Exploring whether to set up a Local Authority Housing Company

Broxbourne Borough Council commissioned consultants to develop an outline business case for the establishment of a local authority housing company to deliver new council housing.

At a glance

Housing Advisers Programme case study

2019/20 cohort 


Executive summary

Broxbourne Borough Council used Housing Advisers Programme funding to commission consultants to develop an outline business case for the establishment of a local authority housing company to deliver new council housing. 

Challenge and context

The council has an affordable housing register which holds the details of around 1,600 families seeking social housing.  The council does not hold any housing stock of its own and is reliant on registered providers for social housing.  In a typical year around 200 homes become available for new tenants and a similar number of new households register for social housing so the council’s register remains at around 1,600 families.  Some families have been on the register for in excess of 20 years. 

In order to address this issue the council considered setting up its own housing company to increase the availability of social housing in the borough and meet the needs of the local residents waiting for social housing. 

What we did

Using the funds provided by the Housing Advisers Programme we employed Altair to produce an options appraisal and outline business case for setting up a local authority housing company. Altair met with the council to establish what we were trying to achieve and conducted additional research into the options available to the council. They used this along with their expertise in the sector to produce a report for consideration by the council. 

The difference we made

The business case set out the pros and cons for a variety of options for the council to consider, based on the consultants’ knowledge and expertise of the industry. Without the funding this detailed options appraisal would not have been possible. 

Following consideration of the report, the council took the decision to not incorporate a  local authority housing company. Without the advice from the consultants the council may have gone ahead with incorporating such a company, which would have been unlikely to have been a viable option in the longer term. 

What's next

Having ruled out the option of setting up a local authority housing company, the council is free to focus on other ways to meet the needs of local people who are waiting for a council home. 

Lessons learned

The Council should continue to work closely with the LGA and other groups to access resources and support and share common issues. 


Sandra Beck, Director of Finance, Broxbourne Borough Council: [email protected]