National Performance Framework
The impact of social housing
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), has created a Social Value Toolkit. The toolkit will help housing associations and co-operatives measure and increase the social value they create in their communities.
The toolkit was developed by Michael McLaughlin, Social Insight Lead, as part of SFHA’s Innovation and Future Thinking Programme. Here, Michael explains the background to the toolkit’s development and why it has the National Performance Framework at its heart.
What’s the background to the toolkit?
In July 2019, SFHA introduced their Impact Manifesto. This aims to help Scottish social housing providers measure, understand, and grow their social and economic impact in order to make a difference and deliver social purpose. Subsequent research into the social, economic, health, and wellbeing impact of social housing aimed to give an understanding of the impact of social housing beyond delivering homes. And to provide a practical resource for SFHA members to measure that impact.
HACT’s wellbeing approach allows organisations to measure the success of a social intervention by how much it increases an individual’s wellbeing. It enables impact to be measured against the equivalent amount of money needed to increase someone’s wellbeing by the same amount.
Having watched the First Minister’s ted talk on wellbeing, I was really struck by the parallels between the HACT approach and Scotland’s National Performance Framework (NPF). Whilst recognising the importance of economic outcomes, they both propose that success can be measured on more than financial value.
A research paper published in September by the UK Collaborative Centre of Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and HACT articulated this brilliantly. The Impact of Social Housing: Economic, Social, Health and Wellbeing demonstrates that social housing contributes to reducing poverty and homelessness, improving health, and creating jobs. The paper also details how this evidence aligns to the National Outcomes of the NPF.
These significant findings show the real-life benefits to our tenants and society that investment in our sector generates. And emphasises the importance of us being able to measure, demonstrate and advocate this impact.
Building on this work, with partners in the Scottish Government, HACT and member organisations, we produced a toolkit to enable social housing providers to measure and increase their impact.
The toolkit is an easy to use introduction to social value for social housing. It aims to support work across the core indicators of impact such as tenancy support, environment improvements, procurement, and health and wellbeing, Looking at the housing sectors indicators, it is clear that achieving them is vital to meeting National Outcomes.
How can it help right now?
Social housing providers have navigated the coronavirus pandemic in innovative ways. Pivoting their operations in order to provide continued support for, and engage with, their communities, in truly remarkable ways. From remote working to daily welfare calls and online support programmes, staff redeployment, and everything in between. Their ability to create positive impact through their work has continued.
As we move forward in these uncertain times; with the physical and mental health implications of the pandemic impacting more on those already facing notable hardship, it is important that as a sector, we are able to measure and demonstrate the support we provide. The Social Value Toolkit is a step in the right direction. And we are keen that it is extended as far across the sector as possible. This will help ensure understanding and the inclusion of social housing as an even more significant part of any future affordable housing programme.
The launch of our toolkit is by no means the end of the journey for our impact work. Quite the opposite, we are just starting this wider conversation within our membership. And we will continue to work with the UK Social Value Taskforce to develop the use of impact tools within Scotland.
Get in touch with Michael McLaughlin (MMcLaughlin@sfha.co.uk), Social Insight Lead at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.