Governing Independence and Expertise

The Business of Housing Associations

By Morag McDermont

Governing Independence and Expertise tells the story of the not-for-profit housing sector in England, focusing on its representative body, the National Housing Federation. The story tells of how the Federation and associations influenced their own space of governing by deploying discourses of independence and expertise - how being governed, and governing, become, at times, one and the same. The National Federation of Housing Societies was born in 1935 - out of the apparent failure of housing societies, associations, and charitable trusts - to tackle the 'problem of the slums.' Its story was a familiar one - organizations have often set up collective structures to facilitate intervention in government. Viewed historically, the success of the project is, nevertheless, remarkable, given that the housing association sector is now a major force in social housing provision. Moreover, housing associations have pioneered many programs which are central to the 'modernized' welfare state, such as private finance, independence, and entrepreneurialism. Through the story of the Federation, the book examines the role of non-governmental actors in mechanisms of governing, engaging contemporary debates about public services and the nature of the 'social' - the limits of the role of the not-for-profit sector, the impact of private funders, and the disappearance of the notion of 'public.'

210 pages

Publication Date: 4/9/2010
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781841139890