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The Role of Technology in Achieving Shared Service

Things are changing quickly in the social housing sector and to remain ahead of the curve IT suppliers must produce innovative responses to new challenges. The recent changes in welfare reform means that social housing organisations are looking increasingly to do more with less, the latest guidance from central government puts cost effectiveness in prime posiion. One way of helping to achieve this is sharing services and IT systems.

Apart from experimenting with shared procurement unions and a few housing stock swaps there has been very little collaborative activity in the social housing sector. In many respects local government is leading the way in exploiting shared service as a way of saving money The LGA has re-launched the national shared services map for 2015 which now shows that there are more than 400 shared service arrangements occurring between councils across the country resulting in over £460million of efficiency savings.

Within the housing sector more and more social housing organisations have the need to consolidate with other HA’s and often inherit multiple back office systems.

What is critical is the design of the Housing repairs IT solution supports the support the shared service concepts both in terms of security, functionality and data.

From a sharing perspective some of the data can be consolidated as it is common over the organisation (such as SOR and process workflow) and some is specific to each division (such as asset and pricing)

From an IT application view the key features needed in a back office housing repairs or asset management scenario are:

  •          Multi-contract
  •          Different SOR prices per single description
  •          Data security
  •          Scalability
  •          Consolidated accounts
  •          Ability to provide divisional trading statements/accounts
  •          User defined workflow
  •          Flexibly

A good example of this is one customer who uses the ROCC housing repairs application to effectively manage 30 separate organisations. There is a single process blueprint over the entire organisation however each contract is capable of being separately managed and reported on.

Moving forward sharing services and IT systems across multiple organisations is definitely an approach which saves money as well as simulating different ways of working, innovation, and best practice.

Posted Thursday, January 19th, 2017 by Chris Potter

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