Regulatory compliance within housing departments is one of the most important areas for Housing organisations to get right. From protecting tenants to maintaining the confidence of lenders and driving investment decisions, it is a major responsibility.
Recent investigations have seen the increase of disrepair in social housing. This has led to an influx of housing tenants campaigning and complaining that mould, damp and lack of heating is affecting their health, while they are staying in uncomfortable living conditions. Housing organisations are therefore under pressure to provide an efficient repairs service to their tenants, while trying to tackle the increase of compensation based legal claims.
This has resulted in many housing associations and social landlords starting to look at new technologies to monitor disrepair remotely, reduce paper-based processes and use data from sensors to detect issues in advance. Not only will this save time and capacity from a workforce perspective, but it also ensures all evidence is recorded and enhances the volume and quality of data should a case be brought to court.
Today, technology is ever evolving, and the introduction of modern, intuitive housing repairs solutions are now an enabler to deliver a high standard of service delivery while remaining compliant and responding quickly and effectively to repairs jobs.
Technology such as mobile workforce management, dynamic scheduling, IoT and job management solutions can accurately help repairs’ teams capture information from each visit and prove that the repairs were carried out. It could be a case that repairs staff have turned up but haven’t been able to gain access to a property. These failed attempts are logged which show the worker tried to gain access, and proof of attendance is recorded.
IoT sensor technology can proactively monitor temperature and humidity in their tenants’ property and rectify any disrepair issues occurring before they escalate. The benefits of sensor technology have the potential to far outweigh the costs of numerous legal challenges and claims.
Sensors are able to monitor the tenant’s living environment, gathering data, detecting if there is a risk, notifying the organisation and enabling jobs to be proactively created to tackle the issues before they escalate into a more significant problem.
Additionally, data from the sensors will provide insight into damp issues which could be used to educate and prevent black mould forming. It can also provide evidence to support the defense by highlighting those proactive actions were attempted or taken that helps alleviate blame. Furthermore, when the sensors are deployed, they will also give an indication of fuel poverty by alerting the relevant stakeholders if the temperature in the property is below a certain level.
By implementing technology, Housing organisations can ensure all information is easily accessed and documented appropriately. Information such as completed visits, photos and signatures are accurately captured ensuring housing associations are in a better position to show compliance and defend themselves against claims
Looking towards the future of housing service
By taking a more forward-looking approach to the deployment of technology, your housing department will be able to better manage ongoing work, monitor job progress and identify any risks, as they occur all while delivering a higher standard of customer service. The outcome of this leads to a range of benefits for not only the organisation, but also staff themselves and importantly, the service user
Compliance with standards: enhanced control and increased visibility of the job management process means that risks can be identified and dealt with early, ensuring that the right services are delivered at the right time, while meeting all required standards
Workforce productivity: streamlining processes and automating admin means field workers have more time to spend delivering quality services every day
Service Efficiency: through improved visibility and control of operational costs, organisations can closely track expenditure to ensure an efficient service is being delivered, while identifying areas of inefficient spend and increasing profits
Customer Satisfaction: by delivering services when they are required, enhancing first time fixes and improving communication with customers, satisfaction of service delivery is increased
Digital transformation is not a one-time fix, it is a journey and housing providers should look at the deployment of technology as something that will enable continuous improvements. In order to do this Housing organisations must look to work with technology providers that can provide the ability to continue to support them as they scale. This will help prevent organisations encountering the problem of disjointed, complex IT infrastructure that can impact upon the delivery of service.