“Over the last five years, social value measurement has been embraced by the social housing sector,” said Andrew van Doorn, Chief Executive of HACT. “Increasingly, sector leaders are moving beyond simply describing the impact that they have made, using social value to demonstrate their commitment to society, to local people and to the environment. They are using social value to inform business decisions, in procurement, regeneration and asset investment.
HACT, SFHA and the Lintel Trust have worked together for 40 years to provide funding and support for the growth of the housing association sector and supporting housing-based work with disadvantaged people. The three organisations have now joined together to implement a new role - Social Insight Project Co-ordinator.
The post-holder, who is expected to begin work next month, will use and develop HACT Insight Tools in Scotland to support housing providers to identify outcomes, choose activities that will influence these outcomes, collect information, and measure change over time.
On 27 August, Bury FC were expelled from the English Football League after a period of reported financial mismanagement. The club had been at the heart of the former industrial town since being founded in 1885. As the local economic fortunes fluctuated, the football club was a realiable presence in a town that was fiercely proud of The Shakers, as the club were known.
“We’re delighted that housing associations from across the Greater Manchester Group have signed up to take part in the development of the UK Housing Data Standard,” said Mary-Kathryn Adams, Deputy Chief Executive of HACT. “Collectively, they will focus on the care and support data standard. Their involvement also reiterates the value of housing associations working together and sharing information in order to improve services across the region.”
Back in June, I wrote about how we were working with Westminster City Council as they looked to redevelop the Ebury Bridge estate in Pimlico. The estate is in a priority neighbourhood, consisting of 336 households, so any redevelopment plan had to take into account its potential impact on the wellbeing of residents.
Using modelling tools based on the UK Social Value Bank, we wrote a wellbeing assessment for each of the eight proposed redevelopment scenarios. Since my last blog, the council have announced their preferred option, which was one of those we recommended.
As well as questioning how the negative stigma of being a social housing tenant should be tackled, the Green Paper also asks whether landlords should report on their social value. In my view stigma and reporting of social value are connected. By improving our social value reporting we can improve services and reduce stigma as well.
Regeneration schemes have faced a chorus of disapproval over the past few years. Criticised for their empty promises about consultation, job creation and community cohesion by some. Charged with gentrification and social cleansing by others. The social benefits of development are rarely mentioned.
Yet, what if developers, whether commercial or not-for-profit, were able to measure, and thereby demonstrate, their social value? Perhaps this might help to square the circle that many in the sector perceive between development and social purpose.
The calculator is available to download from HACT’s web site (https://www.hact.org.uk/mental-health-social-value-calculator). It is free to housing associations and other organisations with turnover for non-commercial use.
The current social, economic and political climate is uncertain, from the divisive storm cloud of Brexit to the ongoing impact of austerity and welfare reform. Cuts to Legal Aid and other support services have seen the demand increase for free legal advice. A LawWorks report found that from 2015 to 2016 there was a 24% increase in the number of people visiting their clinics.
Last month, HACT published research on the social value of housing. It’s a bit on the academic side, but for those willing to engage with the metrics coming out of the maths, well worth a read. It represents the first attempt to apply emerging methodologies around