- U+I to establish an independent Community Challenge Panel to monitor best practice in how schemes are delivered led by new Non-executive director
- Part of a series of commitments U+I is making in response to the findings of a national consultation it organised to better understand how the reputational challenges faced by PPP can be addressed so that they deliver for all parties
U+I, the specialist regeneration developer and investor, has today announced it will establish an independent challenge committee to drive greater transparency and accountability across its £9.5bn portfolio of projects.
The announcement by U+I concludes a six-month-long consultation organised by the company, and backed by Minister for Local Government Rishi Sunak MP, on the challenges faced by PPP.
It comes just two weeks after Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s renewed the Government’s commitment to the use of PPPs in the Budget.
U+I’s consultation, which involved a range of political, civic and professional figures across the UK, was held in an effort to better understand how and why the reputation of PPPs had been tarnished and how partners can ensure PPP stays true to its purpose as a way of blending the best of both the private and public sectors in the development of publicly owned land.
It involved representatives from Homes England, Berkeley Group, Birmingham City Council, Network Rail, the NHS, TfL. London Community Foundation and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and included round table sessions in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
At the start of the consultation, private polling commissioned by U+I showed the challenges that PPP faced:
- 78% of British adults agreed that public sector organisations should ensure their unused land is developed to provide housing and create new places and public amenities for local communities.
- 56% of people agreed that local authorities should work with private sector businesses to help address the housing shortage in the UK.
- Yet 45% felt negatively about the use of PPPs to develop publicly-owned land.
The consultation found that:
- There was a significant acceptance of PPP, but it was a grudging acceptance
- The brand of PPP was more tarnished than the output it delivers
- Developers are increasingly concerned about managing political risk
Key findings from the consultation on how best to address the challenges and manage risk more effectively for all parties were as follows:
- The benefits of PPP and its ability to deliver vital development need to be promoted by all partners - public and private
- All partners on a project need to establish their understanding of the community most likely to be affected and most likely to benefit from a proposed scheme – by involving them from the very beginning and maintaining engagement throughout.
- Transparency and effective scrutiny must sit at the heart of all projects and are the responsibility of all partners
- The requirement for a strong leadership role from local government. All Partners have responsibility for their actions and how their impact can increase the chances of a project’s failure or success.
Matthew Weiner, CEO, U+I, commented:
“For a long time, the term PPP has been tarnished and we recognise that in many cases developers may have lost the trust of partners and communities, but we also recognise the huge value that PPP can deliver to the towns and cities of the UK. Our in-depth consultation has demonstrated how important it is that the reputation of PPP as a positive option for delivering regeneration is renewed. The series of commitments that we have announced today will support us in doing everything we can to make PPPs a genuine partnership between developer, public sector and local community. We do not have all the answers, but we hope that our partners will recognise this commitment and back us in our endeavour to create regeneration projects that are truly collaborative and ultimately better for the places in which they are delivered. These convictions have to be grounded in purpose, however. And that purpose, for U+I, will always be about social impact and improving people’s lives. This is not to lay claim to angelic status. It is simply to affirm, again, that we believe financial objectives and social objectives must always walk hand in hand. Our profit must have purpose.”
U+I’s ambition at the start of the consultation was to find a way to create a standard for best practice delivery of PPP projects and to use it to hold itself to account.
As such, U+I has today committed to:
- Establishing an independent Community Challenge Panel which will oversee how its schemes are delivered ensuring that U+I meets the socio-economic standards it sets itself in delivering for the local community, from completion and then over a five-year period.
- Appoint a new non-executive director to oversee the Community Challenge Panel, which will bring together representatives from the public sector, civic society and other developers.
- Share any profit it makes above an agreed projected return with the relevant public partner and local community directly via a Community Profit Share Arrangement.
- Community Engagement Fund: On all of its major PPP schemes, U+I will set aside a specific budget through a Planning Performance Agreement so that community organisations and representatives are better equipped to engage more effectively in the planning process.
As part of this initiative, U+I will also support efforts to establish stakeholder forums for projects – chaired by a local representative (or ‘patriot’) – which will genuinely seek to address practical possibilities at a local level.
Minister for Local Government, Rishi Sunak MP, said:
“The development and regeneration of our cities must be centred around meeting the long-term needs of our communities. That means delivering projects that make a change to people’s lives, and in doing so improving our society and our economy. As the Chancellor recently acknowledged, public private partnerships can play a crucial role in delivering the best possible places for communities. But they must be done well and offer a good deal for all involved, in particular tax payers. That’s why I welcome this group’s effort to establish what PPP best practice looks like and to hold itself to account.”
Helen Goulden, CEO, The Young Foundation, whose mission is to develop better connected and more sustainable communities across the UK. commented:
“For too long, community consultations have talked about people, rather than with them. That’s why we welcome these efforts to connect and involve partners and local communities from the outset in the development of local plans. At the Young Foundation, we have long been believers of the value and critical need to collaborate with communities to drive social and economic change. Today’s announcement from U+I is an encouraging step forward toward that ambition.”
U+I’s hope is that this standard is something which others in the sector will be proud to join, thereby ensuring a healthy future for the public and private sectors working together for the benefit of the community.
About the consultation:
U+I convened three roundtable events in London, Birmingham and Manchester from across the public, private and civic sectors to discuss the issues. This was followed up by a series of telephone interviews with experts from the same three sectors.
- Nick Walkley – Homes England
- Sean McKee - London Chamber of Commerce
- Paul Smith - Northern Powerhouse Partnership
- Angela Koch – London Neighbourhood Planners
- Francis Salway – London Community Foundation
- Matthew Punshon – Metropolitan Police
- Vaqas Farooq - Shoosmiths
- Chris Bliss - Momentum Property Solutions
- Beckie Joyce - Real Estate Projects Real Estate & Infrastructure Capita
- Mike Wild - Macc
- Laura Sharman - Municipal Journal
- Phil Mayall - Muse Developments
- Jonathan Tew - Birmingham City Council
- Marilyn Castree - Greater Birmingham Chamber & GBSLEP Business Growth Hub Advisor
- Richard Lawrence - City of Wolverhampton Council
- Tony Pidgley - Berkeley Group
- Lester Hampson – TfL
- Ian Fletcher - BPF
- Jerry Freeman - GVA
- James Leaver - Knight Frank
- Darryl Chen - Hawkins/Brown
- John Tatham - PfP Capital
- John Bull-Diamond - GVA
- Eileen Conn – Peckham Vision
- Radhika Bynon – The Young Foundation
- Kevin Trickett - Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies
- Lucy Smith - Housing the Powerhouse
- Monica Brij - Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership
- Bob Dyson - CBRE Manchester
- Chris Cheap - GVA
- Simon Bedford - Deloitte Real Estate
- Jessica Middleton-Pugh - Place North West
- Gillian Postill - Marple Civic Society
- Sir Albert Bore - Birmingham City Council
- Nick Glover - Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
- David Golding - Network Rail
- Afzal Hussain - Witton Lodge Community Association
- Amardeep Gill - Colmore BID
- Simon Hall - Slough Borough Council
- Ben Rogers – Centre for London
- Jennifer Miles - Cushman & Wakefield
- Gerry Hughes – GVA
- Katie Kopec – JLL
- Adrian Powell – NHS
Mathilde Pelly, Teneo Blue Rubicon
020 7860 2700
Lucy Fisher, Head of Communications, U+I
020 7828 4777
Notes to Editors
U+I is a specialist regeneration developer and investor. With a £9.5bn portfolio of complex, mixed-use, community-focused regeneration projects including a £140m investment portfolio, we are unlocking urban sites bristling with potential in the London, Manchester and Dublin city regions. We exist to create long-term socioeconomic benefit for the communities in which we work, delivering sustainable returns to our shareholders.