Increasing tenant engagement is the priority – what we learned from Homes 2021.

Social landlords urged to take action now and communicate more effectively with tenants to improve repairs performance and ensure quality homes in line with the Social Housing White Paper.

Author Ffion Colton
Date
Resource Tag General

The Homes 2021 event proved very successful for the Alertacall team, meeting and greeting both new and familiar faces in the ExCel, London.

After the last 18 months, our team really appreciates the opportunity to join in-person events. It was great to take our demo suite on tour once more and showcase our full range of services that increase resident safety, communication, and create more digitally connected homes. 

Alertacall’s services are already used by over 50 UK housing providers for enhanced housing management, increasing two-way engagement with older residents and those with additional needs. At the stand, delegates were able to see the Housing Proactive service in action and take a closer look at our specially designed portable touchscreen for residents. 

Alertacall also provides a range of additional services, such as WiFi, digital telecare and a comprehensive fire safety solution. In particular, our video door entry system certainly seemed to have the X-factor for many visitors. All these services offer social landlords an easy to implement and cost-effective alternative to analogue hardwired alarm systems in supported accommodation. Given the impending Digital Switchover and the ageing hardwired alarm systems already in place, feedback from many housing providers was that there is a definite need to review the current service offering for older people and that the sector needs to start re-thinking how they deliver services.

The Future of Independent Living

Digital Switchover, as well as the Social Housing White Paper, were focus areas for the talk hosted by Alertacall at Homes 2021 on ‘The Future of Independent Living’. 

Martin Cutbill, Business Development Director at Alertacall, was joined by Chris Munday, former Executive Director of Anchor Hanover, to discuss in more detail some of the drivers for change for retirement living and how the proposition for older customers needs to adapt in light of these. In particular, they explored what role technology will play in helping social landlords to achieve their digital aims. The session also tackled the issues of digital inclusion and barriers to digital engagement for older people.

Digital Switchover in 2025 creates a real opportunity for housing providers to transform and re-imagine how they deliver services to promote independent living. Technology and WiFi based services, such as those from Alertacall, offer residents and landlords feature rich systems that can be implemented at a fraction of the cost of hardwired options. These systems also help address issues of digital accessibility which will open up better channels of communication with residents. 

The right side of housing history – communication, communication, communication

Communication was also a central theme of the first panel session of the conference on the Keynote Stage, entitled ‘The Social Housing White Paper one year one’. 

The panel was moderated by Andrew Van Doom, Chief Executive of HACT. Andrew was joined by Director of Policy and Research at the National Housing Federation, Catherine Ryder; Linda Levin, Customers and Communities Director at Irwell Valley Homes; and Director of Consumer Regulation at the Regulator for Social Housing, Kate Dodsworth.

The panel shared their professional reflections on the Social Housing White Paper and what they perceive a well-managed home and neighbourhood to be in 2021 and beyond.

The Grenfell tragedy of 2017 ignited consumer regulation in social housing. There was no doubt that landlords, governmental and local bodies had to begin working together to provide a service that centres on residents and ultimately, their safety and wellbeing. Importantly, there needs to be the right frameworks in place to enforce these expectations.

Catherine Ryder stated the importance of transparency and respect in social and supported housing. It is imperative that residents feel like their concerns and issues are being listened to, and most importantly, that actionable repairs take place. It was also interesting to hear from Linda Levin about the fantastic work taking place at Irwell Valley Homes with their tenants.

Alertacall’s services are focused on increasing tenant engagement and making it easier for them to communicate with their landlords. The touchscreen doesn’t require any WiFi and makes it much easier for landlords to send out news and information to tenants, communicate more effectively with individuals, groups of tenants or as needed their entire stock. The touchscreens can be fitted with a range of services, including a free repairs reporting app and the OKEachDay system for housing.

As Kate Dodsworth went on to say in the session, it’s important that ‘housing providers are not on the wrong side of housing history’ and make tenant engagement a priority. At Alertacall, we are keen to work with social landlords to help them take a proactive approach to tackling housing issues by engaging their residents more effectively.

We will be issuing a blog series in the New Year on the White Paper.

If you are looking to move away from hardwired systems and get ready for Digital Switchover 2025, or simply would like to know more about how our touchscreen can help you improve resident communication, get in touch now and book a demo with our expert team.

Finally, congratulations to Adele O’Brien who is our competition winner from Homes 2021. Adele is accepting the prize on behalf of WHG and their governance team, who will generously be offering it as a future raffle prize.