Standards of evidence in housing

Producing evidence of the effectiveness of interventions

The Standards of Evidence have now been published. Please see the links below to the individual elements of the standards.

Each of the documents in the Standards of Evidence serves a different purpose. The main aim of the Standards is to provide an agreed process that people can consistently use to produce evidence of the effectiveness of their interventions. Two of the papers are particularly helpful for this:

Producing Evidence of Effectiveness: A guide to the main steps (Front cover)Summary guide

A short document introducing the main steps in the process. This document will be useful to anyone wanting to gain an overview of the main steps in the process, without the full technical details of the specification.

Producing Evidence of Effectiveness: A guide to the main steps

Standard for Producing Evidence – Effectiveness of Interventions – Part 1: Specification (front cover)Specification

The detailed definition of the process, with all of the steps covered in full. This document will be of use to people who want to follow the process defined in the standard in full.
Being drafted as a formal standard the intention is to provide a consistent process for producing evidence of the effectiveness of interventions. In order to ensure that all the requirements are clear and unambiguous, the style of this document is deliberately relatively 'dry', although each of the individual requirements and recommendations should be relatively understandable.

Standard for Producing Evidence - Effectiveness of Interventions - Part 1: Specification (StEv2-1)

HACT will be providing training and developing further materials to support organisations to make use of the standards. The focus of these will be on supporting people to use the relevant parts of the standard.

The other materials act to support this:

General Requirements for Evidence – Part 1: Vocabulary (Front cover)Vocabulary

A glossary of many of the terms used within the Standards. Where possible we have used the most common or self-explanatory terms to refer to things, with this vocabulary giving you the option to look up terms where needed. This is mostly intended as a reference document to define the terms used in the standards.

General Requirements for Evidence – Part 1: Vocabulary (StEv1-1)

Standard for Producing Evidence – Effectiveness of Interventions – Part 2: Explanation and Elaboration (Front cover)Explanation and elaboration

A document that explains why each of the steps in the process has been adopted. This will be of interest to people who want to understand a bit more about why the various steps are there, but is not required reading for following the process.

Standard for Producing Evidence – Effectiveness of Interventions – Part 2: Explanation and Elaboration (StEv2-2)

The project outputs are applicable across all areas of housing providers’ activity, and will be especially relevant in relation to housing with care, support and health, due to the particularly high evidence needs in these sectors.


HACT was funded by Public Health England and a group of leading housing associations to develop standards for producing evidence in the housing sector. Motivated by a shared commitment to building the evidence base of the sector, we are committed to developing this body of work to improve our ability to understand the real impacts of our activities.

The social housing sector as a whole has, to date, not focused enough on the creation and use of evidence that seeks to answer the question: ‘what works?’ Project evaluations more commonly adopt practice example approaches, which might help to understand how the project benefitted some of those it engaged with, but do not seek to provide a robust causal understanding between what the project did and whether this achieved its outcomes.

This lack of evidence of effectiveness of housing providers’ interventions limits their ability to demonstrate conclusively the benefits that they deliver, and ultimately means that they do not know whether they are maximising the impact they can have with their resources. Whilst this is problematic in all areas of housing providers’ activities, it becomes a particular constraint on business improvement and development when the growth opportunity is in a sector that places higher emphasis on evidence in its decision-making.

Housing providers, strategic commissioners and their partners across health and social care will also struggle to ensure that their resources are directed at those interventions that have the greatest impact and offer the best value for money. Whether developing offers for new markets, such as health, maintaining and developing existing offers in social care and housing support, or improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the business to ensure its own value for money, a more robust evidence base will place housing providers in a stronger position in an increasingly competitive environment.

The project

HACT organised a series of workshops, produced working papers, and engaged with relevant experts to support the development of a set of standards. The resulting standards were published in draft in October 2015 and final versions in February 2016. A series of working papers were also published on this site (see below).

To be kept informed about the roll-out of the standards, or to discuss any other ideas about developing the evidence base of the housing sector, please email Daniela Mothci (

Working papers

Working paper 1: Introduction to research methods and considerations of their relative strengths

Working paper 2: State of evidence-based practice in other sectors


We have posted a few articles in relation to this project on the HACT blog. Please see the articles tagged with ‘evidence’ to access these updates.

Supported by

  • Bromford
  • Look Ahead Housing and Care
  • Metropolitan
  • Sanctuary Group
  • Trafford Housing Trust
  • Public Health England

Engage with us on our Standards of Evidence work

We would really like to engage with organisations looking to further explore and understand evidencing.

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