Opening up strategic partnership offers across the housing sector

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Strategic partnerships at Homes England

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.

We first launched strategic partnerships in 2018 – since then, we have signed 23 partnerships with 27 housing associations, delivering around £1.8 billion grant investment and over 40,000 additional affordable homes.

We know there is more appetite, experience and capacity across the sector to deliver affordable housing. So, for the new affordable homes fund, we’ve redesigned our 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.

Read more about the requirements in the affordable housing funding guide.

What we’re looking for in strategic partnerships

Strategic partnerships play a pivotal role in Homes England’s mission to use everything at our disposal to intervene in the market to make homes happen.

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We are looking for ambitious, successful organisations that share our aims and values to become strategic partners, so that together we can do just that.

Who can be a strategic partner

For 2021, we’re offering our 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.

We’re utilising our expertise and influence to support our strategic partners as much as possible, but in return we ask that our 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.

 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.

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Our first cohort of strategic partners told us 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 our technical expertise in delivery, land, infrastructure and investment to address local capacity and capability challenges. 

To ensure our strategic partners get as much out of the relationship as possible, each of our 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.

What have other partners said?

Our current strategic partnerships have transformed the way we work with housing associations and proved a successful mechanism for scaling up the delivery of affordable housing.

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Take a look at our social media channels to see more.

How to become a strategic partner

We expect to launch a competitive bidding round for proposals to access Affordable Homes grant funding through the strategic partnership route in March 2021. We anticipate that the window for submitting proposals will be around 6 weeks, however this may be subject to change.

We will publish the confirmed timescales in due course.

You can read our guidance for updated timescales and to understand more about how to apply for affordable housing grant funding in a strategic partnership.

If you are not seeking affordable housing grant

If you’re still interested in working with us to deliver new homes at scale, then there is no need to wait. You can get in touch with us to discuss how we can work together, and whether a strategic partnership could be right for you. You can contact your regular Homes England contact, or email us: [email protected]

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