Tenancy sustainment randomised controlled trials

This is a project born from the need to know more about ‘what works?’ in terms of initiatives to improve tenancy sustainment. Following on from a qualitative investigation into the various models of tenancy management, the next phase of work seeks to generate high-quality evidence housing providers can use in decision-making around investment in tenancy sustainment activities.

To test the effectiveness of interventions, we are using Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), a method viewed as the ‘gold standard’ in terms of measuring effectiveness. This technique’s origins are in medicine, where it is viewed as the most reliable way to test new treatments. In medical trials, the methodology involves randomly allocating a pool of eligible participants either to receive or not to receive the treatment, then comparing the outcomes after a set period of time. In terms of social research, where this method has proven to be equally robust, the medical treatment is replaced by a programme, intervention, or policy of interest.

Aim: This set of trials will investigate various services aimed at improving tenancy sustainment. Two of the trials focus upon the effects of communication methods upon tenancy sustainment outcomes whilst the third trial considers the impact of an employment service upon tenancy sustainment outcomes.

Using the trials, we are aiming to answer questions around what types of support work for what groups, with a particular focus on those who are at risk of falling into rent arrears. Critically, we are investigating the potential links between effective services for this population and tenancy sustainment outcomes. The results will provide high-quality, robust data the project participants can use to inform decisions about where (and how much) they invest, depending upon the evidence created about what works.

Timescale: The first two trials launched in January 2016 and early findings from these trials are being disseminated at various events organised by HACT during 2016. The third trial launched in May 2016.

One the overall project has concluded, participating housing providers will receive a final report. Following this, findings from the trials and and the final report will be made available more widely to the housing sector.

Co-funded by project participants: Hyde; L&Q; Riverside; Sovereign; Yarlington

To find out more about this project, or RCTs at HACT more generally, please email Frances Harkin or call 020 7250 8500.

Project update blogs

‘Innovate, but still evaluate and keep it randomised!’ By Professor Shaun Treweek (26 Jan 2016)

‘Randomised controlled trials start: launching housing RCT research’ By Jim Vine (28 Jan 2016). 

'Randomised Control Trials: A housing case study' By Maggie Houghton (23 February 2016)