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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

More than 2,000 take part in Rethinking social housing workshops


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 CIH 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 CIH project.

Nearly 200 groups, including tenants, housing professionals 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.

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.

“We knew that we wouldn’t be able to reach so many people if we ran a series of more traditional roundtables and that is why we developed the online toolkit so that people could facilitate their own debates.

“Many of the organisations taking part have told us that, aside from contributing to this flagship CIH project, they have valued the opportunity to take time out to talk and reflect about the role and purpose of social housing today and their part in providing it.

“To see so many people come together to have their say on the purpose of social housing and generate crucial evidence for the Rethinking social housing project in the process is excellent.

“We will now begin the process of collating and interpreting the data we have received and we are already moving on to the next stage of the project which involves gauging public perceptions of social housing.”

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 Society 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

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