The making of a movement

By Jay Saggar, Digital Lead - on 01/02/2019

48 hours after the event, and we’re still buzzing with excitement. The launch of version 2.0 of HACT’s UK Housing Data Standard was full of insights, optimism and engagement.

For those who couldn’t manage to make it through the snow, here’s a brief recap.

We started with a summary of the benefits of the data standards and the project road map, along with some background information about our partner, OSCRE, who have been instrumental in their development.

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Then we heard from Amina Graham, Change and Transformation Director at L&Q. She talked about how data standards are the foundation for L&Q being able to unlock the value of data, the opportunity presented by the digital age, and their ambition to become a data-driven organisation. Data standards enable them to get ideas off the ground quickly and makes it easier to do business with software providers and contractors. She gave the example of how data standards could enable Uber-style pre-approved contractors for low-value repairs. Amina finished by urging those who weren’t already signed up to data standards to get on the bus.

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Chris Lees was our next speaker. He’s the data guru who has been instrumental in driving forward the development of both version 1.0 and version 2.0 of the UK Housing Data Standards. He provided an overview of the new version, focusing on reactive repairs. This included an explanation of the different property and unit typologies that had been developed by the housing associations who helped to develop the reactive repairs data standards. He finished by alluding to the next areas of development, which include care and support, planned maintenance and income and service charge collection.

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We then moved on to three short presentations focusing on the implementation of version 2.0. First up was Doug Silverstone, Head of Data at Metropolitan Thames Valley. His presentation lit up the room, illustrating how data standards have been implemented in a 60,000+ property organisation. He talked about the opportunities that data presented, focusing on the 800,000 data points that could be collected every minute from sensors on boilers in every MTVH house. He acknowledged the challenges his, and every, housing association faced, but affirmed that, thanks to the data standards, these could be overcome, with data being a critical component in realising tangible and lasting transformation across the sector.

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Arturo Dell from Housemark spoke next. He talked about Housemark’s involvement and support of the data standards, how they would enable housing associations to realise real-time benchmarking, so that predictive analytics could play an integral part in day-to-day business operations. He hoped that this might mean that death of HIPPO culture within social housing – in that, all too often, decisions in meetings are made according to the opinions of the Highest Income Person Participating in the room. Arturo detailed two Data Standard enabled projects that Housemark would like to explore with the sector.

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The final session came from Hitachi Solutions, who proudly announced that they wouldn’t be using Powerpoint. Instead, they gave the audience a demonstration of their analytical data model, which is based on the UK Housing Data Standard. They showed how the standards have enabled them to develop this tool that visualises data, making it accessible and meaningful to multiple audiences. Their live demo showed how the Standard could be used in both translating data from existing systems and building an analytical model from which live insights can be extracted.

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After a brief presentation from Lou Robinson about HACT’s digital apprenticeship scheme that can provide the necessary skills for housing associations to implement their digital strategies, we moved downstairs for the speed-dating sessions. Over the next hour, the room was filled with the sound of introductions, discussions about implementation opportunities, and, every ten minutes, a loud whistle to signal that it was time to move on to the next speed-dating session.

By the end of the day, the data standards movement had grown, with more housing associations signed up to develop the next iteration, and more partnerships being developed between housing associations and software providers to implement version 2.0 in practice.

Sign up. Get involved. Join the movement!

For further details and an exploratory discussion about how you can get involved in the development or implementation of the UK Housing Data standards, contact Jay Saggar, Digital Lead at HACT.


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