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Issue 15. October 2019
 
 
 
Dear contact.firstname

Welcome to the October 2019 In Brief!

This month, our team had a successful trip to Derry/Londonderry to attend the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) Annual Conference 2019. It was great to meet so many of our members over in Northern Ireland and to hear more about the pressing issues there such as welfare reform and supporting people budgets.

At the event, NIFHA launched an important report: ‘Benefits to Society’. Its key message is that the social housing sector contributes more than £1 billion to the economy of Northern Ireland each year, and that this positive impact could be more with increased spending and policy changes. The opening statement Safe, quality homes are the foundation stones on which we build our lives, families and communities’ is an important reminder of why the social housing sector exists and what good performance really means.  

With major changes to the benefits system gathering pace, local authorities and housing associations continue to work hard to support tenants to navigate the transition from legacy benefits to Universal Credit. We are launching a new event to help organisations manage these changes – there is more on this below!

HouseMark provides a range of solutions to help you achieve outstanding performance. As well as our modernised data and business intelligence platform, we also have a wide range of clubs, events and consultancy projects available. To find out more, please contact amy.horeckyj@housemark.co.uk, or call 0131 281 2048.
 

In this edition:

 

New event: Latest policy updates and best practice at our Welfare Reform in Housing event 

Whether it’s maximising individual and family income to sustain vulnerable tenancies, or focusing hard on ensuring income collection rates and arrears do not adversely impact Business Plan viability, landlords are increasing looking to network with peers to learn and share expertise regarding changes to welfare reform.

This event provides the opportunity to hear directly from experts on a range of policy, strategic and operational practice.

At the event, we will explore:

  • The insight and impact of latest policy from Westminster with Sam Lister, CIH
  • How landlords are preparing for managed migration with Trafford Housing Trust
  • How to effectively support increasingly vulnerable communities with a housing led Wellbeing Service
  • Unlocking community resilience with Chris Chinnock, Nurture Development
  • The view from front-line in relation to mitigating the impact of Universal Credit

Limited places available, allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. HouseMark members receive a discounted rate. Non-member rate also available.
 

View the preview programme and book your place at our website.

If you have any questions, please contact Monika Gouws: monika.gouws@housemark.co.uk.

 

'Overwhelming' response to STAR review shows sector's commitment to customer satisfaction 

HouseMark has released the findings of two significant pieces of sector-wide research as part of their STAR review. Following an overwhelming level of response from both landlords and residents, demonstrating the sector's commitment to customer satisfaction, the research phase has now ended.

‘Capturing the customer voice’ shared the findings from a sector-wide survey completed by more than 250 providers from across the sector, including Northern Ireland, of all types and sizes. The key findings from a survey of close to 8,000 residents, one of the largest resident consultation exercises carried out in recent years, have also been shared. The surveys were complemented by telephone interviews and regional workshops with landlords and residents.

The sector’s top ten requirements for a new customer satisfaction framework have been identified. You can read them here


“There has been overwhelming interest from both landlords and residents in HouseMark’s STAR review, demonstrating the sector’s focus and commitment to improving customer satisfaction. Providers want to be able to measure resident feedback effectively and use it to drive service improvements, and there is a clear desire from residents that their voices are heard, and feedback is acted on.

“Higher customer expectations, new technologies and an appetite from landlords to listen and respond to resident feedback represents an amazing opportunity to respond to the emerging policy environment.”
Laurice Ponting, HouseMark Chief Executive


HouseMark has commissioned TLF Research and Acuity to further analyse the findings and proposals will be released in November.

We are also looking for a small number of landlords of varying shapes and sizes to help us test the proposed framework with their residents. Participating landlords will receive a summary report from HouseMark which compares their findings anonymously with other participants. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, please contact jonathan.cox@housemark.co.uk.
 
Scottish landlord uses HouseMark data to evidence performance to residents 

Scottish landlord Prospect Community Housing recently made use of their HouseMark data when assessing their repairs service with residents, creating a shared understanding of performance to facilitate transparent resident engagement.

Housing Manager Catherine Louch explains “The Prospect Scrutiny Group was able to come together with members of staff to see how our repairs performance compares to our peers. By putting our HouseMark data up on the big screen, it was clear to see how we compared to other landlords. The information was meaningful and easily accessible for our tenants to understand.

“Being able to compare our cost vs performance with others was incredibly valuable. What the group saw was that Prospect was one of the best performing landlords in terms of timescales to complete repairs. Higher performing landlords for satisfaction and timescales had higher costs, and the group decided that they were happy with the balance and in a positive place as an organisation.”

Based on the understanding of Prospect’s repairs performance relative to the cost to residents, the group did not recommend any significant changes to the service.

You can read the full case study here.

 

Guest blog: The importance of building a network to effectively build housing

This month we featured a guest blog by Susan Napier, Chair of the HouseMark Scotland Housing Development Club.

‘Increasing the supply of affordable homes is one of the sector’s (and the Scottish Government’s) top priorities. Alongside this, building standards continually evolve with more regulation on development and maintenance standards, adding to the complexity of house building.

Social media is good for making contacts, but does it give us the chance to work together in a more in-depth way? We are fortunate to work in a collaborative sector where we can share best practice and learn from where things go wrong.'

Read the blog in full and find out more about how you could build up your professional network and expertise here and join our development club on 17 December for its first meeting. 

 

Ten things we learnt from the Housing Data and Analytics Summit 2019

On Tuesday 1 October HouseMark’s flagship event, the Housing Data and Analytics Summit, took place at Millennium Point, Birmingham. More than 150 housing data professionals attended for a day full of presentations, insights and discussions on the power of data. We share our ten key takeaways from the day here.

With early-bird tickets for the 2020 event now on sale, make sure you don’t miss out next year and book your place today!