UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Social & Political Sciences

Abstract

The Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) will be an independent, multi-disciplinary and multi-sector consortium of academic and non-academic stakeholders. CaCHE will be UK-wide in coverage (across all four nations and at different spatial scales within), as well as UK-level in focus. It will advance knowledge and improve the evidence base for both housing policy and practice in all parts of the U.K.

CaCHE will be organised as a "hub and spoke" network with its administrative core in Glasgow and a physical presence in all 5 sub-national knowledge exchange hubs in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales & the South West, the North & Midlands, and London, East & South East. Additionally, our six research themes will cross cut the different geographies depending on relevancy and appropriateness. The management team will be responsible for overall strategy, operational delivery, co-ordination, data navigation, research and KE. The management team of three academics (Gibb, Watkins and Orford) will be supplemented by a senior non-academic lead on knowledge exchange and communications (Smart), plus a full time programme manager, KE and communications, administrative and technical support staff. The evidence centre and its management team will be accountable to a funders group and an international advisory board.

The main consortium members are the Universities of Glasgow, Sheffield, Bristol, Cardiff, Ulster, Reading, Sheffield Hallam, St. Andrews and Heriot-Watt, along with the National Institute of Social and Economic Research, CIH, RICS and the RTPI. The consortium has a lengthy list of institutional and individual collaborators at regional and national level and our activity will be supported 'in kind' and direct contributions from additional partners including Crisis, the Wheatley Group, NatCen, Shelter, Rightmove and several more. Our consortium also has specific project plans with four complementary ESRC investments: Urban Big Data Centre, What Works Scotland, Public Policy Institute for Wales, and the ADRC-Scotland, and will seek to collaborate with others including the What Works Centre for Wellbeing.

Initially, a five year programme, CaCHE will seek to become self-financing sustained beyond this period. It will do so by regular scanning of opportunities with partners, and by also being impactful and influential through a combination of rigorous evidencing, prioritised across six research themes, which in turn will generate a new primary research agenda to be prosecuted by the evidence centre.

A key way in which relevance and credibility will be sustained is through the comprehensive nature and persistence of our knowledge exchange and collaborative working with non-academic stakeholders. We will repeatedly utilise an innovative collaborative working practice - the Tobin Project Process - in order to build a consensus through rigorous and intensive examination of the key questions and priorities exercising non-academic partners and our stakeholders nationally and in each region. In this way, we will co-produce our evidence review and research strategy priorities and will fully engage, mobilise and disseminate findings with academic and particularly non-academic groups through our network of networks (i.e. drawing on existing networks of contacts via our non-academic and academic partners).

CaCHE will promote and support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work and invest in knowledge exchange training for staff to maximise the impact of our multiple dissemination channels: non-technical briefing, summaries, academic and trade publications, targeted technical reports, high standard non technical international evidence review, blog posts, tweets, audio and visual pod casts, roadshows, seminars, conferences, workshops and media contributions. The evidence centre will support an extensive programme of staff secondments, promoting mobility between the academy and the policy and practice communi

Planned Impact

CaCHE will maximize social & economic impact nationally and regionally, such that it has every opportunity to influence housing policy and practice. Knowledge generation, translation and exchange will be central both to our activities and how we are to be assessed. CaCHE will have a physical presence in Glasgow, Sheffield, London, Cardiff & Belfast. Our work nationally and regionally will be systematically co-produced with non-academic stakeholders through prioritisation of key questions with which to address evidence gaps, develop research agendas, and collaboratively deliver our KE activities & impact objectives (see Pathways to Impact).

Nationally and in each of the five regional KE nodes, we will develop a housing system approach to identifying a wide range of active non-academic collaborators (and reaching out to disseminate to their professional, membership & community networks). We expect the work to benefit national and devolved governments, local government, the different parliaments and public agencies (such as the Bank of England and the Cabinet Office), as well as housing organisations and their trade bodies in the public and third sectors (including regulators and, for instance, homelessness charities). Key trade bodies include CIH, RTPI, RICS, HBF, Design Council Cabe, and the NHF, as well as regional equivalents. Our work will be directly useful to professionals and the private sector - developers, agents, landlords, advocacy bodies, architectural practices, lenders, policy think tanks and consultants. The centre will also be important for tenant bodies, community groups, wider consumer interests, and special interest groups including those that champion housing for older people and sustainable housing solutions. A fuller list can be discerned from our extensive set of non-academic collaborators and partners. Staff from CIH, RTPI and RICS will be CIs within CaCHE and others including Shelter and the Wheatley Group, from the third and public sectors, and Rightmove and Retties from the private sector, will be partners.

The 3 main ways the non-academic partners will benefit from the work are: (i) playing a full role co-producing the review and research agendas so that they are consistent with their own reasoned priorities - in this way, the NAPs will 'own' the agenda; (ii) accessing all of the subsequent accessible and non-technical outcomes of each theme-based set of outputs including KE events and workshops regionally and nationally; and (iii) drawing on the policy and practice evidence in their own organisations and to shape and influence locally, regionally and nationally - indeed, we believe that the nodes themselves will become on-going policy fora for regional policy reform.

The primary ways that CaCHE will ensure impact is maximized is by delivering a series of integrating activities:
- Tobin workshops to set priorities;
- KE workshops including evidence festivals, policy reunions, evidence to action events, strategy labs and international policy transfer workshops
- A series of inward and outward-facing secondments
- Specific policy governmental and parliamentary engagement across the UK
- Public engagement programmes designed by CaCHE and also with complementary ESRC investments.

CaCHE will employ a critical mass of 6 dedicated knowledge exchange and communications staff (3.9 FTEs) along with the Director of KE and communications to manage and oversee the stakeholder engagement work of the centre, following good practice in order to broker and translate evidence across the UK. Our budget is 22% impact focused (or 38% including indirects).

The legacy of the proposed activities will be supported by developing long lasting evidence networks, seeking leveraged funding to support the continuation of such networks formally, and also through developing and supporting websites, repositories and the data navigator hub after the funding life of the evidence centre ends.

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