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Acting on Localism

Forthcoming publication examining the potential of expanding the social and civic role of housing associations

Given the concentrations of stock holdings owned by housing associations in many of our poorest communities, their commitment to the sustainability of community and neighbourhood is crucial. Beyond the basic provision of new homes and planning, social landlords have come to undertake responsibilities that further embody their true social role. Under the Localism Act and changes to public service procurement, housing associations will hold a greater potential to take this much further, extending and radicalising the character of ‘social housing’ for years to come.

By invoking their experience of managing services and with a strong financial base, social landlords will be able to bid to provide a broader range of services currently being undertaken by other bodies, particularly where changes in public service procurement offer new possibilities for community involvement. This could involve working with or acting on behalf of local communities to support them in taking on local services and assets. Housing associations hold the potential to invest in substantive social outcomes and thereby deliver significant social returns, supporting and working with those within their vicinity.

In response to the Localism Act, taking into consideration also the Public Services (Social Value) Act and ongoing reviews to procurement procedures, this project will identify the various opportunities and challenges that either prevent or further enable housing associations to ‘act on localism’. The research will set out a series of practical ways in which housing associations might become more active and significant social and civic players, and most importantly, what central and local government must do to make this happen.

The project emerges from our Models and Partnerships for Social Prosperity workstream, one of the three core workstreams of the ResPublica Trust. If you would like further information, please contact Caroline Julian, Senior Researcher and Project Manager, caroline.julian@

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Detailed Summary

Date Published
08 May 2012

Models and Partnerships for Social Prosperity