Due to the pandemic, housing associations have had to move quickly on digital transformation plans. An Inside Housing webinar asks what lessons have been learned and what the new priorities are
At the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020, housing associations were forced to pivot very quickly into a new way of working.
Much of the sector was just getting to grips with a long-term plan for digital transformation that would see old legacy systems replaced, efficiencies increased, carbon zero targets set, and self-service technology introduced for tenants dealing with rent payments, repairs and safety checks.
Then COVID-19 forced digital transformation projects to move at a rapid pace, with staff suddenly working from home.
Inside Housing’s webinar, sponsored by Integra Associates and Unit 4, hears from digital transformation specialists about the innovation that has been introduced to their organisations, the lessons they have learned, and how the past year has impacted on the priorities of digital transformation for the housing sector in the future.
Kevin Heslop is group director of technology at Sanctuary Housing Association. He is responsible for teams which support our current technologies, ensuring they are safe, secure, and up to date; deliver new and future technologies aligned to the needs of the organisation; and manage and promote awareness of cyber security at Sanctuary.
Mr Heslop joined Sanctuary in March 2010, working initially as system development and support manager until he was promoted to his present role in December 2014. During his time at Sanctuary, Mr Heslop has been responsible for supporting the roll-out of systems to enable the creation of the internal maintenance services, leading the implementation of OneSanctuary and, more recently, our Modern Workplace strategy.
Prior to this, Mr Heslop worked in technology consultancy providing leadership to large-scale IT implementation programmes, including within the social housing sector.
Anita Khan is executive director of customer services at Settle. She is responsible for the landlord service, repairs and asset management for the 9,000-plus properties the housing association manages across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
As a member of Settle’s executive team, Ms Khan also has oversight of the organisation’s strategic direction and governance, and drives business improvements to enhance the colleague and customer experience.
Ms Khan joined Settle in 2016 as director of housing. She has worked in social housing since 2012 when she joined Home Group, having previously worked in senior roles in the youth voluntary sector.
Mark Bloomer is managing director at Integra Associates. He is a chartered accountant (ACA) and PRINCE2 practitioner with more than 25 years’ experience of delivering digital transformation through enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, analysis, consultancy and project management, including many notable projects within the social housing industry. Mr Bloomer founded Integra in 1995, and has built a team of experts with a record of delivering high-quality Unit4 ERP solutions across the UK and internationally.
Charlotte Murray is co-director of care, health and well-being at South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA). She has more than 18 years’ experience in the charity and not-for-profit sector and works on the LiveWell programme, SYHA’s non-general housing offer including homelessness and rough sleeping interventions, work and well-being programmes, mental health services and social prescribing.
Ms Murray is also leading the digital transformation programme and is the director responsible for the IT and data functions.
Previous to working at SYHA, Ms Murray was COO at Good Things Foundation, an international digital inclusion charity, and has held previous roles at Learndirect and The Prince’s Trust.
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