Each year, the majority of Housing Associations registered with the Housing Corporation were required to complete the Corporation's Regulatory and Statistical Return (RSR). This was important because it provided the Housing Corporation with key data used in its approach to regulating the sector. As well as collecting data about the core rental stock the survey also collected information about wider activities such as low cost home ownership and other leasehold management activities, plus key management information, for example about staffing. The RSR thus provided a potential time-series of data on the HA sector in England from 1989 onwards. However, the data were used mainly for producing annual reports and the Housing Corporation did not hold the data in a way that facilitates longitudinal analysis. Furthermore in 2002 the approach to data collection adopted by the RSR changed radically and as a result a new time-series of data commenced from that year.
The research team at Dataspring therefore constructed two linked relational databases with which longitudinal analysis of this rich data source can be carried out. This can be used to both historically to provide evidence of trends and to promote forward-looking scenario planning for the future of the sector. Outputs from this project also include variable 'maps' showing the changing structure of the RSR through time, a technical Briefing Paper outlining the creation of the databases and linking tables, a short series of Briefing Papers giving examples of time series analysis on themes linked to data from different Parts of the RSR and a fuller report that includes background to the policy, financial and regulatory changes that underlie changes in the HA sector since 1989.