advice for accessing other funding from Homes England, brokering relationships across the sector, co-developing delivery plans and so much more.
Strategic partners will also have access to technical expertise in delivery, land, infrastructure and investment to address local capacity and capability challenges.
To ensure strategic partners get as much out of the relationship as possible, each of Homes England’s partners will have a dedicated Key Account Manager (KAM) – a senior colleague from Homes England that will act as a conduit to the rest of the agency’s resources.
How to become a strategic partner
Homes England expect to launch a competitive bidding round for proposals to access Affordable Homes grant funding through the strategic partnership route in March 2021.
They anticipate that the window for submitting proposals will be around 6 weeks, however this may be subject to change.
Homes England will publish the confirmed timescales in due course.
You can read guidance for updated timescales and understand more about how to apply for affordable housing grant funding in a strategic partnership here.