The need to invest in preventative solutions and early interventions to reduce pressures on our services is being increasingly recognised. However, large-scale change involving technology is complex and can present a number of challenges for the stakeholders involved. Some of the key barriers to successful digital evolution include budget constraints and the cost of implementing new systems, organisational attitudes towards risk, and the relationships that exist between health, housing and social care services.
Many of these barriers can be mitigated through greater training and the education of professionals. Greater education around the implementation and benefits of technology enabled care will help to build partnerships, maximise the use of data, drive cultural change and support housing professionals in their roles.
Investing in education
People are the greatest asset of any organisation and, like any other asset, they need investment and maintenance. The next generation of housing leaders require opportunities for education and support if they are to continue to develop themselves and in turn, their teams and services.
The education of housing professionals is crucial in enabling a cultural shift so that staff can fully understand the positive outcomes and ongoing benefits technology can bring to people’s lives. Ultimately, technology can support housing professionals to deliver effective services that will improve the quality of life of the people they support and maximise their ability to maintain their tenancies.
With the appropriate education staff will be able to reap a number of benefits, including becoming more aware of the possibilities presented by innovative features of telecare, developing confidence in assessing and referring tenants to the right solutions, and understanding the positive impact of telecare on working practices.
As the UK moves to a digital communications network, it’s even more important that housing providers work to understand the impact on equipment, services and customers, and evaluate the options available to get the most out of the digital future.
Collaborating for success
Education isn’t simply about the practical application and operation of technology, it’s also important to ensure effective technology strategies can be developed to maximise any investment, underpinned by cultural change.
Lincolnshire Housing Partnership (LHP) is a £53million social housing provider managing 12,500 homes across the Grimsby and Boston area with over 25,000 customers, and almost 400 staff.
In 2020 the LHP Way culture change programme was introduced to help employees feel valued and engaged, and to further cement the LHP one team ethos. The programme has helped to improve staff recruitment and retainment due to increased job satisfaction, as well as resulting in higher productivity and lower sickness rates.
LHP has also restructured some of its key services to increase efficiency and create a better working environment for colleagues. This followed extensive engagement via working groups to ensure colleagues were involved in the design of the systems, and included over 1,000 hours of training, intranet and weekly team briefs, and gap analysis surveys with bitesize targeted coaching sessions to address any issues.
John O’Hanrahan, customer service centre manager, comments:
“TECS is a major part of the way LHP delivers excellent services for all stakeholders. Working in partnership with Tunstall and using technology, we have been able to shape our service to become more agile and maximise the opportunities presented by the digital future for both our tenants and colleagues.”
A digital future
With the impending changes to our telecoms network, digital is fast becoming the industry standard to ensure the safety of housing services, staff and end users.
Cementing a cultural shift towards technology driven, outcomes-led approaches is required to meet these changes. By harnessing the benefits of training and education, we can raise awareness of the value and potential of technology across the housing landscape, and provide enhanced support to users, carers, professionals and providers.
Andy Hart is head of Delivery and Technical Support at Tunstall Healthcare (opens new window). For more information on educating the future generation of health, housing and social care professionals, please visit www.tunstall.co.uk/training-services.
If you found this blog of interest, do have a look at our technology enabled care and housing webpages. Split into 3 main sections, here you will find a number of resources on TAPPI, Going Digital and Smart Housing and Telecare.