Delivering Tenant Services as part of Digital Switchover
The digital switchover programme is underway and all landlords and housing associations have to consider new aerial systems or upgrades to ensure residents can receive digital TV over the next four years.
Delivering Tenant Services as part of Digital Switchover:
The digital switchover programme is underway and all landlords and housing associations have to consider new aerial systems or upgrades to ensure residents can receive digital TV over the next four years. Whilst there is support from organisations like Digital UK with their new housing accreditation scheme ‘Set For Digital’, the task can seem daunting as well as financially unrewarding.
However there is an upside, tenant services can easily be delivered via digital interactive TV (DiTV) which are proven to result in front line savings. Looking Local is a portal on DiTV and mobile phones that allows public sector organisations to create audience specific services and allow universal e-access using a range of platforms.
With over 80% of homes now owning a digital TV, 56% of homes being able to interact via their TV and over 90% of the population owning a mobile phone, these are established channels which will only grow as we move towards 2012. Over 80 local authorities and housing associations now offer services via the Looking Local portal and housing services have always been significant in number and a real driver for usage. For most partners, housing is the number one reason their citizens use their service, particularly as accessing the service is free in DiTV and available 24/7.
Examples of housing services delivered today via DiTV and mobile on Looking Local:
- Housing repairs
- Choice based lettings
- Benefit claims & supporting information
- Account status and checking
- Integration with back end housing systems
- Reporting of local issues such as graffiti, anti-social behaviour, missed bins etc
- Consultations on new housing proposals
- Polls on neighbourhood safety and community initiatives
- A range of housing information including all relevant contacts, eligibility criteria, local schemes and tenant rights
Looking Local is particularly focused on those residents in the C2-D-E brackets, who do not have PC skills or internet access and these are often the same residents that have a high usage of authority and housing services. In that many housing associations will be putting together a local action plan to ensure all properties have access to digital TV, offering resident focused services via DiTV can significantly add to the business case.
All local plans will have to have an element of customer interaction and education involved as well as community consultation and involvement. Considering additional services to be delivered via DiTV from the start can help the community understand the wider implications of DiTV – ie: it’s not just about getting additional channels – and will lay the ground for front line workers who will be communicating the digital TV switchover steps to residents to explain how to use the DiTV services, bringing more customer choice as well as efficiencies and savings to your organisation.
Accessibility and Inclusion Case Study:
Choice Based Lettings from Wychavon District Council
Wychavon District Council in Worcestershire could see their web based Choice Based Lettings (CBL) system getting peaks of traffic every Thursday lunchtime. After some investigation, they found that parents were sending their children to school with their CBL identification and passwords in order to bid for a property of their choice, as they did not enjoy PC access at home.
This was a classic example of the digital divide in action, one which Wychavon have now addressed in integrating their Abritas provided CBL system with the Looking Local technology. By integrating with their core system, DiTV and mobile are simply now additional channels their residents can use to browse and bid on available properties.
Case Study: Account Management & Housing Repairs – LB Islington:
LB Islington has focused a large part of their Looking Local site on housing services and link in to backend databases to offer the full suite of services. They have integrated housing repairs systems, account databases and are working on CBL and payments so that DiTV/mobile customers are not disadvantaged in terms of speed or access to services.
Near future enhancements to Looking Local will include:
- Availability on broadband TV BT Vision – which will allow Video On Demand, and enhanced audio & interactive options
- Trailing of video content on the cable platform
- Integration of further nationally provided housing repair systems
- More access to national choice based lettings services including IBIS, Scout Solutions, Northgate and Home Connections
- Availability of payments in collaboration with Civica, Capita and Alliance & Leicester.