More than 2,000 people take part in workshops on future of social housing as part of major project

More than 2,000 people have had their say on the future of social housing by taking part in workshops as part of a major project co-sponsored by Riverside.

Nearly 200 groups, including tenants, housing professionals, councillors and other people interested in housing, have taken part in the workshops over the last two months as part of CIH’s Rethinking social housing project. A full range of housing organisations took part across a wide geographical spread; including housing associations, local authorities and co-operatives. And around half of the respondents were tenants.

An online toolkit was made available in January so that anyone with an interest in social housing could take part in a workshop and explore fundamental questions before reporting the results back to CIH.

Over the same period around 760 people completed an online survey asking the same questions which was designed for those who couldn’t take part in a workshop.

Kate Henderson, Riverside’s Head of Strategy and Planning, said: “We’re delighted to sponsor the Rethinking Social Housing project, and to have undertaken a number of workshops across the country.

“Both staff and customers came together in Leicester, Carlisle and Liverpool to share their views on what social housing means to them. Discussions were lively which enabled a wide range of views to be shared.

“We hope the feedback we’ve submitted will support CIH to determine a new narrative for social housing for the future. We look forward to reading CIH’s final report and recommendations in the summer.”

Terrie Alafat CBE, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “We are absolutely delighted and quite overwhelmed with the response that we have had to the workshops and to our survey.

“We said from the beginning that it was crucial for the people who live and work in social housing to lead the debate about its future and it is fantastic to see so many people doing exactly that. We are especially pleased to see such a good balance of tenants and housing professionals get involved.”

Rethinking social housing was launched by CIH in November 2017 and combines original research and engagement with the sector, tenants, politicians and the public to explore fundamental questions about the future of social housing.

The next stage of the project will involve a significant public perceptions survey before the final results of the project along with a report featuring recommendations is revealed in the summer.

The Rethinking social housing project aims to:

  • Stimulate a wide-ranging debate about the future of social housing
  • Make the case for social housing
  • Understand and challenge perceptions of social housing
  • Influence and shape the direction of future housing policy and feed into the government’s housing green paper.

The sponsors of the project are Sovereign, Home Group, Peabody, InCommunities, Optivo, PA Housing, Riverside Group and South Liverpool Homes.

Rethinking social housing will include original research, engagement and polling.

The project’s advisory group is co-chaired by Ken Gibb, professor in housing economics at the University of Glasgow and director the Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), and Paul Tennant, chief executive of the Law Commission and former Orbit chief executive and CIH past president.

The advisory group for the project also includes:

  • JRF
  • Northern Housing Consortium
  • National Federation of ALMOs
  • Association of Retained Council Housing
  • Royal Town Planning Institute
  • TPAS