When we conducted our snapshot week with the housing sector we were interested to understand whether DCs were being proactive in advertising their support, or whether they were providing interventions when tenants accessed their core services. We were more interested in how DCs promoted their support, rather than the actual location of the support being delivered. We found that: 

  • 46% of engagement is based on tenants coming to DCs (passive) 
  • 35% of engagement is based on DCs taking support to tenants (proactive)  
  • 19% of engagement is a mix of both (hybrid) 

There is no correct way to deliver DC support, and we would always expect to see a significant level of passive engagement as DCs are embedded in core service provision. Those that were proactively engaging with tenants gave examples of their activity, including leaflet drops, sending letters and having a visible presence in a sheltered housing complex.  

Housing Officers are now equipped with tablets that they take out on home visits and can assist people with Universal Credit claims. We are also in the planning stages of getting a desktop PC in our reception area that will be available for customers to use, and staff will be on hand to assist where required.

Emma McConnachie, Orkney Housing Association

We are offering tenants a one-to-one service in either of our offices or in their own community, which is a huge commitment as we cover an area of the Highlands the size of Belgium, but if tenants are using the self-service portal, then this frees up staff time to allow them to spend more time out and about.  We hope to develop a lending library of digital equipment, and to work with other local agencies to deliver training. It’s really important to us that we offer tenants the chance to be digitally included as many of our communities are in rural areas of Highlands, and now many services are being offered online so it can make life easier, e.g. NHS appointments, and save money.  

DM’s name, Albyn Housing Association

The tenant had heard about the Digital Inclusion services from Sustainability Officer who had been carrying out visits in the area. Colleague made referral to Digital Inclusion Assistant after tenant had shown some interest in learning some basic digital skills.

DC’s name, Glen Oaks Housing Association

Since joining the Digital Champions in Housing Network with SCVO, staff at Langstane Housing Association have made a huge effort to advertise the new service being offered, and it has paid off.  We advertised using our social media page and website, issued a press release, featured an article in our 2019 winter newsletter, circulated posters throughout the local area and worked with other support providers in the immediate community, such as the Seaton Star Flat.  Included on our posters is information about our computer stations in our Aberdeen office reception.  Our digital champions are also spreading the word by talking to tenants and customers they are in daily contact with.       

DM’s name, Langstane Housing Association

Our biggest challenge is reaching those most in need. Those who aren’t confident enough to walk into a community centre or who are engaging with their housing officer on a regular tenants. We’re approaching this a couple of different ways; building positive relationships with new tenants and sign ups, taking our community engagement programmes outside our hubs and into streets and also supporting partners who are maybe already engaging with these tenants to think digital.

Rory Brown, Govan Housing Association

Case Study: Langstane Housing Association

The call for help!  

Christine contacted us after seeing our article and team photo in the newsletter.  Her son Philip is a one of our tenants who lives independently in Aberdeen City and experiences some mental health issues. His PlayStation and consoles are extremely important, as they allow him to stay in touch with other gamers.  But he was having some internet problems so was without his games.  Mum to the rescue, calling on our Digital Champions for some much-needed assistance. 

Our Digital Champions step in 

  • BILLY, DIGITAL CHAMPION: I called Philip’s mother to confirm what the issues were and she explained that Philip required help with his Wi-Fi, TV and PlayStation as neither of them could get everything working.  We then discussed when would be the best time to all meet at Philip’s flat.   

I met with Philip and his Mum and managed to connect the Wi-Fi, tune the television in then connect it to his PlayStation.  However, I could only get so far with this due to not being an expert with the controls. So, I told them I would call in my colleague and fellow Digital Champion David, and would be back the next day. 

We did indeed visit the next day but unfortunately Philip’s Mum wasn’t able to join us in person.  She was however speaking to us over the phone so could join in to what was happening for the duration of the visit.  Working together we got the system set up and created an email address and password that they could remember.  Philip then made a note of this so the process would be easier in the future. 

Once everything was tuned in and working to Philip’s satisfaction he was able to once again enjoy using his PlayStation and TV.  We received thanks from them both and left them very happy with the outcome.  We told them to call us any time they needed help in the future. 

  • DAVID, DIGITAL CHAMPION: Philip is not always able to get out and about so his PlayStation is a means of escape and contact with the outside world.  I am familiar with PlayStation from my own personal use so was happy to share my experience to help.  Help included setting up an account for the PlayStation store letting him take his games online.  The tenant was really pleased and thanked both Billy and myself for our help. 
  • CHRISTINE’S THOUGHTS: Phil really appreciated the help he received as he spends lots of time on his PlayStation, the support was very helpful.    

One step leads to another 

When speaking to Christine about sharing their story as an example of the help our Digital Champions are providing, she requested another visit from David to help some more with Phillips digital skills.  So, arrangements have been made for David to visit and provide more support which we look forward to delivering. 

Langstane Housing Association