The perceptions audit showed that politicians of all kinds had mixed views about housing associations’ performance and effectiveness. While many valued the sector’s ability to innovate and find solutions to local challenges, others questioned whether housing associations were delivering all they could with the resources available, from housebuilding to providing a quality service to tenants.
At the Owning our Future roadshows, participants identified four main areas where stakeholders really expect us to deliver.
Politicians of both right and left said that building new homes should be the primary task of housing associations in the current environment. Housing associations are already delivering new homes at scale, and we now have better evidence to illustrate this. However, roadshow participants agreed that while new supply is not needed in every local market, across the sector as a whole we need to be building even more.
The Federation is working closely with the sector to identify how we can unlock delivery in a changing market. Get in touch if you'd like to be involved in this work. You can find out more about it here.
Most politicians interviewed in the audit had encountered examples of housing associations being great landlords working innovatively with residents and providing a high quality service. However, they had also encountered, through constituents, examples where service could be improved, whether in repairs, maintenance, energy efficiency or customer service. This was identified by participants at the roadshows as a key area to make the sector’s case and drive continuous improvement.
We have a strong story to tell here, reflected in Ambition to Deliver, which sets out the sector’s goal of creating more great places to live. Federation research highlights how well housing association stock and service compares to other tenures. There are also areas where the sector can work with partners to improve.
3. Efficiency and innovation
Politicians, particularly Conservatives, are keen to see housing associations use their resources efficiently and work innovatively with their assets. Recent research by the Federation has shown that the sector has become more efficient over the last six years, with costs reducing in real terms while outputs improve. There are also many examples of innovative work across a range of fields, as highlighted in Ambition to Deliver.
Efficiency and innovation continue to be key priorities for housing association boards and executives, however, and the Government has indicated that it will be focusing more closely on value for money. The Federation is working with members to develop the sector’s offer on these critical areas and has just produced two briefings on Value for Money, as the first part of this – contact us to get involved in this work.
4. Creating strong, thriving communities
Housing associations play a key role in supporting strong, thriving communities across the country. This has always been an essential part of the sector’s mission and offer, but in the wake of the vote to leave the EU, with uncertain times ahead, it is now even more important.
From driving economic growth to running employment and skills projects for residents, creating and regenerating mixed communities to providing extra support where it’s needed, the housing association offer will continue to evolve to meet changing needs. Get in touch to be a part of the sector’s work to enhance and refine its offer.
Tell us what you are doing to deliver on the substance.