Recent publications

Here you can find all the latest research reports that HACT has published.


Creating a blueprint for a new way of working 

November 2021

This paper provides an insight into the opportunity for closer partnership working between health bodies and the housing sector both nationally and at a place-based level. In understanding the environment across these two sectors, HACT aims to describe how the public health team serving Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes are working with local housing associations and other agencies to deliver public health objectives in partnership, producing change by positively influencing the health and quality of life within its communities.


All About You

Published: April 2021

HACT have published a review of Cotman Housing’s project All About You, which aimed to support carers of people with dementia to be more physically active. The report identifies key learnings from the project.

Keeping it Local

Published: April 2021

HACT have worked with Town & Country Housing and Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, to produce a report into the role of place-based partnership working in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on employment support.

Paid in full: putting residents in control

Published: March 2021

This White Paper examines rent-flex, a platform that enables residents to develop and agree their preferred, individual, schedules of rent payments for the year ahead. 

The evidence from the proof of concept pilot indicates that rent-flex could help housing providers reduce the costs of rent collection, improve cash flow forecasting increase visibility of rental income and target tenancy sustainment initiatives at those most in need. It could also transform the landlord-tenant relationship by creating a joint planning approach to the management of rent payments, whilst simultaneously improving residents’ financial resilience, health and wellbeing, and giving them greater control of their finances and lives.

Changing research in social housing

Published: February 2021

The second report from our RCT programme run in partnership with JRF, this report looks at how the theory behind RCTs has been put into practice, with an emphasis on the practical application of RCTs in the social housing sector.

It pulls together experiences, learning and reflections from RCTs that have been designed and delivered by housing providers.

Career opportunities

Published: January 2021

Commissioned by Regenda, this White Paper examines how housing organisations can work with health and care organisations to alleviate workforce issues. The NHS is the largest employer in the UK. Prior to Covid-19, there were over 200,000 job vacancies in health and care organisations. Filling these vacancies, as well as those created as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on existing members of staff, is a huge challenge.

A Sector Together

Published: December 2020

An anthology of stories, statistics and viewpoints that capture how social housing organisations responded to the Covid-19 pandemic across the UK. A Sector Together includes stories ranging from a children’s cooking project in Gloucester to a motorcycle prescription delivery service in Gwent, from activity packs in Cornwall to food vans with built-in Wifi in Glasgow, as well as statistical evidence about the sector's impact.

Optimising resident feedback

Published: December 2020

Network Homes commissioned HACT to research how resident feedback could be put to more meaningful operational use. This report goes further and proposes a resident feedback framework we believe can be applied across the social housing sector.

The value of furniture

Published: November 2020

In this research study, HACT provides insights drawn from a particular intervention aimed at tackling furniture poverty. The study assesses the impact of NFS, a furniture service operating as a subsidiary of Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), the ALMO of Newcastle City Council, who also commissioned this study.

HACT Social value roadmap

Published: September 2020

Social value is an intrinsic part of our sector’s DNA. It is central to our collective social purpose. HACT's social value roadmap was developed to enable the social housing sector to use social value information to improve services, enhance decision-making and increase the impact we make.

Places after the Pandemic: exploring social landlord's role in the future of places

Published: September 2020

This report published by Placeshapers and HACT draws on insight from more than 100 organisations to show how housing associations adapted during the national lockdown and played a key role as community anchors. It goes on to explore how social landlords are fundamentally reviewing their work and their role in places as we look to the future.

The impact of Social Housing: Economic, Social, Health and Wellbeing

Published: September 20202

This report was written by UK Collaborative Centre of Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and HACT for the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), Public Health Scotland, and the Rural and Islands Housing Associations Forum (RIHAF). It brings together evidence on the impact and value of social landlords’ housing and wider services.

The impact we've made: March - June 2020

Published: August 2020

This third set of impact measures show that between March and June 2020, UK social housing organisations representing 40% of the sector provided almost £1,000,000 in financial assistance, provided over 110,000 residents with advice and guidance, and made over 600,000 welfare calls.

Mental health and housing: A strategic plan for integrating housing and mental health across Sussex

Published: July 2020

The Sussex Health and Care Partnership is a new integrated care system. To enable them to move forward with housing, health and social care integration, they have developed their first mental health and housing strategy with help from HACT.

Breathing Space: an evaluation of Orbit's mental health programme

Published: July 2020

In this report, we evaluate Orbit's Breathing Space programme, which has made a positive impact on the lives of service users and brought about positive improvements in mental health. The report includes a number of recommendations that have been incorporated into the revised version of the service.

Earn it, don't burn it: an evaluation of Orbit's financial support programme

Published: July 2020

In this report, we evaluate Orbit's Earn It, Don't Burn It programme, which has made a positive impact on the lives of service user across a range of financial literacy outcomes, including having enough money knowledge and finding best deals behaviour. The report includes a number of recommendations that have been incorporated into the revised version of the service.

Responding to the crisis: an evaluation of A2Dominion's response to the Covid-19 pandemic

Published: July 2020

In this report, we evaluate A2Dominion's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and make a number of recommendations about the organisation's future operating policies. The report is the first in-depth research into the response of a social housing organisation to the Covid-19 crisis. 

The impact we've made: March - May 2020

Published: July 2020

This second set of impact measures shows that between March and May 2020, social housing organisations representing over a third of the sector provided almost £500,000 in financial assistance, made almost half a million welfare calls and identified just over 175,000 vulnerable residents.

Understanding the social impact of hyperfast broadband

Published: June 2020

A whitepaper exploring the measuring and development of social value in housing associations and local authorities, published by Hyperoptic with HACT and Simetrica-Jacobs.

The impact we've made: March - April 2020

Published: June 2020

This first set of impact measures show that during March and April, social housing organisations representing a quarter of the sector made over a quarter of a million welfare calls, and identified over 120,000 vulnerable residents.

Do the Smart Thing: the future of the smart social home

Published: May 2020

In this White Paper, we examine some of these pilots to see how far the sector has engaged with IoT technology. We then look at some of the barriers to its wider implementation. We finish by highlighting the potential benefits of the social smart home for residents and communities.

Changing Research in Social Housing: the role of RCTS

Published: March 2020

This report outlines progress so far in the use of RCTs in the social housing sector. It provides guidance on when to use RCTs either as an alternative to, or in conjunction with, other research methodologies.

The report is the first of two that draw on the learning and insights from a project run in partnership with JRF with the aim of raising the profile of RCTs in the social housing sector. 


Social prescribing: incorporating London's major housing associations into the GLA's Next Steps for Social Prescribing

Published: July 2019

The report was commissioned by the GLA, who asked HACT to help them engage with the social housing sector in London. It outlines the role of housing associations and their relevance to social prescribing, identifies the key players in London that are best placed to engage with the social prescribing agenda, and looks at how best to take this engagement forward. The report has been used to inform the GLA’s forthcoming next steps for social prescribing strategy. 

Get Engaged: Testing different communications methods for engaging and retaining social housing customers

Published: August 2018

Results from two randomised control trials (RCTs) that were conducted in partnership with Hyde Housing Group.

The first trial tested the possibility of maintaining the engagement of customers from the point at which they were referred to the support service until they received support. The second trial tested ways of improving engagement with hard-to-reach tenants. 

Rethinking Customer Insight: Moving beyond the numbers

Published: August 2018

Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research, this report examines customer satisfaction and concludes that social housing needs to adopt a new approach to the issue.

The research was funded by bpha, Catalyst, Equity, OneManchester, Peabody, settle and Trafford Housing Trust.

Love sport: An evaluation of Sanctuary Group's sport and physical activity programme

Published: July 2018

Authors: Frances Harkin, Christina Knudsen

Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, this evaluation examines the outcomes for participants of Sanctuary Group's Love Sport programme, as well as the social value generated. It also evaluates the delivery approaches taken by community partners to understand what worked well, and what was less successful.

Valuing Housing and Local Environment Improvements using the Wellbeing Valuation Method and the English Housing Survey

Published: January 2017

Authors: Jim Vine, Mary-Kathryn Rallings Adams, Christina Knudsen, Ricky Lawton, Daniel Fujiwara

Using Wellbeing Valuation, this project analysed data collected through the English Housing Survey. The approach enables monetary values to be placed on the impact of housing provider activities around core housing; it does this by investigating the associations between attributes of the home, including its surroundings, and individual wellbeing.

Community Investment and the bottom line: Investigating associations between community investment and housing providers’ costs using advanced data science techniques

Published: November 2016

Author: Jim Vine, Christina Knudsen and Phillip Goddard

This research, involving six housing association partners, attempts to quantify the extent to which community investment outcomes are actually associated with lower costs to the business.

The analysis used in this report utilised advanced data science methods – known as propensity score methods – to ensure that like-for-like comparisons were made between the people in different categories. Individual results were produced for each housing association, identifying the relationships between the different statuses and costs for their tenants.

Social Sustainability: A White paper for Your Housing

Published: December 2015

Author: William Howard

The purpose of this paper is to clarify the concept of ‘social sustainability’ so that housing providers will be able to determine (from a position informed by evidence) the elements of social sustainability they can positively affect in the neighbourhoods and communities in which they work.

Procurement and Social Value: A White Paper for Wandle

Published: October 2015

Author: William Howard, David King, Frances Harkin

The aim of this white paper is to explore practice and regulation around the incorporation of social value in the procurement process and inform procurement activity at Wandle. 

Transforming care pathways for people with dementia

Published: October 2015

Authors: David King, Amy Swan, Lindsey Livney, Peter Molyneux

This report written in partnership with HACT builds on the National Housing Federation's 2013 publication Dementia – finding housing solutions and subsequent work that has been carried out through their strategic partnership work with the Department of Health. Housing associations are ideally placed to help health and social care commissioners deliver this change; promoting more integrated service pathways, applying the best evidence to practice, and co-designing support packages with individuals to ensure better health outcomes.

Community asset transfer: A toolkit for housing providers

Published: September 2015

Authors: Mary-Kathryn Rallings, Frances Harkin

Housing Providers typically own a range of Community Assets including land and buildings. The management of these Community Assets is a significant part of Housing Providers’ Community Investment activity, yet little is known about the strategic approach they take when managing a portfolio. Affinity Sutton asked HACT to conduct this research and produce this toolkit in conjunction with three Community Organisations that were pioneers of Affinity Sutton’s Community Asset Transfer approach.

The Wellbeing Value of Tackling Homelessness

Published: September 2015

Authors: Daniel Fujiwara, Jim Vine

This research breaks new ground in exploring key issues around homelessness using rigorous statistical methods to place monetary values on the impact of tackling homelessness. A new large longitudinal dataset – Journeys Home – was used, enabling us to assess the impact of moving between different housing statuses on life satisfaction and the effect of accessing support services on housing status.

The health impacts of housing associations' community investment activities: Measuring the indirect impact of improved health on wellbeing

Published: May 2015

Authors: Lizzie Trotter, Jim Vine and Daniel Fujiwara

Affinity Sutton, HACT and SImetrica have previously deployed the wellbeing valuation approach to create the Social Value Bank, the largest robust and consistent set of monetary values for social outcomes. In the earlier work, the analysis controlled for the effects of health, calculating values that represented the direct effect of outcomes (such as gaining employment) on people’s wellbeing. However, many outcomes might also improve people’s wellbeing indirectly, by improving their health, which in turn improves their subjective wellbeing.

Approaches to tenancy management in the social housing sector: Exploring new models in the tenant-landlord relationship

Published: September 2014 

Author: Mary-Kathryn Rallings

There has been recent controversy over new approaches to tenancy management that formalise engagement with the landlord as part of the tenancy agreement, reward/sanction behaviour, and/or introduce fixed-term tenancies. At their core, these new models ask fundamental questions about the nature of the tenant-landlord relationship. How are the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords defined? What does ‘independence’ mean in the context of providing support for tenants? 

HACT investigates these questions in a new research report. This report concludes that there are several important elements to both support-based and rewards-based models, including recognising links between community investment and tenancy management, focusing efforts on pre-tenancy work, and capitalising on existing expertise within the organisation to help housing officers succeed in increasingly demanding roles. This report serves as an important starting point for discussion, conceptualising different angles of the debate as well as analysing whether these models intimate a cultural shift.

Strategic approaches to employment: Responding to change in the sector

Published: July 2014

Authors: Mary-Kathryn Rallings, John Coburn

This report follows HACT's year-long action-learning programme with eight participating housing providers. It offers a glimpse into the broad array of employability activity within the sector, and showcases the resources invested in supporting tenants into employment. All of these activities suggest that housing providers are looking at the challenges around employment, considering the implications of welfare reform, thinking creatively, and critically exploring different responses.

If you're interested in commisioning HACT to carry out research on your behalf, please get in touch with Mary-Kathryn Rallings to discuss your requirements in further detail.