Housing Advisers Programme FAQs

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The Housing Advisers Programme (HAP) is designed to support local authorities commission expert advice to help them deliver a project that helps meet the housing need of their local area. It aims to be simple, flexible, and locally led.

Find out more about what the programme can offer your council in our prospectus.

Please see below a list of frequently asked questions.

How many rounds of funding have there been already?

The Housing Advisers Programme was launched in 2017 and funding has been awarded once a year every year since. The 2020/21 programme is the fourth round of funding for this programme.

Which organisations can apply for funding from the Housing Advisers Programme?

Large or small, urban or rural, we are looking for applications led by councils across England. The programme is open to councils at all levels, either individually or as a partnership. If you are forming a partnership of councils (and other organisations), a single council must lead the project.

Can Welsh Councils apply for funding from the Housing Advisers Programme?

Unfortunately, the grant funding is for English councils only. We would encourage all councils to check out the LGA Housing Advisers Programme webpages for case studies which share learning from the programme across the sector.

Which internal stakeholders should I speak to before applying and who should form the project team?

The application form will ask for the name and contact details of the project manager and the senior responsible officer, along with details of the project governance arrangements. It is up to you who forms the core project team but you must have sign off for the project from your local authority’s leader and chief executive, or appropriate lead member and senior officer (including the S151 officer where there are financial implications) before you apply.

Do I need get sign-off from senior officers and/or members before applying to the Housing Advisers Programme?

Yes, you must have sign off for the project from your local authority’s leader and chief executive, or appropriate lead member and senior officer (including the S151 officer where there are financial implications) before you apply.

How innovative does our proposed project have to be?

Our ask is that projects are innovative and meet the following principles:

  • they are focused on local need and involve local people and partners
  • they demonstrate how they will address the impacts of COVID-19
  • they use and create evidence about what works well to address local need
  • they will have a sustainable impact beyond the period of the funding
  • learning from the project can be shared with other councils.
What should the application focus on?

Applications will be assessed by a panel of experts against the criteria outlined in the Housing Advisers Programme Prospectus. What is essential is that prospective applications:

  • tackle a local housing need challenge
  • are led by a council but involve wider partners from across the public sector
  • have corporate endorsement from the relevant lead officer(s) and/or portfolio holder(s)
  • have the officer capacity to enable the project to succeed
  • are open to the prospect of external input and challenge from their adviser
  • are willing to share learning and experience from the programme with other councils
How long should the application be?

Sufficient detail is required to make a good application, but we ask that applications are kept clear and succinct. Please read the online application form carefully before completing it, making a note of the word limits for individual answers.

What projects might you look to focus on while we are dealing with the impacts of COVID-19?

For 2020/21 the programme will prioritise strategic housing projects that will support councils and their communities to address COVID-19 and its wider impacts.

If you have had an LGA adviser before will this disadvantage you in this round?

No, participation in previous years of the Housing Advisers Programme will not form part of the selection process for HAP 2020/21.

How competitve is the grant funding?

The Housing Advisers Programme was extremely oversubscribed last year and we anticipate that this will be the case in 2020/21 as well. We encourage all applications to be well thought through and to address the criteria set out in the HAP prospectus. Please read the online application form carefully before completing it, making a note of the word limits for individual answers.

It sounds like the programme can fund different advisers with different skills on a single project - is that the case?

Yes. Successful councils will be awarded a grant through which to procure advice for the project. This could be used to fund more than one adviser as necessary. 

Does the project have to deliver in a specific timeline?

In your application a timeline of estimated milestones should be documented, and we would expect effort to be made to keep to the timeline stated.  Ideally, we would like projects to be concluded by 31 December 2021, although this will depend on your project and circumstances.

Can the same project get funding from more than one LGA programme e.g. One Public Estate (OPE) and the Housing Advisers Programme (HAP)?

Yes, a project can receive funding from the Housing Advisers Programme even if it has received funding from another LGA programme. However, we will be looking for evidence in your application that the HAP funding is adding additional value to your project.

Could three separate local authorities working on a collaborative project all make an individual application if focused on different areas?

Yes.

What is the deadline for applying?

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 7 January 2021.

What is the process after the application has been submitted? Is there any other documentation needed?

The LGA will use a panel of experts to assess bids shortly after the closing date. As part of this process there may be a need to engage with councils on a case by case basis. We will endeavour to minimise requests for additional documentation.

We will inform councils who have submitted an application of the outcome of their submission no later than 22 January 2021.

If the full funding is not used by December 2021, are councils expected to return it to the LGA or can this roll over to the next year if the work continues?

Conditions of the grant agreement for successful councils and potential extensions to an agreement will need to be discussed and agreed with the LGA on a case by case basis.

If successful, what are the expectations relating to monitoring returns to check progress and delivery against agreed milestones?

The prospectus outlines that the LGA will have a continuing role as part of the project governance, which will enable us to monitor progress and delivery against agreed milestones and outputs.   

If successful, how long do you have to spend the money? Is there a time limit?

In your application an estimated timeline of milestones should be documented, and we would expect effort to be made to keep to the timeline stated.  There will be a deadline in the conditions of the grant agreement of December 31 2021. However, we understand circumstances can change and are willing to discuss flexing this deadline on a case by case basis, depending on your project and circumstances.

When do you find out if you were successful?

We will inform councils who have submitted an application of the outcome of their submission no later than 22 January 2021.

If successful, when can we start using the funding?

Grants will be awarded to successful councils as soon as the relevant paperwork has been signed by the LGA and the successful councils. We will start this process with successful councils from 8 February 2021.

Do you receive the money in one lump sum or small sums over a period?

The grants for successful councils will be awarded in one lump sum.