Social Housing Dissertation
13/01/2011 12:16 pm
First of all, I'd like to say this is an impressive website and one I wish I discovered a few months ago. I'm currently writing my Literature Review for my Dissertation. Which is Social Housing during the recession.
I'm determined to finish that part by the end of January. I'm just wondering if anyone could give me any advice on questionnaires and who possibly to send them to? I have already reached out to Shelter (England and Scotland) and they are pretty reluctant to help. I understand they are a charity but it's a bit of a blow when a lot of my research is from them.
I hope I'm not breaking any rules but any advice would be greatly received. Somehow, I doubt that many MPs would respond! I'm not too sure on questions yet as most of them need to be do you agree etc or yes/no types.
I'm primarily focusing on Scotland as I study there but the rest of the UK would be great too. If you need any further information please let me know. My head is a bit all over the place at the moment, to say the least!
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13/01/2011 2:12 pm
Inside Housing is the best online journal for social housing issues in the country.
Regarding your literature review, I would stay tuned to this website as well as visit the websites of housing associations, ALMOs, local authority housing departments, the Audit Commission and the TSA for more information on the recent performance of social housing providers.
Financial statements, annual reviews, improvement plans as well as other audit documents will give you what you need to complete your dissertation.
I am afraid a lot of the text books will only scratch the surface of what is going on due to the length of time it takes to publish a book.
Best of luck with your dissertation and I hope you find the answers you are searching for.
13/01/2011 4:25 pm
Sorry I think tenant are so unhappy with they lot and the way some Housing Association our so bad in all aspects of Management whether is Complaints, Repairs, ASB and to be honest could tell you the truth here. The fact TSA come in with all this rights from tenants under Customer Trigger and staf like Housing Association which I believe unfortunately most not all staff do not understand. The level goes far above some staff and tenants level of understanding.
Excuse my english but look at my enquires under Expert whereby no one expert answered one of my questions and some time you get dig's at you because you not up to these people's level.
Sorry I think lacking more expert answering people with learning problems and if you write up on a word document and copy and paste does not always work. Well no spelling check here
13/01/2011 5:37 pm
Some Universities have housing/urban/planning or social exclusion research units which produce reports on issues including social housing tenants which are worth looking at, not only for their findings but also for their research methods.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation could also be worth looking at for their research and material.
Shelter produces the journal 'Roof' Other journals such as 'Urban Studies', 'Housing Studies' and 'Housing, Theory and Society' could be available via your University Library electronic resources, which could be worth reading, plus you can search these journals to locate appropriate articles for downloading.
13/01/2011 7:18 pm
Many thanks for all your replies. I've also got a couple of articles from Joseph Rowntree and they are extremely useful.
I'll have a look at those journals in addition, as I should hopefully have some access. Many thanks!
13/01/2011 8:45 pm
You will have a bit of a problem because (especially at this time of year) HAs are inundated with requests for information and questionnaires from students. We don't really have the time to answer them all and don't have staff members with sufficiently broad knowledge to answer the whole questionnaire in one go.
The easiest way, if you want to go the questionnaire route, is to write to the biggest HAs through their websites asking specific questions or write to specific people. You can find lists of HAs through the Homes and Communities Agency. Here's a starter with the biggest 15 in London:
An alternative that could be fun is for you to post the questions on here and ask the readership to comment. The commenters here range from tenants to consultants to housing officers, and from well-informed to barking to political activists. You'll certainly get a good cross section of opinion....
13/01/2011 9:10 pm
Yes, I appreciate you will be getting a deluge of requests. I'm just a bit stressed at the moment and venting it a bit. No offence intended, I apologise I sound a bit rude.
I would love to do that if I'm allowed. I will create it on surveymonkey or the like so it would only take a couple of minutes I'm hoping. The only problems I now have is interviews etc but I may have a back up for that thankfully.
Thanks very much for you help, it's greatly appreciated!
13/01/2011 9:19 pm
If you need to get a sample of tenants for your survey, there may be a backdoor entry- speak to the tenant participation officer at one of the larger housing associations in your area, they may be able to put you in contact with some of the residents groups that they support- you may be able to attend one of their meetings or conduct a survey amoung their membership. It wouldn't be a huge sample size, but at least you'd be able to interact and get a 'real' response
13/01/2011 9:19 pm
Graham, not rude at all. Go through some of the posts here and you'll get a better idea of what constitutes rude....As I said, it's just that every housing, architecture, sustainability etc student appears to write to us all at the same time and be a surprised that we don't have time to answer all the questions. I have never seen anyone try to make contact with the housing 'community' through this forum so you may actually get a better response this way.
I can't personally see anything wrong with putting a link to a questionnaire on here or just asking people outright what they think. I presume survey monkey logs IPs so you don't get voters participating on multiple occasions?
13/01/2011 11:28 pm
I agree with Sancho - Post your questions on the Ask the Experts Blog and you are bound to get a multitude of views. Watch out for the responses in blue - they are from the experts and very worthwhile to include in your dissertation.
'Social Housing in the recession' is a very broad subject area in terms of its implications, you may need to focus your dissertation to a particular set of areas to get a real insight into some processes or be prepared to only scratch the surface across a broad range of issues.
16/01/2011 6:39 pm
Apologies in the delay in replying. I'll pop the questionnaire on here then as soon as I get approval on the questions from my supervisor. Thanks very much.
TDD, I see what you mean. My lit rev is to be a max 3000/4000 words. So far I have wrote about Housing Supply in general and I'm now going on to talk about the reforms suggested in literature (Incremental Tax Funding, Housing Tax reform, RSLs and Private sector investment etc). So far I'm at 1400 words so I don't have much left.
I'm going to have to change my title a bit, I think. I'm looking to also talk about waiting list reform as well and that would possibly allow me to contact tenants potentially.
Any thoughts/criticism on this?
17/01/2011 2:29 am
I am assuming your dissertation will be around the 10 to 15000 words mark, therefore, you will need to decide how many implications you can cover and at what depth. You will then need to work out how many reforms affect those implications and cover them at a relevant depth too. If you do not cover the reforms sufficiently enough in line with the implications, then there is a danger that you may not be able to triangulate your findings, leaving you with a relatively weaker dissertation.
Questionnaires, interviews and extracts from journals will give you the information you need to establish and support your research, but it is down to you and the way you structure your research in order to develop a meaningful set of conclusions which either support or reject your initial hypothesis and/or statement of intent.
Supervisor support is essential.
Best of luck.
17/01/2011 12:31 pm
Hi Graham. I work for Home Group who are a national provider. If you would like to contact me on 0845 155 1234 I would be more than happy to try and help you out
17/01/2011 7:02 pm
Try the link above for some inspiration....
03/02/2011 7:56 pm
Hi again all,
I've now completed my literature review and could use your advice in the crafting of the questionnaires. I'm having a bit of writer's block at the moment.
Two of the big points for me after my research is the quite high (90% of turnover) management costs for RSLs. A couple of my questions would therefore be along the lines of "Do you think lowering management costs are feasible?", "It has been suggested that RSLs and Local Authorities combine their resources (IT, call centres etc) to lower costs, would you consider this?"
I know this focuses on RSLs but my research has split me between investment and also RSLs (mainly because they contribute/have contributed the vast majority of new builds the past few years). Other questions concerning investment could be "Do you have a strategy for funding new homes in the next few years after the housing grant reduction?", "An author suggests that if rent increased by RPI+1% p.a. that housebuilding capacity could be greatly increased, is this something you'd consider?"
Any critique/thoughts would be most welcome from you. My aim is to have around 15 questions and some fresh ideas/thought provoking comments would be most gratefully received.
03/02/2011 8:16 pm
I'm not sure your looking at the management costs in the right way. RSLs primarily manage, do not make a profit, and therefore the bulk of cost is management. Goods and services represent as management costs too.
Have you approached Housemark to see if you can see some aggrigated data that would break down those management costs into better comparables with private business models. That way you could interpret the management costs in way that meant more in comparison.
Even with the resource sharing you have picked up on, the overhead percentage of turnover would remain the same, even if costs reduced.
03/02/2011 8:56 pm
Many thanks for your quick response. I appreciate that they are not for profit etc but I picked up this idea from
"Rather more significant is the trend in real management costs. If real costs per unit continued to rise at 2% p.a., output capacity would fall by nearly 40%, to only 1,505 units p.a. However, a sustained 2% p.a. reduction in management costs would have a similar positive effect, pushing up capacity to 3,381 units p.a."
(A STUDY INTO THE CAPACITY OF REGISTERED SOCIAL LANDLORDS AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO BUILD HOUSING ACROSS SCOTLAND: Bramley et al, 2010) - You can find this online.
This is more geared towards the Local Authorities but the Scottish Housing Regulator suggests that RSLs had operating costs (EXCLUDING debt servicing) of 90% (07/08). They say:
"6.5 Figure 9 shows that, although the rate of increase has not been uniform, there is a clear emerging trend that is not sustainable over the next ten years. We are exploring the factors that underpin this trend.
6.6 Apart from operating costs, RSLs have to service the debt that has been used to finance their activities. Figure 10 (below) illustrates the relationship between turnover and total costs. The graph shows that in 2007/08 total costs (operating costs plus interest costs) amounted to more than 100% of aggregate turnover."
(Social Landlords in Scotland: Shaping up for improvement July 2009)
I just thought that was interesting and wondering if they are planning on any 'efficiency plans' to help boost capacity in light of grant reductions.
04/02/2011 3:59 pm
Vexatious, Frivolous and Unreasonably Persistent, Complaintant of a Tenants. Have you done any research on How the tenants can get readress
04/02/2011 4:03 pm
My Dissertation focuses on the funding aspects, completely separate from tenant issues. There isn't enough time/space to cover those aspects unfortunately.
04/02/2011 8:35 pm
Troll alert, please give up junior