Case Study – Housing Co-Ops

Challenge: Housing co-ops have struggled to make progress in Scotland, despite evidence that they can offer people better, cheaper and safer accommodation. Public Affairs Co-op client Co-operatives UK (the membership organisation for co-operative enterprises across the UK) was keen to move the issue up the Scottish policy agenda, examining and removing barriers to the creation of further housing co-ops.

Solution: PAC helps organise the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Co-operatives at the Scottish Parliament, which provides a platform for MSPs and others to increase awareness of the co-operative model and its contribution to Scotland’s social and economic development. PAC suggested taking evidence from successful housing co-ops at a CPG meeting to kick-start an inquiry into housing co-ops in Scotland, leading to a report.

Result: PAC conducted research into housing co-ops across the UK, then visited successful housing co-ops in Scotland to conduct interviews and take photographs. This real-life evidence of the economic and social impact of housing co-ops was published by the CPG in a report, Shared Space: How Housing Co-Ops Build Communities

Impact: The report was launched at a meeting of the CPG on Co-operatives and followed by a debate on co-operative housing in the Scottish Parliament.  Members of the CPG have met the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government and is meeting with Scottish Government officials to input into the ‘housing to 2040’ policy agenda.

Testimonial: “Public Affairs Co-operative helped re-invigorate the Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and their idea to produce the Shared Space report really helped push housing co-ops up the Scottish policy agenda. It meant high-quality research and case studies went into the hands of MSPs who have grasped this agenda enthusiastically. It led to time in the Scottish Parliament schedule to debate the importance of housing co-ops and how they make a real difference to people’s lives. Public Affairs Co-op helped us influence public policy in Scotland in a positive, tangible way.”

Ed Mayo, Secretary General,
Co-operatives UK