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A new report from the New Local Government Network in association with the Capsticks LLP, Peabody and Moat argues that there are substantial opportunities offered through enhanced service collaboration between councils and housing associations. Doing so will allow both to achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes.
While there are good examples at present of them working in partnership, too often these can be short term arrangements, because of perceived and real barriers that get in the way of embedding a culture of collaboration. These barriers must be overcome to help partnerships flourish. The pooling of staff, intelligence, training and data will also help to develop a shared culture.
The benefits would be seen in savings to both partners, but more importantly in improved, wraparound services for residents – especially those with multiple and complex needs.
As well as recommendations to help attune the culture of both sectors towards greater integration, the report also includes useful, practical tools to ensure successful collaborative working. These are simple steps that both partners can use to develop joint strategies to deliver for their residents.
Research author, NLGN’s Head of Policy and Research Laura Wilkes said:
“There is huge scope for collaboration between councils and housing associations as long as they work through their misperceptions about each other’s culture, practices and priorities. Where collaboration is working well, it is because of a real sense of shared outcomes based around the needs of the users as well as the benefits to the organisations involved.”
Elizabeth Austerberry Chief Executive of Moat said:
“Housing associations and councils are always looking for better ways to deliver meaningful outcomes for communities. This is quite a challenge in an environment of diminishing public sector funding. We think that partnerships – in which we share ideas, resources, and information – can form a significant part of the solution. Given the diversity of the housing association sector, we need to look for strategies that are founded on existing strengths to deal with local issues; partnerships offer the perfect set-up for us to do so.”
Stephen Burns, Executive Director, Community Investment, Peabody said:
“We welcome this report, and its findings on how local authorities, health providers and housing associations can work better together. The report confirms our belief in the power of partnership working. By working together we have seen the progress that can be made in our shared goals to alleviate poverty and create opportunities for the people we serve.”
Susie Rogers, Partner, Capsticks LLP said:
“The benefits of, and barriers to, integration have been well documented. Seeing participants from across housing, health and local government working together to break down those barriers has been a fascinating process, and an opportunity to see real collaboration at work. We have come out of the experience feeling even more positive about the opportunities ahead.”