Research and evidence

HACT works alongside social housing organisations to drive change within their own businesses, providing them with the external expertise they need to evaluate, measure and evidence how they work. 

We've been at the forefront of social housing research for a number of years now, delivering the first programme of RCTs for the sector, evaluating the use of nudge techniques in resident communications and the value of introducing electric vehicles, and assessing new means of engaging with residents. 

Most recently, we've been busy working with Placeshapers, identifying and assessing the experiences and trends in their members' responses to Covid-19 both in the contect of short-term priorities, as well as the longer-term impact of this new operating environment.  

Our expertise ranges across research methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative, evaluations and capability assessments. We also have extensive experience of running and evaluating RCTs, conducting regression analyses and managing stakeholder reputation and brand reviews.

Our core team includes:

  • Dr Frances Harkin, Head of Research – Frances heads up the research team at HACT and is the principle lead for a wide research portfolio and works with sector partners and specialist agencies to pioneer empirical analysis methods to shape service design and drive decision making. She has a track record of delivering and contributing to the body of research in housing, health, measurable business improvement and cultural change. This research includes evaluations of community investment services in the housing sector and changes to business operational models and the applications of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to the housing sector. Her PhD looked at the role that sport plays in the development of community and identity for the Irish diaspora. Contact Frances 
  • Dr Rob Wray, Chief Innovation Officer - Rob has a background in politics and behavioural psychology and has recently completed simulation research on variables that increase propensity to social and political conflict. He has held posts as Research Director at Family Mosaic and led business transformation for East Thames. He serves by invitation on round-table discussions on dementia, health and housing partnership at the Royal Society of Medicine and is the founder member and Director of Counter Research. He is a regular contributor to the G15 Policy and Pan-London ASB forums is now based in London. Contact Rob
  • William Howard, Housing and Health Officer - Will's principal interest is in how research can be successfully applied to understand and tackle urban inequality. He has an MSc in sociology at the London School of Economics, in which he focussed on the application of theory to research, as well as looking at the relationship between political theory and urban form. Contact Will



HACT would like to work with organisations to capture how social housing organisation’s are responding to the pandemic. Now, more then ever, it is crucial that you can document your response to Covid-19, evaluate your actions, and learn and apply lessons for the benefit of your residents and communities.

We will:

  • Undertake a period of research with your staff, partners and customers, through a series of interviews and focus groups.
  • Review your key operational data during, such as digital connectivity stats, income figures, and numbers of residents assisted with advice, food and financial support. 
  • Analyse our findings and present these back to you, along with a series of recommendations for your business.

Our evaluation will give you a snapshot of your response to the Covid-19 pandemic from March to November 2020 and recommendations for business improvement. 

We used this approach in evaluating A2Dominion’s response to the first national lockdown.

We’ve also researched the response by PlaceShaper member organisations to the Covid-19 pandemic, identifying how they might turn it into an opportunity to deliver more with their communities.

For more information please contact HACT's Head of Research, Frances Harkin 

Our snapshot research rates range from £5,500.