What’s working?

By Jahkeita McHardy - on 21/11/2018

“As our sector comes under increasing pressure to demonstrate the impact of services in empirical terms, so more organisations are looking to put these interventions to test,” Dr Rob Wray, Deputy Chief Executive of HACT said. “And randomised control trials (RCTs) are seen as the gold standard for providing hard evidence of what actually works.”

Although they are widely used throughout the health sector, housing providers have been slow to use RCTs. There are a number of reasons for this that we’ve identified.

Do any of them sound familiar?

“We don’t understand how they work.”

“We’re not sure how to design or run an RCT.”

“How can an RCT be applied to a social or social housing setting?”

“My boss says we’ve never needed an RCT before, so why now?”

“They’re expensive to run, and we haven’t got the people or resources available.”

“Cuts in funding and resources mean that now, more than ever, you need hard evidence about the value your services provide,” Dr Wray affirms. “RCTs can provide evidence about the value of a service, to ensure it continues to be supported, and funded.”

On 21 November, we’re launching our RCT learning and innovation programme. Designed in collaboration with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the programme will give participants the information and skills they need to develop and run successful RCTs for their organisations.

The main aims of the programme are to:

  • Address the barriers the housing sector faces when it comes to engaging with RCTs;
  • Develop the housing sector’s ability to engage with and use RCTs;
  • Understand how RCTs can be used within the housing sector.

We know that there are already some in the housing sector who are familiar with RCTs and might have already run their own research programmes. We hope, though, that the programme will help that understanding to permeate throughout the sector, so we can produce the hard evidence we need to demonstrate the impact of our services, and the sector itself.  

We’re excited for those on the programme to learn about how, and what works.

If you have any interest on get familiar with this work, please contact our research lead Dr Frances Harkin on frances.harkin@hact.org.uk and she will be happy to have a conversation

RCT; Randomised Control Trial; Research; social housing; innovation

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