Pride in Place Project Concludes with Co-Creation Workshop

Over the last few months the Northern Housing Consortium and our members Blackpool Coastal Homes, Karbon Homes, Livv Housing Group, MSV Housing Group, and Yorkshire Housing have been working with Thinks Insight and Strategy, the leading research agency founded by Deborah Mattinson, currently the Labour Party’s Director of Strategy, on Pride in Place: Housing at the Heart of a Rebalanced Country.

Making the most of the sense of community and belonging prevalent across the North, as well as empowering residents themselves, will play a key role in supporting all areas of the country to thrive. As part of the NHC’s work, we’re committed to underlining the importance of our members to any national agenda looking to reduce local and regional inequalities. Pride in Place is central to that work, and has brought together residents from both the social and private rented sectors together to understand what pride means to them, what makes a place enjoyable to live in, and the role we all need to play whether the community directly, NHC members, or national government.

The fieldwork for the project concluded last Wednesday at a Co-Creation Workshop hosted by Yorkshire Housing. Ten residents were joined by stakeholders representing organisations with a part to play in making great places including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities. Each were tasked with working together to identify and co-create potential solutions and initiatives that could improve pride in an area. Through the workshop, we wanted to learn what residents prioritised for areas like theirs across the North and how we could all contribute.

Findings from this workshop will inform the development of recommendations, both to the sector in how we engage communities on our placemaking work, but also to Government, showcasing the full breadth of how NHC members contribute to regeneration in the broadest sense, tackling inequalities, and overall, improving community belonging. You’ll soon be seeing the NHC at Party Conferences in the Autumn and November’s Northern Housing Summit will see the launch of our final report.

Residents Across the North Come Together to Talk Pride in Place

From Benwell to Blackpool, Moss Side to Skipton, and Prescot in between, the last few weeks has seen the Northern Housing Consortium’s Member Engagement and Policy teams on a true northern tour. We’ve been joining our members Blackpool Coastal Housing, Karbon Homes, Livv Housing Group, MSV Housing Group, and Yorkshire Housing as part of Pride in Place, our research project placing residents at the heart of the discussion on what a rebalanced country should look like at the local level. Partnering with leading global insight and strategy consultancy Thinks, we’ve brought together around 50 residents, including social and private sector tenants, across five locations to hear what ‘pride in place’ means to them, and how we can all work together to make a positive impact in neighbourhoods across the North.

The work continues against a backdrop of current and prospective Governments fleshing out their approach to the intertwining issues of civic identity, inequality, and the social fabric. The Government’s Levelling Up agenda has in many instances been built around the idea that “the most powerful barometer of economic success” is the “positive change” people see and “the pride they feel in the places they call home”. The Secretary of State’s latest intervention on housing underlines the role of both people and place; democratic decision-making and working in partnership to enhance local character. Similarly, the Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy has been at work advancing Labour’s plan for regional rebalancing, rooted in the local and built around the core themes of economic resilience, labour market connectivity, environmental sustainability, and communal as well as personal wellbeing.

But notions like pride and belonging are loose terms that can mean many things to different people. The NHC’s recent Rebalancing Webinar Series displayed the full role NHC members play as vital anchor institutions cutting across, for example, physical improvements to the built and natural environment, skills and training support, and community initiatives that empower local residents. With many acknowledging the difficulties in defining, measuring, and evaluating local pride. The NHC initiated Pride in Place as part of our work, alongside our members and their residents, to highlight to all political parties the contribution of our members to making great places.

Devised by Thinks with guidance from the NHC and partner members, workshops were designed to learn more about how people in different neighbourhoods across the North felt about their areas and their views on what makes an area worth living in; what participants prioritised in their lives and the role of different groups in delivering on those priorities whether NHC members, the third sector, Government, and residents themselves. In a final task, participants worked together on a series of ‘desired outcomes’. If they oversaw a hypothetical centralised and fragmented funding pot, where would it be spent? Who would need to be involved? And what could the community take charge of right now if they were empowered to do so? This wasn’t necessarily about identifying individual projects, but thinking broadly about the future people would hope to see for areas like theirs across the North.

We’re incredibly excited to share more, but this is only the end of Stage 1. We’ll be soon joined again by participants from each Workshop location to share common themes and learning as well as work collaboratively with invited stakeholders to develop key pillars of pride. Findings from both these sessions will inform the development of recommendations to the sector in how we engage communities on our placemaking work, but also to Government, showcasing the full breadth of how NHC members contribute to regeneration in the broadest sense, tackling inequalities, and overall, improving community belonging. You’ll soon be seeing the NHC at Party Conferences in the Autumn and November’s Northern Housing Summit will see the launch of our final report.

Pride in Place forms part of the Northern Housing Consortium’s work to ensure housing sits at the heart of a rebalanced country. Further updates can be found on the NHC’s dedicated Rebalancing Webpage. If you have any further questions please contact Liam Gregson, Member Engagement Manager –

NHC launches Pride in Place Project in Partnership with Members

We may not hear about ‘Levelling Up’ as much as we used to, but the underlying principles of the agenda remain. Indeed, ‘Pride in Place’ has proven to be one of the more resilient ideas found in the Levelling Up White Paper published little over a year ago. All political parties are developing their own policies to tackle local inequalities and restore the social fabric of communities. Whilst Party Manifesto’s may be a little while off yet, much will be place-based, and people-centred.

The local dimension of inequality is very much the focus of politicians, policymakers, and academics all looking to improve areas perceived as ‘left behind’, grappling with issues like civic identity and an areas’ ambitions. A welcome legacy of the White Paper is the space that has opened up for community anchors to think differently about their roles in communities, and the intertwining issues of improving housing quality, regenerating town centres, and how all this corresponds to residents’ sense of pride or belonging.

Here at the NHC, we’re working with members to ensure that housing, and housing providers, are valued in this work. After all, housing providers have a central role to play in working collaboratively across areas and sectors to support thriving neighbourhoods, including empowering and working with communities directly.

That’s why we’re pleased to announce the launch of the NHC Pride in Place Project alongside Blackpool Coastal Housing, Karbon Homes, Livv Housing Group, MSV Housing Group, and Yorkshire Housing. Inspired by the innovative work of the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury, we’ll be engaging directly with residents across the North explore with residents the relationship between their home, how they feel about their neighbourhoods, and the potential for collaboration between landlord, tenant, and other stakeholders to make tangible contributions to boost pride in place at the neighbourhood level.

In the coming weeks and months we’ll be sharing more about the project and it’s research. To keep up to date, visit the NHC’s dedicated Rebalancing Webpage:

Decent Homes Review – sign up for updates

The Review of the Decent Homes Standard has been underway since early 2021 – and the Northern Housing Consortium are part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Review Sounding Board.

With a consultation on extending the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector having concluded last year, the NHC are expecting the Review of the Standard itself to pick up pace in coming weeks.  During the passage of the Social Housing Regulation Bill, Ministers also pledged to bring forward a consultation on a regulatory standard for energy efficiency in the social rented sector, within six months of the Bill receiving Royal Assent.

The NHC are therefore expecting the next few months to be a critical period to influence the development of both initiatives, and to ensure we have ambitious and deliverable standards to take us into the 2030s.  Commenting, NHC Executive Director (Policy and Public Affairs) Brian Robson said, “We welcome the Government’s commitment to bringing forward a new Decent Homes Standard to replace the current 2006 version. Energy efficiency will form an important part of updates to the Standard, and the NHC is therefore

encouraging the Department to bring these consultations forward in parallel, in order that social landlords can provide holistic and considered feedback.”

 NHC members can sign up for updates direct from the NHC’s policy team, ensuring that you are kept up-to-date on the progress of the review, and get to shape our response. If you’d like to receive our Decent Homes Review update, please email


APPG Hosts Minister for First Session of 23/24

Monday 13th March saw the All Party Parliamentary Group for Housing in the North reconvene for 2023 / 2024. The Group, which brings together Parliamentarians from all parties and both Houses together to discuss and advance northern housing policy, successfully held its AGM and opened the new year hosting a Ministerial dialogue with Lord Callanan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance).

Chair Ian Mearns MP, Member of Parliament for Gateshead and Chair of the influential Backbench Business Committee, confirmed to the Group of his intention to continue as Chair alongside all other returning officers. It was noted that Kevin Hollinrake MP and Richard Holden MP were to reluctantly withdraw formal involvement in the APPG following their appointments as Parliamentary Under Secretary of States in the Department for Business and Department for Transport respectively.

The APPG meeting was held under the theme of “Delivering Housing Quality in the North”. Chair Ian Mearns MP opened the meeting noting the pollical consensus behind the drive to ensure every single person lives in a home that is decent, safe and secure. Not just a moral right, the Government’s Levelling Up agenda is right to assert that housing sits at the heart of physical and mental wellbeing, contributes greatly to the sense of belonging to a community, and offers a strong foundation from which to participate in the local economy.

Despite these imperatives however, Ian put forward that housing decency remained a persistent challenge citing analysis from the Northern Housing Consortium’s annual Housing Monitor that non-decency in the North of England sat at 17.6%, above the national average of 15%. With that figure in mind, and with progress on a new Decent Homes Standard slowing, it was vital that the APPG bring stakeholders together consider delivering housing quality across all tenures.

Lord Callanan was attending the APPG for the second time, having also spoke to the Group in October 2021. He used his opening remarks to underline the important connection between improving housing quality and energy efficiency. He discussed Government support to date, from households to date and outlining on further programmes to come covering Homes Upgrade Grants / Boiler Upgrades, the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Energy Company Obligation, skills and training in the supply chain. In a wide ranging Q&A attendees, including many senior leaders from the NHC membership, Lord Callanan discussed a variety of barriers to upscaling retrofit, including hard to treat properties, challenges in skills and the supply chain, and the specific issues found in the Private Rented Sector.

Following Lord Callanan, a series of stakeholders had been invited to share their thoughts on how to effectively deliver housing quality in the North. Firstly Charlie Norman, Chief Executive, MSV and Vice-Chair of the Northern Housing Consortium discussed the work and recommendations of the Better Social Housing Review. She highlighted both the technical challenge of repairing homes but also the underlying equality issues. It was important for the sector to lean into some uncomfortable truths. Following Charlie, Michael Marshall from the University of Sheffield shared insights from the report Lessons from Last Time: A Review of Evidence on the First Decent Homes Programme in the Social and Private Rented Sectors. Michael advocated for a holistic approach to decency, moving beyond the front door to make homes and neighbourhoods climate-conscious and pleasant places to live. Finally, Steve Coffey, Group CEO of Torus, built on Michael’s remarks by sharing his experiences of the first Decent Homes Programme. He welcomed that the discussion on creating decent homes and neighbourhoods had become a non-party political point but this could go further. Homes are the foundations of people’s lives, and investment whether in decency or energy efficiency should be organised in tandem to bring economic uplift through skills, training, and well paid green jobs.

For more information on the APPG for Housing in the North and to access the post-meeting pack for this and other meetings of the group, please visit the APPG’s dedicated webpage:

New analysis shows case for unfreezing Local Housing Allowance in next week’s Budget

The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), which represents housing organisations in the North, is calling on the Chancellor to use next week’s Budget to uprate Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to provide a lifeline for struggling renters in the North.

The NHC and others welcomed the decision from government last November to protect the most vulnerable in society by increasing benefits in line with inflation in April. However, one key benefit was missing, Local Housing Allowance – which provides support for those renting in the private rented sector. This remains frozen at 2020 rates, limiting the support available to private renters and adding to cost of living pressures across the North.

Rents have risen across the North since the LHA was frozen and analysis from the NHC’s Northern Housing Monitor shows that only 7% of 2-bed rentals advertised in the North are affordable for someone reliant on Local Housing Allowance to pay their rent. These increases have accelerated over time with huge gaps emerging between rents and what people are entitled to receive from the LHA. New analysis from the Northern Housing Consortium shows that for a three-bedroom family home to rent in Tameside and Glossop, the gap between real rents at the 30th percentile (as determined by the government’s Valuation Office Agency) and the frozen LHA is now £24 a week – £104 a month, or £1,248 a year.

The NHC say the Chancellor must re-set the Local Housing Allowance to cover at least the 30th centile of local rents, and then relink the benefit to the real cost of renting for future years.

Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium said:

This continued freeze on LHA impacts many different households – from people living alone, or in shared accommodation, to couples and families. Tenants need to find the extra money from somewhere, and people are now having to make a choice not just between heating and eating but keeping a roof over their heads. Councils in the North are particularly worried about the LHA freeze as it’s resulting in homelessness presentations and driving up the use of temporary accommodation.”

Dave Richmond Chief Executive at St Leger Homes of Doncaster said:

“The government have worked hard to support local authorities to tackle homelessness, but when it comes to the issue of welfare benefits being sufficient to pay for private rents they seem to be asleep at the wheel. In Doncaster we are seeing more people needing council housing because they simply cannot afford to rent privately. This isn’t people being choosy, but an inability to find any private home that meets their needs at the LHA rate.

“Whilst Doncaster has 20,000 council homes the private rental sector is larger and unfortunately only a small proportion of those private properties are affordable to people on benefits. As a result we are placing more people in temporary accommodation, including hotels until we can find them a suitable alternative. The impact on the public purse is concerning, but more concerning is the impact on families of having to live in such a way.”

The long-term solution to this crisis is more affordable housing – but the government needs to act now and use next week’s Budget to uprate Local Housing Allowance to protect private renters in the North.

Northern Housing Markets Outlook with JLL 2023 – Event write-up

International real estate company JLL gave a session on market trends in housing on the 22nd February 2022. The session was hosted by NHC with involvement from members in the roundtable. From JLL, we had Marcus Dixon and Paul Winstanley, who gave insights into the economic insight into the housing market, the PRS and the situation in social housing. The session was chaired by Dave Richmond, chief executive of St. Leger Homes.

The session began with an introduction from Marcus Dixon with an economic narrative giving a breakdown of what is happening in different areas of the housing market. Mr. Dixon informed the roundtable of key headlines, such as the fact that housing prices have risen significantly over the past two years, with a 27% rise compared to pre-pandemic. Similarly, when looking at the private rented sector, JLL predicts that rents are predicted to grow by 15.6% over the next 5 years. JLL highlighted that it is the poorest households who will be impacted by any financial instability, and according to their presentation around 40% of those in the lowest income bracket rent through either a housing association or a local authority. Finally, the presentation ended with information around the highlighted living priorities for people, in terms of things that are important for people in terms of what they look for in a home. These include; Access to green spaces, close to public transport, Broadband, Energy efficiency and space for home office.

Secondly, Paul Winstanley gave an update on what is happening in the private rented sector, informing the group that regulatory factors are having an impact on the financial viability of landlords in the PRS sector and they’re being asked to do more and more. The key headline from this presentation is that landlords in the PRS are valuable as they increase the amount of housing available on the market. However, now, landlords are leaving the markets due to increasing pressures, and this is having an impact on the amount of housing going forward. Mr. Winstanley highlighted to the group that there needs to be consideration for the PRS alongside affordable housing to help solve the housing crisis.

Finally, there was a questions and answers session chaired by Dave Richmond, with questions from the group asking about regional differences in the market, age profiles of potential buyers, the situation for social landlords and homelessness. JLL gave their insight into the questions and answers informing the group of trends that are appearing in each of these questions.

The NHC would like to thank JLL for their participation in the event, particularly Marcus Dixon and Paul Winstanley for their engagement with the group and for their presentations. If you would like to find out more about the Roundtable with JLL, please contact Liam Gregson, Membership Engagement Manager



National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Consultation – NHC Member Roundtable 9th February, 10.00 – 11.30

Prior to Christmas an early present from Government came in the form of the consultation package Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy. In addition to a revised National Planning Policy Framework ‘prospectus’, the Government is also seeking views on National Development Management Policies, further policy to support the levelling up agenda, and how national planning policy is currently accessed.

The consultation ends at 11.45pm on 2 March 2023 and the suggestion from Government is that a response can expected by Spring 2023. The intention is that NPPF revisions will be published as part of this response “so that policy changes can take effect as soon as possible”. The Government also promises a wider review of the NPPF, to follow Royal Assent of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. “The government will consult on the detail of these wider changes next year, reflecting responses to this consultation”, the planning reforms consultation says.

The NHC will be responding to the consultation on behalf of members and will be holding a short consultation meeting Thursday 9th February, 10.00 – 11.30, online via Zoom. 

Please register via MyNHC using the link below and please do help us reach as many interested people as possible by sharing the invite and link.

If you wish to submit comments to be included in the NHC’s written submission, please forward them by 10th February to

Karen Brown

NHC / Ward Hadaway Safety in Neighbourhoods Network holds Partnership Working and Data Sharing Roundtable

This month the NHC and Ward Hadaway’s dedicated Safety in Neighbourhoods Network held a special session focussing on improving partnership working between housing providers and other local agencies.

Partnership working and information sharing are key to tackling ASB effectively, ensuring that the full extent of the issues are known and the most informed decisions can be made by key stakeholders. Doing so maximises the chance of an early and satisfactory resolution. Whilst important, it is often cited as one of the main barriers when managing ASB cases. Indeed, it is common topic of discussion amongst NHC members at the NHC Safety in Neighbourhoods Network and a priority area of focus for 2023.

At the meeting the Network was joined by Janine Green, an award winning specialist in community safety and anti-social behaviour (ASB). Janine’s presentation focussed on fostering good partnership arrangements at a neighbourhood level, in and across organisations. She discussed the practical ways members could make best use of multi-agency working from stakeholder mapping, establishing shared priorities, being proactive in building relationships, and creating a culture of accountability.

Joining Janine was Clare Paterson of CP Data Protection, a consultancy specialising in data protection and sharing. Clare gave an overarching presentation highlighting the necessary features of good practice in sharing data across organisations. Her presentation touched on the legal basis of data, the stakeholders involved in data collaboration from controllers to processors, and the agreements that should be in place between each. In understanding the key differences between data processing and sharing, organisations can ensure they are legally compliant in their activities. Overall, Clare shared with attendees the key principles behind effective data storing and sharing.

After each presentation Janine and Clare took part in discussion with Network attendees. Members discussed the strategic and operational challenges of working in collaboration with other neighbourhood agencies. A key theme was the growing importance of cross-sector working with health agencies and role of mental health and addiction in rising ASB. The Network agreed that this would be the topic of a future meeting.

The Northern Housing Consortium and Ward Hadaway’s Safety in Neighbourhoods Network is a quarterly meeting for NHC members working in, or with an interest in, anti-social behaviour and wider community safety issues. Sessions are member-led and benefit from the input of colleagues at Ward Hadaway. Come to hear good practice from within the NHC membership, presentations from key external speakers, and network with colleagues dealing with similar issues.

 To be informed of future Safety in Neighbourhoods Network meetings please request to be added to the mailing list by emailing


Janine Green ASB:

CP Data Protection: