Latest investigation:
#WhoBenefits from the housing benefit system?
Watch back: 

Revealed: Taxpayers handing millions to private companies for housing the vulnerable

Up to 79p of every pound of housing benefit paid to house the vulnerable goes straight to private investors, our latest investigation has found

We have investigated a new model which sees companies profit from the uncapped housing benefit that autistic and learning disabled adults are entitled to.

John and Pat Finney, who set up their own housing association because their son is disabled, say the industry is changing and "lots of money" is being made.

This new model is lucrative for private companies but puts housing associations under huge strain, leaving them with very tight margins with which to maintain supportive housing. We’ve heard of some properties that are not fit for purpose.

The model has taken hold in 260 councils across England and investors are now looking to expand to Northern Ireland and Scotland. We are publishing the full list of housing associations entangled in this model — and where they operate. 

We partnered with the Daily Mirror to shed light on this system but there is still so much to dig into — especially how this model plays out locally. We're inviting you all to join us in covering this topic over the coming weeks.

If you'd like to get involved, you can:

  • Join our reporting by using our reporting recipe — this has all our data, leads and even our graphics, all for public use.
  • Share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #WhoBenefits. You can follow our tweets, here.
  • Start a conversation in your area by contacting your councillor, head of housing, or local organising group.

Decolonising the news: watch again

Last week we held our latest Open Newsroom: Decolonising News: Confronting Journalism’s Role in Systemic Racism. It was our biggest digital newsroom yet, with over 500 people in attendance! It really feels like there is an appetite for change. 

Our incredible panel discussed the realities of racism in newsrooms, the negative impact racism has on journalism, and how outdated news values and approaches create and sustain racism. We explored concrete actions that journalists and organisations can take, to help drive anti-racism work in our own newsrooms and wider society.

We want this to be the start of a process in which we build a community of change and would love as many of you as possible to be part of that.

Here's how you can take part: 
  • Watch and share the event. If you missed it or would like to watch again - or share with friends or colleagues - you can find the recording here. You can also access the chat log, which contains working links for all the articles and resources that we shared during the event.
  • Continue the conversation by joining our #decolonisethenews channel in Slack.
  • Help shape our collective next steps and actions by filling in our Next Steps form

Don't forget your Bureau Local perks...

Since the start of the year we have been working to ‘Change the Story’ by pulling together an advisory group, made up of many of you all, to shape the future of the Bureau Local and the wider news industry. This has culminated in a series of resources which will be guiding our work and we hope will be useful to you all as well. While this newsletter is sent out periodically, our day-to-day communication with each other happens on Slack - our online platform. Please join us! Here are few great resources we offer on a regular basis:
  • DailyEvery morning at 10am we share the latest local data released by the government in the #data_feed channel.
  • WeeklyFridays (1-2pm), we hold a Story Clinic in the #newsroom channel. This is a space where you can share stories or ideas you’re working on, maybe get some help or advice and definitely meet like-minded people who care about public-interest journalism. 
  • MonthlyOn the first Thursday of every month (1-2pm), we host an Open Newsroom discussion (on a new topic each month) in the Bureau Local #newsroom Slack channel.

Get in touch

Know about something we should dig into? Get in touch!

PGP: Public key here
Twitter: @bureaulocal 
Slack: #newsroom 

The Bureau Local team
CatCharlesGarethMeganRachel and Shirish

About us

The Bureau Local has been set up by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and is a people-powered network setting the news agenda and sparking change, from the ground up. 

We're made up of reporters, data experts, community activists, open data champions and more, who are passionate about local journalism and the role it should play in holding power to account.

This newsletter gets sent out periodically. For day-to-day communication with the network, make sure you are on Slack - our network platform.
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