Commercialisation vs. Social value – can housing associations do it all?

How can housing associations balance the demands of commercialisation while delivering social value?

The introduction in the social housing sector of self-financing in 2012 has forced housing associations to become increasingly commercially focused.  But does their commercialisation come at a cost to social purpose?

At first glance, the demands of commercialisation while continuing to deliver social value may seem at odds with each other. But our experience of working with several social housing associations is showing that this is simply not the case.

A perfect example of this comes from a client of Oneserve, Sovini, who provide building repairs and investment works to One Vision Housing and Pine Court Housing Association. The company are very commercially minded, which has led them to focus on being as efficient as possible and they have been able to make huge cost savings as a result. These savings enabled them to build 11 new properties, which they gift-aided to Pine Court Housing Association.

So, rather than being a case of a commercial approach detracting from social purpose, it is very much the opposite:
Commercialisation efficiency savings surplus to invest in the community.

Here at Oneserve, our aim is to help organisations achieve significant efficiency gains by using our service management software. It is a complete solution for managing work that is undertaken in the field. In the case of housing associations this includes building repairs and maintenance work, gas servicing and void refurbishment.

A number of housing associations and companies serving the social housing sector are using our solution to do just that. Below are four ways in which our service management software has benefitted them.

More efficient scheduling
For scheduled servicing, such as annual gas safety checks, jobs are created automatically based on dates. The intelligent scheduling then optimises each appointment by configuring job, resources, workforce availability and drive time (making the whole service delivery more efficient). An appointment notification is sent to customers via their chosen method – letter, SMS text or email. Rescheduling and updates happen in real time with revisions sent directly to each field worker’s mobile device.

Improved compliance
A number of features in the Oneserve system help with compliance. For example, the gas servicing app allows the completion of LGSRs (Landlord’s Gas Safety Records) on site, which not only saves time but creates an electronic audit trail, meeting all compliance requirements.

We have now achieved and are maintaining 100% compliance, something that we have never achieved before. Customer satisfaction levels for our gas heating repairs are at an all-time high of 97% and servicing is at 100%.

Compliance Manager, One Vision Housing
Real-time reporting
“Using the Oneserve reporting dashboard allows our clients to get insights into their performance and identify areas in which they can improve operations and deliver efficiency savings. Moreover, users can all collaborate easily and manage the servicing jobs through to completion. This includes managing any exceptions, which has been a major factor in helping our clients achieve success and improve customer satisfaction.”

Increased collaboration
Our solution offers complete end-to-end visibility with client, contractor, back-office staff, engineers, neighbourhood offices and tenants all accessing and using the system at appropriate points in the process. This visibility enables collaboration and helps those using the system to work better together.

It also helps them to get jobs done more quickly, which of course allows them to be more productive and efficient.