According to the SFHA, “Digital technology will transform how housing associations work, making staff and services more agile, more responsive to customers’ needs and more efficient. Housing Association customers will build their digital skills, bringing wide economic and social benefits.”
For Property Factoring services within Housing Associations, there are many areas for improvement that could be made through digitising processes.
What needs to improve in property factoring?
An inquiry by the Scottish Housing Regulator in 2016 found that only 55% of residents living in a Local Authority home are satisfied with their factoring service. This percentage increases slightly to 64% for those living in homes managed by a Registered Social Landlord.
The inquiry cites a variety of areas where property factors can and must improve. They state that Factors should:
have a clear and transparent approach to setting and increasing management fees that demonstrates that costs are accurately identified, apportioned and recovered;
implement a robust process to assess and demonstrate that owners are receiving a value for money service;
provide good quality information to owners on the factoring service;
ensure that owners are given detailed information on any charges;
undertake meaningful and regular consultation with owners to understand their needs and priorities;
develop and implement robust action plans in response to the findings of satisfaction surveys and consultation work.
It’s clear that owners have a need for greater transparency about factoring charges and common repair costs. Transparency and ease of presenting information could be achieved by implementing dedicated and robust digital processes and procedures. Through automation of processes, staff can manage their workload more easily. This leads to benefits from full visibility of property factoring information by residents and owners.
There are many Housing Associations that still use paperwork or software which isn’t specialised to cope with property factoring tasks. This is potentially a reason why problems with transparency arise. As the technology exists to help change and improve the way in which Housing Associations work, it really is simply a matter of moving towards these new ways.
More information on the Scottish Federation of Housing Association’s Innovation and Future Thinking initiative can be found here