Community investment by social housing organisations: measuring the impact
Survey Report for HACT, March 2012
This research, undertaken by TSRC and commissioned by HACT, provides an up to date picture of the measurement tools being used by housing organisations to measure the social impact of community investment activities. It shows wide variation in the approaches used.
While there is general recognition of the importance of measuring impact, there are also concerns about cost, approach and potential duplication. The report will enable more sharing of evidence about different approaches to impact measurement and what works in terms of community investment.
The report is based on a telephone survey undertaken by Vanessa Wilkes. It maps the approaches being taken by more than 30 social landlords who have begun to use tools that enable them to assess the value of their community investment activities.
Key findings show that this is a complex area with no easy choices. Organisations that have developed in-house tools are generally less satisfied than those using external tools. But there are a wide variety of external tools in use, only one of which is specifically designed for the sector. Most organisations are not satisfied that the outcomes measures used adequately measure impact and are constantly revising them. There is a strong interest in measuring joint outcomes, for example where housing associations join with other agencies to invest in neighbourhood based initiatives, but very little existing practice.
Full research report (PDF) | Summary report by HACT (PDF)
The TSRC survey report will inform further work by HACT to share learning amongst housing providers
TSRC has also been working with the National Housing Federation through an ESRC CASE studentship held by Vanessa Wilkes. The Federation’s Neighbourhood Audit to be published in Summer 2012 will provide the first overview of the level of community investment activity by the housing sector since 2008.
Vanessa Wilkes and Professor David Mullins