Last week, we released version 2.0 of the UK Housing Data Standards. This version is the culmination of four months of hard work from the project team made up of eight housing providers (Coastline, Halton Housing Trust, L&Q, Lewisham Homes, Magna, Metropolitan Thames Valley, Poplar HARCA and Settle) plus OSCRE and HACT.
The project partners have been focusing in on the reactive repairs process, an area that the group identified as a business priority for housing associations. Improvements in how data is collected, stored, transferred and analysed could lead to major improvements in service delivery driving cost efficiencies and providing residents with a better customer experience.
The UK Housing Data Standards consist of two key components; a reference data model and data exchange standards, that apply to data at rest and in motion respectively. The reactive repairs data exchange standards aim to help by standardising data as it moves, for example, between a housing provider and a contractor’s systems when raising a work order or when a resident requests a time for an operative to visit.
In both these relationships it's important to understand what data is needed by each stakeholder, where it’s going and why. It helps us define what needs to be collected and ensure consistency and quality. All this helps us when analysing our repairs services, understanding where for example bottlenecks or costs exist.
From a customer perspective quality machine readable data underpins the systems, features and interfaces that consumers are increasing coming to expect when they access services. Good quality data and data systems are why DPD can tell you when your parcel will be delivered and give you the option to reschedule or leave a package elsewhere while the delivery is in process. Housing providers aspire to provide this level of services and data standards can underpin the required transformation
Taking the Standards forward
Creating Standards is a collaborative process where participants share approaches to specific processes and find commonality in the concepts before deriving definitions and relations for specific entities.
Version 2.0 of the UK Housing Data Standards should be seen as an update as well as an extension of the existing body of work that took customer data, voids and allocations as its initial point of focus. As each new use case is developed by the sector, more entities, attributes and the relationships are added to the reference data. We add commonly defined and used code lists such as NHF Schedule of Rates and look to build on other national and international standards in this way.
We need housing providers to help us continue to take forward this work to cover more areas. The next areas we plan to develop data standards for are planned maintenance, income and service charges, and care and support. These will be starting early in 2019, so there is still time to get involved both in helping the sector build the Standards and getting experience of how Standards are created. Our current partners have all noted the benefits from the peer learning that has been generated in defining the Standards collectively.
Alongside developing Standards HACT are working alongside housing providers, contractors and software providers to accelerate the uptake of the UK Housing Data Standards. A number of software providers are currently working on a range of implementations including analytics and integration layers that can plug into existing systems and allow for reporting and data transfers that are Standard compliant. You can meet these suppliers at an event we will be holding at the end of January.
The UK Housing Data Standard is a sector led standard and therefore requires your participation to take it forward - whether its exploring implementation within your organisation and with your software partners or helping us to further develop the Standard we need your input!
If you are interested in Standards - learning more about how they can benefit your business and the wider sector or if you like to support us taking forward the sector contact Jay Saggar.