New research points to £130m in potential savings on sector-wide annual repairs bill

29/11/2016

New research from HACT has shown that repair bills can be significantly reduced if tenants are supported into work. Routine maintenance costs the social housing sector in England in excess of £1.8 billion per year, and moving people back into work can help reduce this bill by approximately £130m.

New research from HACT has shown that repair bills can be significantly reduced if tenants are supported into work. Routine maintenance costs the social housing sector in England in excess of £1.8 billion per year (*1) and moving people back into work can help reduce this bill by approximately £130m.

This is a key finding from a ground-breaking research project that asked whether community investment activity has benefits not just to residents and communities, but also to the bottom line of the business. The final report: Community Investment and the Bottom Line: Investigating associations between community investment and housing providers' costs using advanced data science techniques" is being launched at an event on 29 November 2016.

The research found that:

  • Tenants in full time employment are more likely to have between 16-34% lower responsive repair costs compared to tenants on full housing benefit
  • 31% of tenants are unemployed / inactive and another 11% are in part time employment (*2)
  • Based on these figures, if the differences in repair costs observed in this study were extrapolated across the sector, approximately £130 million per year more is being spent on repairs than would be if these households were in full time employment.

The research, involving 6 housing associations, uses innovative data science methods in the first large scale study to quantify the extent to which community investment outcomes are actually associated with lower costs to the business. This work builds on HACT’s previous work on Big Data and its ground-breaking work to quantify the social value of housing provider activities.

HACT’s Director of Research, Mary-Kathryn Rallings Adams, commented:

"Community investment, including helping residents into work has always been viewed as a key expression of social purpose for many housing providers. More recently, community investment budgets have been reduced, and the focus moved towards helping to manage the impacts of welfare reform. We wanted to explore what impact this investment has on the bottom line of housing businesses”

(*1) Source: 2015 Global Accounts of Housing Providers, HCA: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/500858/Global_Accounts_2015_fulll.pdf (Table 2)

(*2) Source: English Housing Survey Headline Report 2014-15 Section 1: Tables, Figures and Annex Tables (AT1.3): https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-housing-survey-2014-to-2015-headline-report

Download this report. You can download this report directly from our website here.