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Local Authority Direct Provision of Housing

*Update 20/11/19: we have just published practice advice on local authority direct delivery of housing, which draws on the 2017 and 2019 research. You can read it here.

As increasingly recognised across the main political parties and commentators, one major reason for the 'housing crisis' is that local authorities ceased their role of direct housing providers in the 1980s. Since then, the shortfall in housing provision has mirrored thePhase 2 Cover scale of the former local authority contribution to the market.

In 2017 and 2019 the RTPI published two pieces of research to explore how local authorities are returning to housebuilding in England. The ultimate aim is to understand the role of planning in facilitating the delivery of affordable and high quality housing by local authorities. This will mean we can (1) develop practice advice to promote best practice, and (2) develop recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders to enable local authority housebuilding to flourish.

Both phases of the research were led by Professor Janice Morphet and Dr Ben Clifford at The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. The first phase was sponsored by RTPI along with the National Planning Forum [final report here]. The second phase was funded by RTPI, RTPI North East, RTPI North West, RTPI West Midlands and RTPI South East [phase 2 summary report here].


Practice advice on local authority direct delivery of housing (2019)

This practice advice draws on learning from the two pieces of research discussed below along with other evidence and expertise. It is a call to action for local authority planners to help push forward local authority direct delivery of housing, and a guide for how to do so. Download the advice here.


Phase 2 (2018-19): Local authority direct delivery of housing: continuation research

The second phase of this research describes the scale and range of local authority delivery and provides learning on delivery, outcomes and best practice. It is a mixture of desk research, roundtables in every English region with local authority planners, and 13 case studies of particular local authorities.

Related documents:


Phase 1 (2017): Motivations, methods and means

The phase 1 report showed the practical ways in which local authorities in England were delivering housing. It mapped out a variety of innovative ways that more housing was being provided by the public sector at a time of significant pressures on local authority budgets.

Related documents

The research team can be contacted at: