New government housing chief appointed

Nick Walkley.

Nick Walkley has been appointed as the chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Communities and Local Government, which also regulates social housing providers in England.

The government recently published a wide-ranging review of the HCA to help improve its efficiency and provide greater focus to its housebuilding work. It found that the agency’s development and finance expertise is highly valued by local partners and recommended that it is clearer about its role beyond the direct delivery of its own programme targets, in particular the support it can provide to local partners to drive up housing supply and promote home ownership.

Walkley joins the agency with years of experience of providing strong leadership and delivering housing and regeneration schemes. He has been chief executive of Haringey council for the past four years, having previously been chief executive of Barnet council. Walkley led a major transformation of Haringey council, restructuring the authority, streamlining management arrangements and stabilising high-risk services. Under his leadership, the council attracted £1bn of funding into the large-scale regeneration of Tottenham, using a joint venture to maximise assets and deliver homes and growth.

HCA chairman Sir Edward Lister said: “I am delighted to have found someone with Nick’s impressive leadership track record and passion for transforming housing delivery. He is experienced in commercial partnerships, highly innovative and has a strong reputation for delivery. I look forward to him joining the HCA to ensure we lead the government’s drive to increase the scale and pace of delivery and promote new approaches to housebuilding.”

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Nick’s experience of working with local authorities on housing and other regeneration projects will be invaluable in his new post. The HCA has a big role to play in driving forward the government’s housebuilding ambitions and creating a housing market which truly works for everyone.”

Commenting on his new role, Nick Walkley said: “I am incredibly passionate about addressing the housing shortage to give more people the opportunity to have a home of their own. We need to develop new partnerships and bring fresh ideas to the industry and local government to unlock increased housing supply and transform the market. I am excited by this opportunity to establish a new operating model for the HCA so we work flexibly with local places around the country to deliver the government’s ambition to increase housebuilding.”

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