DD2230 Receipt of funding for Homes for NHS Staff, London Pilot

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2230
Date signed: 
21 March 2018
Decision by: 
David Lunts, Executive Director Housing and Land and Interim CEO of OPDC

Executive summary

Studies and surveys indicate that difficulty in accessing housing that is affordable is a barrier to recruitment and retention of NHS staff. The draft Housing Strategy recognises the issue and supports the provision of a proportion of homes for key workers, such as health professionals on public land. This issue was also recognised by the Sir Robert Naylor review of NHS property and estates (“Naylor Review”) and the Government has accepted the recommendations from the Naylor Review that relates to this issue.

The issue was identified as particularly acute in London and the South East in the Naylor Review and therefore One Public Estate (which is jointly funded by Cabinet Office and Local Government Association) has proposed a London pilot to produce a toolkit and program manage delivery of affordable housing for NHS staff on pilot sites, with funding from the Cabinet Office. One Public Estate has proposed that this pilot is led by the GLA given its strategic role. This decision seeks approval for receipt and expenditure of £150,000 funding from Cabinet Office to GLA to deliver the London pilot.

Decision

That the Executive Director of Housing and Land approves:

1. Receipt of a grant of £150,000 revenue funding from Cabinet Office to deliver a Homes for NHS Staff London pilot:
2. Expenditure of up to £100,000 on the recruitment of a project lead for the Homes for NHS Staff London pilot; and
3. Expenditure of up to £50,000 for the development of the delivery toolkit.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Research, surveys and evidence from NHS Trusts has indicated that difficulty in accessing housing that is affordable is an increasing problem for recruitment and retention of NHS staff. Analysis by the Department of Health and Social Care (DH&SC) has highlighted that the need for affordable accommodation for NHS staff is likely to be concentrated in London and the South East, for example mortgage payments on an average house in London or Oxford would represent 90% of a newly qualified Band 5’s salary. The Royal College of Nursing has found that 40% of nurses were considering leaving London in the next five years due to pressure of housing costs, of these 75% would be more likely to stay in London if their housing needs were met.

The Mayor’s Manifesto included a commitment that Homes for Londoners would drive up homebuilding by “Building new homes on land owned by the Mayor, including Transport for London land, and bidding to develop other public-sector land - with a proportion of homes on the capital’s NHS sites aimed at health service workers”. Since then the GLA has been working with Department of Health and NHS partners to explore opportunities to deliver homes for health service workers on NHS sites. The draft Housing Strategy supports approaches that set aside a proportion of homes on land owned by Government departments and agencies for key workers, such as health and educational professional in addition to these sites providing genuinely affordable homes.

One of the recommendations from the review of NHS Property and Estates by Sir Robert Naylor (“Naylor Review”) was that land vacated by the NHS should be prioritised for the development of homes for NHS staff, where there is a need. The Government has accepted this recommendation, agreeing that in some areas it would be beneficial for the NHS to use surplus land to provide housing for staff. The Government’s response to the Naylor Review noted that in October 2017 it had announced that NHS workers will be given first refusal on affordable homes built on land sold by the NHS.

The issue of affordability of market housing for NHS staff is particularly acute in London and the South East and therefore One Public Estate (OPE) (which is jointly funded by Cabinet Office and Local Government Association) has proposed a London pilot to focus on development of a delivery toolkit as a resource for NHS landowners and program management of delivery of affordable housing for NHS staff on pilot sites (the “London Pilot”). The London Pilot would be embedded within the work of the London Estates Board (LEB) and London Estates Delivery Unit (LEDU), which lead on NHS estate and property matters within and for the London health system.

OPE has proposed grant funding from the Cabinet Office, under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003, to provide the GLA with a grant of £150,000 revenue funding for the London Pilot. It is proposed the funding is paid to the GLA given its strategic role for housing and health in London and best placed to manage the expenditure.

From the £150,000 funding from Cabinet Office, approximately £100,000 would be used by the GLA for recruitment a project lead and £50,000 for the development of the delivery toolkit. The project lead, working as part of LEDU, would be responsible for production of the delivery toolkit, management of the London Pilot project and engagement with NHS, London boroughs and registered providers. The project lead may be procured on a consultancy basis.

The London Pilot will be governed by a Memorandum of Understanding between the GLA and the Local Government Association and Government Property Unit (as joint sponsors of OPE), which will cover appointment of the project lead, agreement of project brief and appointments for delivery of the toolkit, establishment of a project board (comprised of GLA, OPE, Department of Health and Social Care, Cabinet Office and LEB), establishment of a steering group to oversee the London Pilot projects and reporting procedures.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Recruitment/procuring of a project lead to manage the overall rollout of the London Pilot, oversee development of a Homes for NHS Staff Delivery Toolkit, including assessing and confirming demand for and type of affordable accommodation for NHS staff and developing a planning strategy with GLA and relevant London Boroughs, supporting exemplar projects to accelerate delivery and reporting progress to the Project Board and engaging with registered providers and private sector developers to test approaches and grow the supply market.

The objectives of the London Pilot are:

• Production of a Homes for NHS Staff Delivery Toolkit; a step by step guide for NHS landowners from initial scoping to delivery of housing, addressing the key questions at each stage and ensuring all key issues are considered.
• Managing exemplar projects (which will be funded directly by OPE).
• Market development – working with registered providers and other potential development partners to soft market test development options and promote deliverable concepts to NHS landowners.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and
• advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The London Pilot will manage the exemplar projects, which will deliver affordable housing for NHS Staff. It will also provide a Delivery Toolkit, which will enable London NHS landowners deliver affordable housing on their sites for general needs, as well as NHS staff. It is considered that the London Pilot is likely to benefit many of those with protected equality characteristics, as many of these groups are disproportionately represented among those in need of affordable housing. This is in part because they are more likely to experience homelessness or overcrowding, or to have low incomes that make it difficult for them to afford market housing. In addition, some people with protected equality characteristics may be less likely to be able to afford the homes which will support households into home ownership.

The London Pilot will be devised with the Public Sector Equality Duty firmly in mind, in particular when assessing the demand for and type of affordable housing that is needed and how this is accessed.

Other considerations

The London Pilot links to the draft Housing Strategy, which supports approaches that set aside a proportion of homes on land owned by Government departments and agencies for key workers, such as health and educational professional (noting that this should be in addition to these sites providing genuinely affordable homes).

Risks include:

• Producing the Delivery Toolkit to time and budget - managed using good project management
• Lack of stakeholder engagement and buy-in – mitigated by building on the stakeholder relationships established by the LEB, OPE and GLA
• Lack of progress on exemplar schemes – mitigated by good project management
• Planning policy conflicts at a local and London level – mitigated through development of the toolkit and constructive dialogue with relevant parties.

Financial comments

This decision requests approval for the receipt and expenditure of a revenue grant of £150,000 from Cabinet Office to deliver Homes for NHS Staff London pilot, including preparation of a delivery toolkit as well as delivery of a pilot programme.

The grant is envisaged to be received in 2017/18 financial year, however, the corresponding expenditure (up-to £100,000 would be used by the GLA for a project lead and the remaining amount for the development of a delivery toolkit) will be expended in 2018/19.

Appropriate financial adjustments will be made at the end of the financial year to carry forward the funds to the next financial year (2018/19) to enable the completion of this work.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Receipt of funds

Mar 18

Announcement of project

May 18

Appointment of project lead

May 18

Engagement with exemplar projects and stakeholders

May 18

Procurement of toolkit advice

Jun 18

Completion of toolkit

Nov 18

Selection of delivery partner for exemplar projects

Oct 18

Planning permission secured for exemplar projects

Feb19

Project evaluation

Mar 19

Project Closure

Mar 19


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