A close relationship between local authorities and housing
associations will be crucial to meet housing need, according to a
new best practice research guide by ARCH, the Chartered Institute
of Housing (CIH) and housing association VIVID.
Building Bridges, launched in Westminster on 25 September
recommends local authorities and housing associations partner more
closely in a number of major areas, including new systems to
establish affordability in their areas and jointly-funded systems
to manage allocations and lettings.
Local authorities and housing associations across England were
interviewed and visited as part of the research guide, which ARCH
worked to produce with CIH and housing association VIVID.
It explores the tensions between local authorities and housing
associations and makes a series of recommendations on how they
could work together more effectively, as well as outlining a series
of proposals to government to allow their relationship to
Terrie Alafat CBE, the chief executive of the Chartered
Institute of Housing, said: "It is clear that the potential in
local authorities and housing associations working together is huge
and it has never been more important for these two sets of
organisations to be close partners.
"Building Bridges showcases some great examples of local
authorities and housing associations working extremely closely to
make sure people in their communities get access to a decent,
"Unfortunately this is not a consistent picture and we
desperately need to maximise the potential in this relationship if
we are going to tackle the housing crisis.
"It is true that much of the tension between councils and
housing associations has its origins in government policy, and in
the guide we have made a series of recommendations on how
government could act on this.
"But this research also highlights that by working together more
closely and sharing resource councils and housing associations can
make sure the right homes are built in the right places."
John Bibby, chief executive of ARCH, said: "The government has
recognised that the housing market is broken and there is an urgent
need to increase the supply of new housing across all tenures to
meet the housing needs of current and future generations -
particularly for affordable housing.
"There are undoubtedly some tensions between what should be very
strong partners - much if it caused by government policy. It is
essential that we build bridges between the two sectors and ensure
local authorities and the housing association sector work together
if we are to provide the safe, decent and affordable housing that
our communities need. This report points the way to how we can
Mark Perry, chief executive of VIVID, said: "People are at the
heart of why we need to increase and improve our capacity to
provide many more truly affordable homes.
"Homelessness in our country is unacceptable so housing
associations and local authorities need to embrace and appreciate
each other's differences and move forward to deliver stronger, more
innovative housing solutions together, as recommended in this
guide. By doing this we can make the most of our partnership and
start to make a real impact on the wellbeing of our
Recommendations to councils and housing associations in
the new guide include:
- Work in partnership to develop a Local Housing Affordability
Framework (LHAF) to identify the required mix of homes and agreed
targets in terms of number of homes and range of rents for each
- Work together at a local level to develop a new, more dynamic
system for allocations and lettings for which the cost is
- Work more closely on homelessness; jointly collecting data on
street homelessness and increasing engagement with other
organisations to support vulnerable homeless people
Recommendations to the government include:
- Make the building of homes with rents that are genuinely
affordable to those on low incomes a central policy objective -
promoting the idea of the new Local Housing Affordability
Frameworks a key way to deliver this
- Ensure welfare reform measures align with housing policy on
affordability - in particular that they do not prevent low-income
households from having access to affordable housing
- Make it easier for councils to dispose of land so that they
have more freedom to facilitate affordable housing supply
- Increase the amount of grant available for the building of new
homes at lower rents
Download copies of the summary report and the full report for free.