In mid 1996, the Flemish social housing sector began the process of introducing management contracts into the management and government control of the sector. Management contracts are being prepared between the Vlaamse Huisvestingsmaatschappij (VHM - Flemish Housing Corporation) and the Flemish Government, and between the VHM and the local social housing associations. The VHM wishes to prepare thoroughly for the introduction of management contracts, both through its own scientific research and through intensive consultation with and involvement of all stakeholders. The Hoger instituut voor de arbeid (Higher institute of labour studies) of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) has been asked to conduct academic research into and to guide the preparations for the management contracts. At two one-day seminars (in February and March 1997) these results for Flanders were placed side by side with experiences gained in Wallonia, Brussels, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. In this way no less than six social housing systems are compared in terms of contract management and performance indicators. The aim of publishing the presentations from these two one-day seminars is to allow those taking part in the debate to become informed at first hand about the concepts, arguments and lines of reasoning which are used. One important lesson from experiences elsewhere was that detailed discussion and training is one of the success factors in the introduction of management contracts. In this publication, the path that the Flemish social housing sector wishes to pursue can be compared with directions which have been taken in Wallonia, in Brussels and elsewhere. Meanwhile preparations for management contracts in Flanders have progressed further, and draft texts are now ready for discussion. During the coming months and years they will be a constant focus for attention in the sector. This publication seeks to provide a few points of reference. We feel sure that a number of them will also be useful as a guide. By publishing the presentations in English, the initiators also wish to promote international exchanges of experience in this area. This idea has been supported and partly put into practice with the help of the Housing Corporation in England.