In response to increasing market opportunities and a growing appetite within the sector to drive rapid transformation, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has been focusing on the application of Property Technology (PropTech) to enable housing, planning and regeneration reform.
In October 2023, the Housing Minister Rachel Maclean MP, announced the government is creating a PropTech Steering board to co-design the government’s role and ambitions in promoting market growth and the adoption of PropTech services across the housing, planning and land ecosystem.
Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Rachel Maclean MP said:
“Our new PropTech Steering Board will ensure we’re using cutting-edge technology to revolutionise planning and housing across the country. We are already using PropTech to speed up local planning decisions – providing £8.7 million to 65 pilot schemes to help councils build more homes in the right places with the consent of local people. This new technology will play a valuable role in delivering our ground-breaking reforms in the Levelling Up & Regeneration to ensure the planning system works for everyone.”
Faisal Butt, Founder and Managing Partner of Pi Labs, said:
“We see enormous value in bringing together industry partners and decision makers in government so that we can continue to find ways to accelerate the development and delivery of housing and sustainable improvements across the built world. From digital planning tools to efficient construction methods, from carbon friendly cities to monitoring air quality, technology is already playing a vital role helping local government and private landlords work towards creating thriving communities and healthy cities, while improving access to housing nationwide. We believe greater collaboration will bring more opportunities to new and emerging innovators with the potential to transform the built world for the future.”
Sammy Pahal, Managing Director at UK PropTech Association, said:
“I’m pleased to be part of this steering board to facilitate greater collaboration between government and the industry. It’s encouraging that the department and the Housing Minister recognise the power of PropTech in addressing national challenges in the sector and are keen to create a thriving ecosystem for PropTech companies.”
Technologies that have completely revolutionised many sectors including retail, media and finance, have the potential to transform the UK’s housing, planning and land markets. In response to increasing opportunity within the PropTech market, DLUHC is backing the application of new technology to help deliver against principles outlined in July by the Secretary of State’s speech on the government’s long-term plan for housing.
The PropTech Innovation Fund, established in 2021, has seen DLUHC take the role as market facilitator and collaborator between the supply and demand sides of the market. The fund has been globally recognised as a best practice case study of leading public sector innovation within the ‘Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2023’ report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The UK has an opportunity to secure global competitive advantage. The PropTech sector can make a significant contribution to deliver against government wide and DLUHC priorities, harnessing and guiding the market to generate the significant impact innovation can have on the semi-analogue sector.
The UK PropTech sector has grown quickly in value and scale, developing services to speed up slow processes that cause significant time and monetary loss across the built environment ecosystem. To build on progress made to date, we recognise government support is critical at this stage of evolution and market maturity.
There are opportunities for DLUHC and wider government to gain greater value from PropTech, and we want to explore how we might set out its support for the sector. This is to build on current momentum and support a fast growing but highly fragmented marketplace, to help accelerate the growth of the sector and its impact. We see value in taking a Government-wide approach to visibly be seen to support the sector and identify opportunities for cross-government collaboration.
What will the Steering Board do?
The Steering Board will co-design the government’s future direction to best leverage the latest innovations and technology across the built environment. The board will encourage more public and private sector organisations to use PropTech, which will:
- Regenerate towns and cities to create vibrant local communities and restore local pride
- Enable communities to take back control of their future by making it easier for them to respond to planning consultations
- Allow public sector land owners and developers to easily identify suitable sites to build on, delivering more affordable homes whilst continuing to protect the environment
- Enable a faster and more efficient home buying and selling process and boosting alternative routes to home ownership
- Improve the quality of private rental and social housing provision and increase residents’ voice to provide them with better protection against rogue landlords
We will agree the objectives of the Board and the Terms of Reference with members following the first meeting, which is due to be held in November 2023
Who is on the Steering Board?
We have perspectives from across the sector, from venture capitalists to industry bodies, individuals who have experience of driving transformational change and our important public body partners like Homes England.
|Joanna Key – Chair||Director General (Regeneration, Housing and Planning) – DLUHC|
|Charlotte Spencer/Caroline Crowther||Director (Leasehold, Land and Planning Systems) – DLUHC|
|Milan Bogunovic||Programme Director (Digital Planning) – DLUHC|
|Lawrence Hopper||Deputy Director (Digital Products and Delivery) – DLUHC|
|Faisal Butt||Founder and Managing Partner – Pi Labs|
|Miguel Nigorra Esteban||Partner and Head of Europe – Fifth Wall|
|Melanie Leech||Chief Executive – British Property Federation|
|Sammy Pahal||Managing Director – UK PropTech Association|
|Alexandra Notay||Independent Commissioner – Geospatial Commission|
|Matthew Trimming||Senior Advisor – PUBLIC|
|Peter Denton||CEO – Homes England|
|Isabelle Chantel de Brancion||Business and Innovation Lead – Geovation (Ordnance Survey)|
We will invite additional guests including representatives from PropTech companies, local authorities, and established industry to join for selected meetings to ensure a well-rounded discussion takes place.