A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Cromwood's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Cromwood is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Abdus Saleh, Head of
Investment and Development
Our recent investment:
new cars to help our local
managers be more effective
The opportunities and challenges facing the UK’s social
housing sector have never been greater. The landscape in
which social landlords and local authorities work together
has shifted greatly in recent years, as a result of market factors
including rent reduction, Brexit uncertainty, regulation and
ongoing pressure to house the ever-increasing number of
homeless people. The role Cromwood play as a provider of
social housing to local authorities has never been in greater
demand. Abdus Saleh, the head of investment and development
at Cromwood, tells
The Parliamentary Review
more about their
innovative housing solutions.
We were established to respond to the need for social housing to help the most
vulnerable and those in need. This includes asylum seekers, the homeless and
young adults in temporary accommodation, to name just a few groups.
How Cromwood evolved to become the Cromwood Group
Our ethos is based on delivering societal impact through housing; since our
inception in 2002, we have developed continuously to be one of the leading
providers of social housing to the local authorities both in London and Manchester.
As a result of our success, we were asked to manage and house asylum seekers
through subcontractor arrangements with the Home Office.
Today, we manage landlords’ properties with local authorities to provide
social housing through the provision of properties that can be used for
»Director: Moses Hirschler
»Head of Investment and
Development: Abdus Saleh
»Established in 2002
»Based in London, with offices
in Greater Manchester
»Services: Social housing
provision, property
management and
maintenance services to social
»No. of employees: Between 20
and 50
»Registered with the FCA
as advisor and arranger for
bringing empty properties
back into use
Highlighting best practice
temporary accommodation, nightly
accommodation, bed and breakfast
accommodation and private sector
leasing arrangements.
Under Cromwood Development,
we source, purchase and develop to
produce properties that can be used
to provide long-term housing options
for those who are desperately in need
of accommodation. Cromwood Social,
however, makes impact-based housing
investment, such as resurrecting
empty properties for the use of
Taking pressure off local
Homelessness is an issue across
the UK, and we see it regularly
through our operations in London
and Manchester. The need to house
homeless individuals and families varies
accordingly and therefore there isn’t a
solution that works for all.
Councils are struggling to
offer homeless people secure
accommodation thanks to the lack
of available properties coming into
social housing from landlords. It has
become plainly obvious to everyone
in the sector that the amount of rent
paid in social housing is not enough to
seduce landlords away from the private
We are helping councils by giving
them property stock that they can use
to house homeless people and those
in need, both immediately and on a
longer-term basis. We further help
local authorities and the Home Office
by managing the properties and the
tenants, who are often vulnerable.
We have introduced a £2.5 million
fund to help local authorities resurrect
empty properties that are beyond
their funding capacity. This is part of
an overall package of services that
we provide for the owners of empty
properties; it also includes access to
a panel of contractors, surveyors and
project managers as well as legal
expertise to resolve matters of title or
estate administration.
I’ve worked on empty properties since
before I joined Cromwood, and it’s
a cause I feel passionately about. It’s
a real waste to see potentially viable
housing simply being left alone.
Our engagement and intervention
allow local authorities to save time,
resources and ultimately public money
which can be redirected to other areas
of need.
Cromwood’s position in the
One of our most important roles in
the sector is that of a conduit or an
intermediary between local authorities
and other stakeholders – such as
private landlords, social banks or
philanthropic investors. We connect
all the constituent pieces together to
deliver affordable and appropriate
housing to the people who need it the
most, when they need it the most.
We see ourselves as enablers that help
local authorities and the Home Office
to provide accommodation to some
of the most vulnerable in society. We
One of our housing
officers on duty
Our ethos is
based on
would be able to do more if legislative
changes were made in the market that
allowed stakeholders to make better
use of data, partnership work, financial
assistance and contractual assurances.
This all links back to a key driver
for what we do: we are passionate
about helping vulnerable people have
equal opportunity with respect to
housing as everyone else. We provide
properties for the homeless, we house
the homeless and, where we can, we
manage the affairs of the homeless.
Cromwood housing stock
One of the problems particularly
prevalent in London is that landlords
are often able to earn between 30
to 50 per cent more in rental income
simply by placing their properties in
the private market and not the social
housing market. This, along with other
factors, has resulted in an increase
in local authorities’ waiting lists for
We recognise that we cannot depend
exclusively on landlords bringing
properties into the social housing
market. We know there’s more money
in the private rental sector – the
financial incentives to make the switch
are just insufficient. Intervention from
government in this regard would be
positive, but that’s not something we
can rely on either.
The only solution is for us to acquire
our own housing stock through
partners that can afford it. This means,
for example, that rather than giving a
single property to a local authority for
12 months, we can arrange to supply
100 for a long term. That way, councils
can create housing strategies and
make financially sensible long-term
decisions. As far as we’re concerned,
this is the only way to move forward.
Currently we are in negotiations with
various socially inclined investors
including social banks, ethical funds
and institutional investors to explore
options including:
»creation of our own housing stock
»reviving dormant/derelict council-
owned stock
»purchasing garage sites to develop
housing stock
We aim to create lasting relationship
with these funders through joint
ventures and deliver long-term housing
solutions that will benefit those in
society who are the most desperate
and in need.
We connect all
the constituent
pieces together
to deliver
affordable and
housing to the
people who
need it the
most, when
they need it the
Cromwood resurrecting
an empty home; before
(left) and after (right)

This article was sponsored by Cromwood. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster