07 Sep 2022

Digital switchover affecting housing association systems

I am honoured to be chairing a key session at the forthcoming CIH South West conference, covering one of the most important issues affecting social housing providers today. Digital switchover will have far reaching implications for any housing association or local authority that provides hard wired or warden call systems. These traditional schemes, which in most cases have been in place for decades, will need upgrading or replacing if they are to be fit for purpose when the analogue signals are switched off.

While the implications are significant, it really is a great opportunity to reimagine how services to higher-needs residents can be delivered. During the session on 22 September, we'll explore the art of the possible, from what additional features can be provided, to whether there needs to be a hard wired system at all. This change is coming at a time when there are multiple other considerations and the best solutions will be able to address more than one need, including:

  • Addressing the requirements of the Social Housing White Paper, such as improving two way communication
  • Relieving digital poverty and increasing digital engagement
  • Enabling operational efficiencies
  • Improving the living environment, including giving a less 'institutionalised' feel in supported housing schemes
  • Improving outcomes for health and care providers.

The session will explain the implications of digital switchover, and explore how different providers are approaching the change. Whilst any solution needs to work for the housing provider, one of the most critical components is the customer buy in. Do residents see the WIIFM (what's in it for me)? Recent innovations offer the chance of a quantum leap in service delivery that will significantly enhance service levels, and offers the potential to enhance the image of the landlord amongst its tenants.

I'll be joined by Di Stirling-Chow, associate executive director of support services at Westward Housing, who will be sharing details of the extensive consultation exercise held with residents. This led to a very different approach to housing schemes with hard wired systems. Helen Shields, head of retired living and support at Bromford Housing Association is responsible 74 supported housing schemes and Bromford's extra care housing. As part of the design team for several new projects, including renewing the technology in existing schemes, Helen will share her insights into what the best solutions need to consider.

We will also be exploring how it is possible new solutions can not only improve the health and safety of residents for housing providers, but also benefit health and care providers, keeping people at home for longer and by helping to reduce the demands on the NHS and social care.

There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion, and it will great to hear the insights of others. We very much look forward to seeing you at this event.

If you're a CIH member, you can secure your free member-exclusive place today! 

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Written by Martin Cutbill

Martin Cutbill is the director at Alertacall.