We advise many housing groups in the social-housing sector on their corporate structures, including establishing new group structures for growth and diversification and consolidating group structures for efficiency. These include some of the largest and most innovative groups within the housing sector, including the first registered-provider group structure with a non-registered provider parent.
Our success at establishing, or consolidating, group structures is that we understand what drives housing associations and your key outcomes. We use this knowledge to ensure the structures we devise are flexible and fit-for-purpose.
Our role is to interpret the complex legal issues and hurdles, making it easier for you to visualise the path to achieving your desired outcome. We work with you to help you to understand the group-structure process and key issues you will face. A group-structure project has many different components, including advising on intragroup service arrangements, pensions and staffing, procurement, funding and governance arrangements. We will help you to understand how these can be configured to deliver the group structure successfully and efficiently.
We have one of the largest social-housing legal teams in England. This enables us to draw on sector-specialist advice from many disciplines, and means we can provide a service covering all aspects of your group-structure project. Our approach combines technical expertise with grounded, practical experience. We are able to easily anticipate key issues, stumbling blocks and milestones at the outset of the project, to ensure the group structure is delivered in line with proposed target dates. For projects of this type, we are able to provide tailored project-management services; and we work alongside lead consultants and project managers to provide a streamlined service.
We have good relationships with the social-housing sector regulator, the Charity Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority. These are particularly helpful in ensuring that the hurdles, which sometimes arise on these types of projects, can be overcome quickly and sensibly. We are also able to draw on our experience in other sectors, including local government and the public sector, education, social businesses, charities and health and social care providers to provide advice in relation to creating group structures to carry out diversified activities.
Provisions within the Housing and Planning Act that remove the need for housing associations (“HAs”) to obtain consent from the Regulator to dispose of social housing (as well as to merge or enter new group structures) come into force on 6 April.
Such freedoms will allow HAs greater flexibility over how they use their assets and, potentially, how they structure their businesses. Our expert panel gathered to discuss the possible opportunities the deregulatory measures offer, together with the likely hurdles. Read the outcome of their discussion here.