Study identifies key big society role for landlords
Housing associations should be central to big society work in Scotland, according to a report.
The study, written by Kim McKee from the University of St Andrews, says community-controlled housing associations make ideal anchor organisations for big society initiatives because they are embedded in the community and have the ability to ‘mobilise cross-sector partnerships’.
The report questioned senior housing association staff across Scotland on their view of the big society and found interviewees thought housing associations already filled a community anchor role.
However, funding constraints and a lack of institutional support from within government at both the local and national level meant some community functions could be constrained, the report says.
‘There remained scepticism about why associations needed to adopt a new label for what they did, and also concerns about the level of expectation placed on them by government,’ Ms McKee concluded.
One interviewee commented: ‘If you look at the definition [of community anchors], it could be in forests, it could be a recycling organisation, it could be a faith based group in some communities. So it doesn’t have to be a housing association. It just so happens that in a lot of areas the most robust and sensible organisation is the housing association.’
While the participants were not always happy with the big society rhetoric, they were keen to take on the role of community anchors.