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Funding update: Tenant Engagement and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (Wave 3)

Sebastian Weise
Published: 02/06/2024

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The UK Government is set to launch the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) Wave 3, focusing on enhancing energy efficiency in social homes across England and Wales. This initiative aims to combat fuel poverty, improve tenant well-being, and support the green economy. By targeting social housing with measures to raise energy performance, SHDF Wave 3 seeks to substantially improve living conditions and contribute to the UK's Net Zero 2050 goals.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund - Wave 3 overview

What are the objectives of Wave 3 guidance? 

Wave 3 sets clear objectives for the grant-funded measures. Grant applicants must demonstrate a reduction in the number of households in fuel poverty. Enhancing the energy efficiency of social homes is identified as the second objective. The third objective focuses on the tenants' experience and comfort, as well as their health and well-being. 

Who can apply?

Local Authorities, Combined Authorities, Registered Providers of social housing, and Registered Charities that own social housing can apply directly or as part of a consortium for funding under Wave 3.

Which properties are eligible? 

Wave 3 Challenge Fund applications must include at least 100 eligible social housing properties at EPC band D-G per application. Mixed tenure blocks/terraces can be treated as long as at least 30% of the homes are social housing (this minimum was 50% in Wave 2).

What are the application routes?

Two main application routes are planned: one is a ‘challenge fund’ for smaller batches of homes (at least 100), which will enable a phased approach with detailed information required on the homes included within a phase only once it is ready to start delivery. A Strategic Partnership Route will be available for previously successful applicants who have demonstrated the capability to deliver retrofit at scale. 

When does the funding need spending? 

The funding provided in Wave 3 must be used by September 30, 2028, requiring efficient and transparent program planning. Detailed guidance on the grant will be published in the summer of 2024, although a precise date has yet to be announced.

Support for applicants

Turner and Townsend Consultancy support SHDF applicants under their “RISE” programme. More information can be found here: 

Focus on tenant engagement

Previous iterations of the SHDF revealed that poor tenant engagement, often limited to basic leafleting and cold calling, led to high rates of tenant refusals, jeopardising project delivery.

Comprehensive resident engagement

SHDF Wave 3 grant applicants must prioritise tenant engagement throughout the project. Draft guidance states: “Applicants must demonstrate how tenant needs will be considered throughout the project and report on any tenant engagement undertaken.”

Consideration for different abilities

The guidance asks for better consideration of tenants' individual living and personal abilities and circumstances. Applicants may need to complete an equality assessment of their engagement mechanism.

Mandated tenant satisfaction feedback

The SHDF Wave 3 guidance requires applicants to demonstrate how tenant needs will be considered throughout the project and to report on any tenant engagement undertaken. This involves issuing tenant questionnaires post-installation to gather feedback on satisfaction with the measures installed. The data collected from these questionnaires will help evaluate the overall impact and effectiveness of the installations.

An interactive engagement platform can significantly enhance tenant involvement and satisfaction in retrofit projects while providing a flexible and easy-to-use mechanism to reach residents on an ongoing basis. 

PlaceChangers offers a dynamic, map-based digital platform that allows tenants to visualise and interact with project proposals in 3D. This interactive format helps tenants understand the proposed changes better and encourages more constructive feedback. 

By leveraging innovative engagement tools, applicants can foster a more inclusive and responsive engagement process, ultimately increasing the likelihood of project success and tenant buy-in.

Opportunities for applicants

The SHDF Wave 3 fund represents a significant opportunity for social housing providers to enhance the energy efficiency of their properties, reduce fuel poverty, and improve tenant well-being. 

By embracing comprehensive tenant engagement strategies and leveraging innovative tools, applicants can ensure their projects are both effective and inclusive. As the funding is set to be utilised by September 2028, efficient planning and execution will be crucial. 

With detailed guidance available soon, interested parties should prepare to take full advantage of this initiative to create warmer, healthier, and more sustainable homes.

Find out more about the draft guidance here: SHDF Wave 3 draft guidance  

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