Liverpool housing association pairs with LJMU for new culture project

The Innovate UK-backed project will see Cobalt Housing work with academics at LJMU to transform its organisational culture.
An exterior shot of Cobalt Housing's office in North Liverpool.
Cobalt Housing’s office in Liverpool. Credit: Cobalt Housing

The Liverpool housing association Cobalt Housing will team up with academics at Liverpool John Moores University for an Innovate UK-backed organisational culture project.

The Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) will aim to improve tenants’ quality of life through innovative engagement and community-centric partnership models, enhancing community wealth and area regeneration.

The two-year project ‘Healthy Homes – Healthy Tenant – Healthy Community’ will see the 6,000-home landlord work with academics from four departments at LJMU to carry out multiple strands of tenant, community and regeneration research and innovation.

The mKTP is one of the first multidisciplinary mKTPs in the UK and the first in LJMU’s history as it is led by the university’s School of Psychology rather than a business school.

The project will help Cobalt achieve several of its strategic aims including understanding its tenants’ needs, providing quality places to live, and creating value for the wider community.

Alan Rogers, chief executive at Cobalt Housing, said: “Now, more than ever, we need to understand what services people will want in the future and how they will access them. It will allow us work with academics from across LJMU to develop our staff and tenants in an innovative fashion, bringing support and expertise from health, business and the built environment.

“This ground-breaking work will allow us to combine valuable research with practical delivery that will bring improvements to people, places and help us develop an effective partnership approach to deliver lasting change.”

The mKTP will transform Cobalt’s organisational culture by creating and embedding organisational skills and competencies, procedures and infrastructure that will allow it to implement its strategic aims.

The project will initially assess Cobalt’s business operations and stakeholder relationships before using these insights to create a transformation model for the housing association.

The ‘scalable and transferable’ model will help Cobalt to become a sector-leading housing provider, improving the quality of life of its tenants and allowing it to significantly enhance community wealth and area regeneration.

The mKTP will develop new sustainable, leadership coaching and management skills across the company and create new internal processes and infrastructure to effectively support its new culture.

The knowledge Cobalt will acquire will allow it to provide training and consultancy across the housing sector, sharing its expertise and developing new revenue streams.

Kieran Timmins, chair of the Cobalt Housing board, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that two Liverpool anchor organisations will be working together in North Liverpool to deliver innovation straight from the research lab to our tenants and neighbourhoods. We can then assess the effectiveness in an academically rigorous way using all the expertise that LJMU can bring.”

Dr Lisa Newson, programme leader of the MSc in Health Psychology at LJMU, said: “Working with local business to improve our communities is at the heart of what we do at LJMU. I’m looking forward to partnering our friends at Cobalt Housing in applying some of the latest research to solve their problems and improve their organisational culture.”

Cobalt manages and maintains 6,000 homes across North Liverpool. It was formed in 2003 following a stock transfer from Liverpool City Council, and demerged from the organisation now known as Onward in 2017.

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