Some of the most prominent social research conducted by Opinion Research Services (ORS) is in the field of housing. We also offer Housing Training Services including HHSRS, Decent Homes and Energy Efficiency courses to local authorities and RSLs.
Our housing research portfolio includes studies ranging from undertaking detailed and comprehensive Strategic Housing Market Assessments for regional, sub-regional and local housing market partnerships and Stock Condition Surveys for both public and private sector housing; through to undertaking tenant satisfaction surveys for individual local authorities and housing associations. We have also undertaken a number of evaluative reviews on behalf of regional agencies which have considered the development and use of sub-regional Strategic Housing Market Assessments by local housing market partnerships.
We have completed housing research studies for over 100 local authorities and have worked extensively with Registered Social Landlords. Our portfolio of work also includes work for private landowners and developers as well as Government Offices, the Homes and Communities Agency, Regional Assemblies and the Welsh Assembly Government.
We are pleased to say that, following our initial studies, several of our clients have invited us to work in partnership with them on programmes of further work.
The ORS approach to assessments naturally encompasses good practice both in survey methods and in the analysis and modelling of data. Our analysis has always employed a whole-market approach and in working with public and private sector stakeholders, we seek to provide reliable information about regional, sub-regional and local housing markets.
Our studies have increasingly required rigorous data mining, research and analysis across a wide range of fields – and now secondary data is as important to many of our studies as the need for good quality primary data. Indeed, secondary data analysis has formed an essential component to all of our studies – with some based exclusively on further analysis of existing data sources.
All of our work fully satisfies and exceeds the relevant good practice guidance, and recent guidance supports many of the aims promoted by ORS since our first study over 15-years ago.
The following summaries provide an overview of some of the projects in our portfolio of housing studies.
South East England Regional Partnership Board
Working in partnership with Three Dragons and Roger Tym and Partners, ORS undertook a detailed review of Strategic Housing Market Assessments and Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments undertaken by housing market partnerships across the South East region.
Government Office East Midlands and the East Midlands Regional Assembly
A project jointly completed by Savills and ORS on behalf of Government Office East Midlands and other regional bodies in the East Midlands to review the development and use of sub-regional Strategic Housing Market Assessments by housing market partnerships across the region.
East of England Regional Assembly
A quality assesssment undertaken by Savills and ORS to identify innovation and good practice in Strategic Housing Market Assessments that had been conducted across the East of England region, including the production of a toolkit to assist local authorities involved in delivering future SHMAs.
Welsh Assembly Government
ORS was commissioned to undertake an evaluative review of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Homelessness Strategy. Based upon stakeholder consultation with local authorities, Registered Social Landlords and other agencies to review the reception of WAG’s homelessness strategy.
Greater London Strategic Housing Market Assessment
An important all-London assessment commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) to identify the number and mix of dwellings necessary to meet current and future housing requirements across the region. The study builds on the previous Greater London Housing Requirements Study successfully completed by ORS in 2004. Read more...
South East London Strategic Housing Market Assessment
This project involved producing a sub-regional SHMA for five boroughs across South East London. The study was primarily underwritten by 7,350 face-to-face interviews undertaken across Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark. Each borough received a local Housing Requirements Study and then the combined dataset was used to inform an integrated sub-regional SHMA.
Birmingham City Strategic Housing Market Assessment
A Strategic Housing Market Assessment for the City of Birmingham and its six sub-markets, which is fully compliant with all aspects of the August 2007 CLG Guidance. ORS has subsequently been appointed to undertake three detailed Local Housing Market Assessments to profile selected localities across the city.
Exeter and Torbay Strategic Housing Market Assessments
Strategic Housing Market Assessments for the housing market areas of Exeter and Torbay which cover five local authorities and Dartmoor National Park Authority. The studies were based on a combined sample of 3,740 personal interviews and were fully compliant with all aspects of the August 2007 CLG Practice Guidance. Read more...
Neath Port Talbot Strategic Housing Market Assessment
This study was a comprehensive and integrated SHMA undertaken to inform local policies, in particular relating to the housing strategy and investment programme and planning policies surrounding affordable housing provision. Alongside the primary study, we also undertook more detailed analysis of the housing needs of people with support needs, older persons, BME communities, migrant workers and Key Workers.
Milton Keynes Continuous Housing Assessment
A unique project commissioned by Milton Keynes Council and jointly sponsored by English Partnerships to actively monitor the constantly evolving Milton Keynes housing market. 2,400 personal interviews were completed in early 2006 as a base sample for the study, with a further 800 personal interviews are being conducted each subsequent year to accurately monitor annual changes in the housing market. Read more...
ORS has recently established a specialist team specialising in Private Sector Housing that has extensive experience and expertise in undertaking Stock Condition Surveys. We are now pleased to offer these surveys as a stand-alone projects or in conjunction with wider housing research.
Below are examples of previous Stock Condition Surveys previously completed by the new members of our team as part of wider ORS research projects.
Greater Norwich Housing Partnership Private Sector House Condition Survey
ORS was commissioned by Norwich City, Broadland District and South Norfolk District Councils to provide an evidence base for their housing market assessment, to include an analysis of local private sector house condition. Whilst the stock condition survey was undertaken in partnership with pps plc, the colleagues that produced that study have now joined ORS as part of our Private Sector Housing team.
Suffolk Coastal Private Sector House Condition Survey
This project involved producing an integrated assessment of local housing requirements and private sector house condition to properly inform the full range of decisions about housing across the district. ORS was commissioned to undertake the study, and the colleagues involved in its preparation are now working together at ORS following the formation of our Private Sector Housing team.
Guinness Partnership Public Sector House Condition Survey
Working in partnership with Countrywide, ORS has recently undertaken a public sector house condition survey on behalf of the Guinness Partnership. Properties were surveyed from selection of schemes across the UK to inform wider analysis about the landlord's portfolio of housing in these areas.
Derbyshire Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment
ORS was commissioned by Derbyshire Travellers Issues Working Group (TWIG) to undertake a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment to assess the needs of Gypsies and Travellers over the next five years, including the needs of Showmen. The study covered Derbyshire County, Derby City and all of the Peak District National Park. Read more...
Greater Norwich Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment
ORS was appointed by the Greater Norwich Housing Partnership (Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk Councils) to undertake a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment for the sub-region. Within two months of commission, ORS had successfully completed 99 interviews with Gypsies, Travellers, Showmen and New Travellers across the area - more than 7-in-10 of all local households.
Neath Port Talbot Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment
ORS has undertaken two comprehensive Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments for Neath Port Talbot as part of wider, integrated Strategic Housing Market Assessments. Personal interviews were achieved with over half of the Gypsy and Traveller households resident in the County Borough and Travelling Showmen on-site for the Neath fair.
Dover District Council: Local Development Framework (LDF) Public Consultation
This multi-staged project employed a range of methodologies to support the development of Dover DC’s 20 year vision and spatial strategy for the District, as formulated in their LDF and Local Plan documents. Following an initial scoping exercise including a postal survey and eight focus groups, 600 face to face interviews and six further focus groups exploring specific proposals were conducted.
Further Research Projects
Are we there yet?
Measuring the Housing Association contribution to local communities
An important study which considered the relationship between what RSLs invest in a community and the subsequent outcomes for Local Strategic Partnerships. The study was able to demonstrate correlations between what RSLs do and National Indicator outcomes, providing detailed Neighbourhood Profiles to benchmark how quality of life for RSL communities compared against similar areas elsewhere. Read more...
Affordability of Intermediate Housing in Newham
ORS was commissioned by the London Borough of Newham to better understand the potential demand for affordable home ownership across the borough. The study sought to profile the population of Newham in terms of affordability and the way in which personal incomes changes with age. The survey made innovative use of existing data sources and also used econometric techniques.
Study of Black and Minority Ethnic Housing and Support Needs in Northamptonshire
This study was undertaken on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council in partnership with the county’s constituent local authorities. The methodology combined secondary data analysis with qualitative research techniques in order to better understand the housing and support needs of Black and Minority Ethnic communities across the county, including modelling the predicted growth in the population.
Coastal Housing STATUS Surveys
ORS has been working in partnership with Coastal Housing (and formerly Swansea Housing) for a number of years. We have conducted a range of proejcts, including periodic tenant satisfaction surveys compliant with the requirements for benchmarking against the standardised STATUS survey.
Knightstone Housing Survey of Internet Usage
ORS was commissioned by Knightstone Housing to survey their tenants about their current and planned use of the internet both in the home and elsewhere. The survey also gathered views about the Knightstone Housing website and suggestions for future improvements.