Capita’s software services business has just completed a review of tenants’ technology preferences and the barriers around the wider use of technology, based on data from a cross-section of social housing tenants, supported or sheltered housing residents, and homeless service users.
The survey found that mobile phones have surpassed landline phones in terms of their ubiquity, with 94 per cent of respondents owning a mobile phone compared with 83 per cent having a landline. The only respondents without a mobile phone, or access to one, were over the age of 55.
David Solomons, head of project management, Family Mosaic, said, “Digital communication has come along in leaps and bounds but still fails a number of vulnerable citizens. Even though mobile phones are generally considered to increase connectivity between different groups, it can also cause unexpected problems.
“For example, the survey showed that over half of the respondents had changed their mobile number within the last three years, with the majority of the homeless service users having changed their number less than a year ago. Customers hopping between contracts and switching numbers makes it difficult for us when we are trying to tailor services and maintain regular contact with vulnerable people.”
The survey found widespread ownership of computers with internet access, with 70 per cent of respondents using it daily, but there was little evidence of the internet being used to receive or access services from registered providers (rather than simply accessing information and general web browsing).
Radojka Miljevic, senior consultant, Campbell Tickell, said, “This review suggests that affordability and confidence are potential barriers to people’s engagement with technology. However training was the most popular intervention in terms of encouraging the use of the internet and related technologies.”