4 September 2012

HACT has announced a new partnership with the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) at the University of Birmingham.  The partnership will support HACT’s developing work on community investment, localism and social impact, and enable the Centre’s research to further support the housing sector.

The partnership will be taken forward by Dr. Patricia A. Jones, the Partnerships and Insight Manager, who will be employed by TSRC but seconded to HACT. She will transfer TSRC’s research expertise into practical support for housing providers. This will provide a rigorous evidence base to underpin HACT’s work in neighbourhoods and communities.  It will also support action-learning programmes; events; and continued collaboration on sector-focused research. 

 Initial priorities for the partnership include the role of housing providers in promoting social enterprise; contributing to neighbourhood and community planning, maximising social impact; and tackling employability and financial inclusion.

“I’m delighted to be formalising this long-standing partnership, which will boost HACT’s capacity and research expertise, and enable us to develop whole new areas of programme research and development”, said Matt Leach, HACT’s Chief Executive. “We are excited to be working with Professor David Mullins, Angus McCabe and Dr. Patricia A. Jones and their colleagues at TSRC.  They are experts in the community role of social housing organisations, and their academic standing and research expertise will enable us to further understand and respond to the challenges housing providers face”.

Commenting on the partnership with HACT, Professor David Mullins said: “This helps us to put into practice thinking that TSRC has developed over several years on the community investment potential of housing providers and enable us to maximise our research impact. We have a long standing trust-based collaboration with HACT, and we look forward to deepening that relationship.”

The partnership has received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP). KTP aims to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board along with the other government funding organisations.

Notes for the editors:

Read more about the partnership here

At the Third Sector Research Centre, this project is part of the Service Delivery stream which aims to inform the debate on the way in which service delivery is developing, the potential role of the third sector in commissioning as well as contracting, and the implications of different approaches to service delivery on the overall impact of the third sector. It builds directly on a think piece commissioned by HACT on community investment and community empowerment roles of housing organisations.

About HACT
HACT is a social enterprise and charity, working with the housing sector, government, civil society and communities to develop and share innovative approaches to meeting changing housing need. They believe housing provides a foundation for changing people’s lives for the better. They seek to influence housing practice and policy to transform lives and strengthen the resilience of communities. HACT aims to deliver with and through others. Partnerships are therefore central to their work. Their contribution comes from bringing people together and sharing ideas, ideals and inspiration to jointly achieve change. www.hact.org.uk

HACT/TSRC Research: 
Community investment by social housing organisations: measuring the impact (March 2012)
This research, undertaken by TSRC and commissioned by HACT, demonstrates the extent to which current approaches to measuring and reporting social value across the sector are fragmented and partial. Yet the impact that housing providers can make is significant, ranging from direct individual economic benefits to broader education, health and employment benefits.
Read the full report here.

About the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme
The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP) aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board along with the other government funding organisations.
Dr. Patricia A. Jones will be supervised by Professor David Mullins and Angus McCabe of TSRC, and Andrew van Doorn at HACT.

About the Award, links to earlier research at University of Birmingham and potential research impact
An award of £165,000 has been secured from the Technology Strategy Board, ESRC and HACT, for a 2 year Knowledge Transfer Partnership to release the Community Investment potential of social housing organisations through research based action learning.

This award provides an excellent opportunity to maximise the impact of the ESRC and Office for Civil Society funded Third Sector Research Centre's work in the field of housing and community investment. Also building on earlier ESRC CASE PhD studentships with HACT and with the National Housing Federation on community investment and housing associations this KTP provides a massive opportunity for research impact at a time of economic downturn and welfare retrenchment. Housing associations work in England's poorest neighbourhoods providing over 2 million homes and spending a further £750 million a year on community and neighbourhood services. HACTs' work on a strategic framework for community investment and an action learning network in partnership with third sector housing organisations provides the ideal platform to achieve wide-ranging research impact.