Professor David Mullins

Professor David Mullins

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Emeritus Professor of Housing Policy

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

David Mullins is Professor of Housing Policy and leads the Housing and Communities Research Group in IASS. He also has links with the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) and the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) in the School of Social Policy. His research interests include the governance, management and regulation of housing, housing need and homelessness, the role of third sector, hybrid organisations and social enterprises in public service delivery and corporate governance.


  • MSc Public Policy, University of Bristol
  • MA Geography, St Catherines College, Oxford
  • BA (Hons) Geography, St Catherines College, Oxford


David has been based at the University of Birmingham since 1989 and until 2011 he worked in the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies where he undertook a variety of research and teaching roles including Director of Research, member of the departmental management team and School Committees and led the Public Service MBA Housing Stream from 2001. He has led over 50 research and knowledge transfer projects for the University, working with Government Departments, Audit Commission, Big Lottery, National Housing Federation, Tenant Services Authority, hact local authorities and third sector organisations.

He was appointed to the Chair in Housing Policy in 2006 and his inaugural Lecture at the University of Birmingham in January 2008 was entitled A Tale of Three Sectors: Organising Non-Profit Housing’. He joined the Third Sector Research Centre in 2009 where he currently leads the housing and service delivery streams. Key publications include After Council Housing, Britain’s new social landlords (with Hal Pawson) 2010, Housing Policy in the UK (with Alan Murie) 2006, Housing and Public Policy (with Alex Marsh) 1998 and Allocating Social Housing, with Hal Pawson and Siobahn McGrath, 2000. He has published in European Journal of Housing Policy, Housing Studies, Housing, Theory and Society, Journal of Housing and Built Environment, Policy and Politics, Policy Studies, Public Administration, Public Policy and Administration, Public Money and Management, Voluntas and The International Journal of Non-Profit Marketing.

He was elected to the Co-ordination Committee of the European Network for Housing Research (ENHR) in July 2008 and is also a coordinator of the ENHR Study Group on Social Housing in Europe: Institutional & Organisational Dynamics. In 2009/10 he was invited Plenary Panel Speaker at the International Sociological Association conference on Housing in Glasgow and expert plenary speaker at EU COST Action TU0701 Improving the Quality of Suburban Building Stock mid-term conference in Malta. He is a member of the Housing Studies Association, the Voluntary Sector Studies Network and the International Research Society for Public Management. He is External Academic Adviser at the City University of Hong Kong (2009-2012) and External Examiner at the University of Coventry (2008-11). He has served on many research advisory panels, and as referee for many journal and grant submissions. He has worked in local authority housing and for the Housing Corporation. He is a board member of South Shropshire Housing Association and trustee of Marches Housing and Charitable Trust.


Postgraduate supervision

Recently completed PhD students  

Joseph R (2003-7) Housing Wealth and Accumulation: Home Ownership Experiences of African Caribbean Families Migrating to Birmingham and London in the period 1950-1970. awarded PhD 2007

Jones P (2006-10). Refugee Community Organisations in partnership: the quest for recognition awarded PhD December  2010.

Sacranie H (2007-10)The changing governance, management and accountability of large non-profit housing organisations Successful viva June 2011

Current PhD students 

Wilkes V (2010-2013) CASE studentship with National Housing Federation, Understanding and Improving the Measurement of Community Investment Activities by Housing Associations”. 

Forrest S (2010-13) Housing Associations and the Big Society.  

Hibbard M (2004-11) PFI and Social Housing. Took responsibility for supervision of write up period of this part time PhD with Tony Bovaird December 2010- December 2011.  

Second Supervisor/Panel Member – 2 additional CURS PhDs (Rayner and Sarip) supervised by Rcky Joseph. 

Van Bortel G(2007-12) Shifts in governance in social housing: a network approach. A comparative study into the position of housing associations in urban regeneration processes in England and the Netherlands. Co-supervision with Peter Boelhouer, Marja Elsinga, OTB Institute, TU Delft.  

Czischke D (2008-12)Understanding Organisational Developments of Social Housing Providers in the European Union. Co-Supervision with Vincent Gruis, Architecture Department, TU Delft.


Third Sector Research Centre (2008-13) Service Delivery Stream Lead 2011. Led housing stream from 2008. Working Papers on housing associations, self-help housing, projects on self-help housing.

Tenant Services Authority Innovation and Good Practice Project. Channelling Efficiency Gains from Merger into Social Performance: a balanced scorecard toolkit. 2008-2010.

Close Neighbours Action Research project with four English and four Dutch HAs (2008-10)

ESRC CASE Awards Understanding and Improving the Measurement of Community Investment Activities by Housing Associations with NHF 2010-13; The changing governance, management and accountability of large non-profit housing organisations with Affinity Sutton Housing Group 2007-10.

Cluid Housing Association, Dublin. Facilitation of Corporate Strategies 2009-12 and 2012-15.

Architecture Department, TU Delft Research Partnership, 2007-9.PhD Co-supervision. Understanding Organisational Developments of Social Housing Providers in the European Union 2010- 2013.

Affinity Sutton Group, Research Partnership, PhD studentships, Innovation and Good Practice Study on Social Performance (2006-2009).

Telford & Wrekin Council (2009/10) Facilitating local Housing and Regeneration Partnership Board events on relationships with housing associations. 

Big Lottery (2010)KT project on neighbourhood regeneration and community engagement to assist Policy and Partnerships Team to prepare for new Big Lottery community funding programme.

CRISIS (2010) Commissioned report of self-help housing and homelessness, as add on to core TSRC funded project on self-help housing.

Building and Social Housing Foundation (2010-11) Contribution in kind agreed by BSHF to TSRC Self-help housing project to fund and run policy influencing event at St Georges, Windsor Castle Dec 2010 . 

Releasing the community investment potential of social housing providers (2012-2014).

Anti-Social Behaviour Models, Peabody (2011-2012).

Community investment: Measuring the impact, HACT (2011-2012).

Third Sector Housing Partnerships: Commissioning new social housing and supported housing in Northern Ireland (2011-2012).

Fifth Tenant Survey for Jephson Housing Association (2011-2012)

North Yorkshire Home Choice: Evaluation of a regional choice-based lettings scheme (2011-2012).

Other activities

Visiting Professor, OTB (2007) Department of Architecture (2008), Technical University of Delft.Research collaboration, PhD supervision and work on joint publications. 

Co-supervisor for 2 PhDs at TU Delft (one in Architecture Department and one in OTB Research Institute).

First Prize in essay competition organised by Dutch housing innovation body, SEV for essay Close Neighbours Not Distant Friends Neighbourhood Focused Housing Associations in England and the Netherlands (with van Bortel, Gruis and Nieboer). 

Plenary Speaker, Australian National Housing Conference, Organising Non-Profit Housing: Some European Experiences; Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia, February 22nd 2008. 

Invited Speaker ‘Evan Walker Discussions’, Melbourne Affordable Housing Annual Lecture, Seven Dilemmas for growth of non-profit housing in Victoria: Learning from Europe? Melbourne Town Hall March 3rd 2008.

Invited Speaker Australasian Housing Institute, University of Queensland and Queensland Department of Housing, 7 Dilemmas for growth of non-profit housing in Queensland: Learning from Europe? Queensland Department of Housing, Brisbane, March 6th 2008.  

Strategy Review adviser to Cluid Housing Association, Dublin, (2009 and 2011) Building on earlier work on non-profit housing in Ireland contributed to strategic plans 2009-12 and 2012-15. 

Coordinating Committee, European Network for Housing Research, Elected for period 2008-2011. ENHR Annual Conference, University College Dublin July 2008. 

Guest Editor European Journal of Housing Policy theme issue on Market Concepts, Coordination Mechanisms and New Actors in Social Housingpublished June 2009.

Guest Editor Journal of Housing and Built Environment special issue on Exploring network governance in urban regeneration, community involvement and integration published May 2009.

Member of Editorial Committee TU Delft/IOS Press for Sustainable Urban Areas Monograph Series (appointed October 2008). 

Invited Plenary Panel Speaker: 'Reactions to the economic crisis: future directions for tenure restructuring in the United Kingdom' International Sociological Association, Glasgow September 2009. 

Invited Expert Plenary Speaker: Mid-Term Conference of EU COST Action TU0701 Improving the Quality of Suburban Building Stock, Faculty of Building and Civil Engineering, Faculty of Built Environment, University of Malta, May 2010. 

Invited Expert Plenary Speaker: Finish Government, Ministry of Housing, Bridge to Living Suburbs Conference, Sibelius Hall, Lahti, November 2010.

Invited Expert Plenary Speaker: Metropolitan Housing Partnership Close Neighbours Seminar. Centrepoint, London, February 2011. 

Invited Expert Advisory Panel member: Orbit Charitable Trust Commission on Housing and Care for the Most Vulnerable Older People. What Can Housing Associations and Older People Organisations Do Together? 2010-11 (Chaired Birmingham event May 2011).

Guest Editor Housing Studies special issue on Social Enterprise, Hybridity and Social Housing to be published Spring 2012.   

Plenary Chair ENHR Conference, Toulouse July 2011. Chairing Plenary Session on International perspectives on social enterprise and hybridity in housing organisations.


Mullins, D and Jones, T (2015), From 'contractors to the state' to 'protectors of public value'? Relations between non-profit housing hybrids and the state in England. Voluntary Sector Review.

Muir, J and Mullins, D (2015), The Governance of Mandated Partnerships: The case of social housing procurement. Housing Studies.

Mullins, D. Czischke, D. and Van Bortel, G. (2014) Hybridising Housing Organisations. Meanings, Concepts and Processes of Social Enterprise. Routledge.

Mills, A. Gojkovic, D. Meek, R. and Mullins, D. (2013) Housing ex-prisoners: the role of the third sector. Safer Communities 12.1, 38-49.

Minora, F. Mullins, D. and Jones, P (2013) Governing for Habitability. Self-organised communities in England and Italy. International Journal of Co-operative Management 6.2, 33-45.

Moore, T and Mullins, D (2013) Scaling-up or going viral? Comparing self-help housing and community land trust facilitation Voluntary Sector Review 4.3 pp 333-354.

Mullins, D (2013) The Evolution of Corporate Governance Structures and Relationships in English Housing Associations. Chapter 11 in Cornforth, C. and Brown, W.A. (eds) NonProfit Governance. Innovative Perspectives and Aproaches. Routledge. 

Mullins, D. and Acheson, N. (2013) Competing Drivers of Hybridity:Third Sector Housing Organisations in Northern Ireland. Voluntas DOI 10.1007/s11266-013-9423-0 available On Line First on SpringerLink.

Mullins D (2011) Community Investment and Community Empowerment. The role of social housing providers in the context of ‘localism’ and the ‘big society’. Consultation Draft June 2011. pp1-55.

Mullins D (2011) What can we learn from the Close Neighbours Project? (pp. 34-37) In Sinn C (ed) Tomorrow’s World Today. Transforming the housing sector. Coventry, Chartered Institute of Housing.

Mullins D (2011) The Reform of Social Housing. Chapter 12 in Raine J and Staite C (eds) The World will be your oyster? Perspectives on the Localism Bill. pp. 89-99. Birmingham, Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham.

Van Bortel G, van Overmeeren A, Dankert R Deuten J Gilmour T Mullins D and Pethia S (2011) Verre vroend of geode buur. Uitdagingen voor buurtgerichte corporaties. Rotterdam. SEV.

Mullins D and Pethia S (2010) Close Neighbours not Distant Friends: An Action Research Project. Birmingham, University of Birmingham.

Mullins D (2010) Giving a Human Face to the Renewal of Suburban Housing Estates. What can we learn from the Close Neighbours Project? In Di Giulio R (ed) Improving the Quality of the Suburban Housing Stock. COST Action TU0701, University of Malta

Pawson H and Mullins D (2010) After Council Housing, Britain’s new social landlords. Palgrave

Mullins D and Pawson H (2010) Housing associations: Agents of policy or profits in disguise? Chapter 10: in Billis D Hybrid Organisations and the Third Sector. Challenges for Practice, Theory and Policy  Basingstoke, Palgrave, pp 197-218.

Mullins D & Murie A (2006) Housing Policy in the UK MacMillan

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