Northgate Public Services: Half of housing providers to overhaul their IT

8 February 2016
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A new survey from Northgate Public Services reveals the pace of change in social housing IT, with over a third of housing providers (37%) looking to overhaul their IT systems in the next two years, rising to half (52%) in the next five years.

The survey* of over 250 housing professionals showed how budget cuts, welfare reforms and rent reductions are driving people to make IT savings, with almost all (97%) relying on technology to create efficiencies.

Trevor Hampton, Director of Local Government and Housing at Northgate Public Services, said: “These next few years are the crunch time for many housing providers. Tight budgets are making them look ever harder for savings and efficiencies, but without sacrificing the needs of their customers.

“For the vast majority of providers the solution comes down to improving, consolidating or replacing their IT. We’re in a critical period of change that I believe will determine not just how well housing providers serve their customers, but also their ability to thrive.”

Key findings from the survey:

  • 91% of respondents expect their organisations to consolidate the number of IT systems to support needed changes
  • IT will be pivotal in improving tenants’ user experience (66%), driving efficiencies (83%) and reducing costs (63%)
  • The most popular current ways for tenants to contact social housing providers – telephone and face to face – are also the most resource intensive, creating the prospect of big efficiency wins.

Trevor Hampton continues: “There is a huge opportunity to improve how residents communicate with housing providers. Traditional contacts which are also the most resource intensive are still the de facto standard, with most people phoning their housing provider or meeting up face to face.

“The good news is that there are excellent options for improvement. The potential for self-service, where residents can go online via traditional desktop or smartphone and, given the right tools, find solutions for themselves, is immense. Roughly only one in three residents use self-service, but close to half of those in the survey see it [self-service] as providing the biggest opportunity for improving communications with residents.”

*The survey was conducted in partnership with Inside Housing magazine in December 2015.