Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Housing 360 FAQs

Frequently asked questions about CIPFA's Housing 360, new analytical insight tools for local authority housing and housing finance professionals.

Why are CIPFA producing Housing 360 tools now?

Local government has faced funding reductions since 2010. According to the 2018 NAO report Financial Sustainability of Local Authorities, there has been a substantial real terms fall in government funding of 49.1% for 2017/18.

In responding to this funding challenge, CIPFA has not only continued to press for adequate funding but also sought to develop sector led tools such as the Financial Management Code and Resilience Index to support those with responsibility for balancing the budget.

Housing has faced similar funding challenges to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA). During the summer of 2018 the government published its Green Paper on social housing, A Deal for Social Housing, which sets out the basis for future housing policy and extended the Regulator of Social Housing's powers on economic standards to cover local authority housing providers.

This was then followed by further government announcements in October 2018 to expand housing supply by removing the limit on local authority borrowing against their HRA to give credence to local authorities for re-engagement in council house building.

Given borrowing requirements are likely to be rigorously tested against the rigidity of the HRA, CIPFA felt it was important that local authorities and other stakeholders have access to a range of financial and non-financial data services that is related to local authority housing in England. This is essential information for housing professionals in charge of the HRA, regulators and others to ensure the HRA self-financing requirements are in check.

Get top level insight into the national and local housing picture with data derived from CIPFA Housing 360 itself: regional housing briefing [PDF: 343KB] | national housing briefing [PDF: 345KB]

What is the purpose of the profile and model?

The housing interactive profile will provide an interactive dashboard that will enable practitioners to carry out interactive comparisons against different sets of performance indicators using local authorities and sector groupings. These indicators will be based upon statutory data returns such as the Housing Revenue Account (HRA), local authority housing statistics (LAHS), revenue account outturn (RO) and capital outturn return (COR4).

The housing future resources model aims to project HRA financial resources forward to 2026, underpinned by robust trend assumptions informed by the Institute's expertise.

Who is CIPFA Housing 360 for and what geography does Housing 360 cover?

CIPFA Housing 360 is aimed for all involved in finance and housing for their local authorities, particularly senior managers and financial staff when making decisions. Housing 360 contains information and analysis for all English local authorities, including districts, unitary authorities, counties (not in scorecard), metropolitan districts and London boroughs, who have responsibilities for providing social housing.

What do the profile and model include?

The indicators included within the interactive profile are split across seven major streams:

  • Housing stock
  • Lettings and rents
  • Dwellings
  • Finance and reserves
  • Homelessness
  • Housing benefit administration
  • Capital expenditure and receipts.

Given the level of uncertainty for local government finance as a whole and the impact of recent government policy decisions on the HRA, the CIPFA housing future resources model will shape the medium-term funding outlook for the HRA into the mid-2020s by providing a relatively simple model for projecting HRA financial resources forward to 2026.

Finance officers responsible for setting budgets and medium-term financial strategies must make difficult choices based on a number of assumptions. The need for models and tools that can help in medium-term financial planning has never been so important.

The model projects major influential measures having the most impact within the HRA based on various published returns such as the LAHS, HRA and RO. These measures can also be found within the profile but without the forward projections.

What projected period does the model cover?

The model projects funding from 2019/20 to 2025/26.

What assumptions are made?

The model currently allows for two different levels of assumption to be made for each measure:

  1. The first and default option is the overarching 'CIPFA view' – which is our most informed estimate based on the Institute's understanding of the current finance system and of future anticipated changes. It is important to stress that this is only one view – and is no guarantee of what will actually happen.
  2. The second option ('User input') allows users to input their own figures and assumptions based on their own local knowledge and intelligence. Users input their own figures in the Inputs tab for the User input option.

Where can I find additional information on Housing 360?

Via our 'Introduction to CIPFA Housing 360' overview (PDF, 263 KB)) or on the Housing 360 main page.

Can you compare against others?

You can in the profile – please see the authority comparator option detailed on the guidance page.

The first version of the model is set up to select just one individual authority, region or organisation type. However, it is possible to select a combination of region and authority types, eg all district councils in the north west.

Does the profile provide actual figures beyond 2018/19?

No. Given the profile uses external data, the latest available is for 2018/19. Projections beyond 2018/19 are provided in the housing future resources model, going up to 2025/26.

Will Housing 360 be updated?

Yes. They will be updated at least annually to provide the latest available datasets and updated assumptions, projections and improvements to both the interactive profile and future resources model, reflecting feedback and consultation, policy developments and changes to the underlying data.

How does Housing 360 fit into the wider CIPFA offer?

The intention is that CIPFA Housing 360 will become an integral part of the CIPFAstats product portfolio and will be offered free to local authorities with a full CIPFAstats subscription. Housing Advisory Network members receive a discount when they subscribe to Housing 360.

Those authorities who do not subscribe may purchase Housing 360 for £2,000.00 + VAT. View the main Housing 360 page to order the tools.

Please be aware you will need Excel 2010 at least in order to experience the full functionality of Housing 360.

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