Saturday, 04 July 2015

Housing associations should report 'social value'

Housing associations should be legally required to report on the social value they generate and be the subject of a ‘right to challenge’ from tenants, a think tank has suggested.

Respublica, in a report out today entitled Acting on Localism: the role of housing associations in driving a community agenda, argued that government can deliver on its localism agenda by ‘harnessing housing associations to meet local needs’.

It said while communities do not have the resources to benefit from localism, housing associations do. It argued that housing associations should integrate their ‘social role’ into their business model and report on their social impact.

The government should extend the Public Services (Social Value) Act, to require associations to produce evidence of their social investment and returns it generates for communities, which should be determined by the community itself, the report argued.

Pete Duncan, co-author of the report, said: ‘Localism to date has not capitalised on existing resources and local actors.

‘Housing associations have a presence and a vested interest in almost every neighbourhood. They have the skills, capacity and resources to be bolder and more radical for the benefit of residents and wider communities.’

The report also calls for the government to extend the Tenant Empowerment Programme to include non-tenants and for housing associations to compile an asset register revealing opportunities for potential community ownership.

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