How do we manage risk in social housing, is it always seen in its entirety, and is it visible to everyone?
The problem we have with risk is that it can be subjective; individual perception means that in some cases the mindset of specific departments creates a level of risk that is hidden from the executive team or board and sometimes even the management level below that. It’s only when we are faced with an issue or a disrepair claim that warrants the involvement of those mentioned above that we ask why has this issue emerged, why were there no visible warning signs, and is anything like this likely to happen again?
The truth is we can’t always see the warning signs before things happen, or can we?
At Orchard’s customer conference in Gateshead earlier this year, they talked about predicting voids using machine learning. The technology is there; we just need the confidence to embrace it rather than maintaining a ‘status quo’ mentality. We can apply similar logic to compliance and repair data, and much more for that matter. Why stop at predicting a vacant property when you could have the ability to predict unsafe situations and issues that could have a lasting negative impact on people’s lives?
How? It’s all there, within the data you hold. So, what are you doing with it? I mean, right now, where is your data? I don’t mean the next inspection dates to adhere to a phantom decency standard, I mean the mass of data you hold. The answer most people say is on a spreadsheet, in a house file or locked in a PDF document somewhere.
There are a number of companies in the housing sector who are scurrying to develop something that will provide you with a centralised database of data that you can run simple queries on to generate insights into what has happened, what is happening and, more importantly, when. This is the first step, but it’s not truly innovating in the sector. Innovation is about positively disrupting the mindset of why, and how we do what we do. It is creating a product to fix an issue, not marketing a problem that a particular solution can potentially fix.
The issue we all face is the backlog; the data we have but can’t access. Housing providers and local authorities throughout the country have started to implement our process, which goes beyond data extraction. Software that can comprehend the underlying meaning of the data produces high quality, reliable information relating to the physical entity it represents. Unlocking this information then enables not only validated calculations to be performed but also intelligent analytics which significantly improve the visibility of your assets’ performance with regards to compliance.
As compliance is at the top of everyone’s agenda at the moment and the market sectors in which specific compliance disciplines apply are changing rapidly, we need to ensure that the processes around information management and use are in line with the waves being created following Grenfell.
As organisations responsible for the safety of hundreds of thousands of tenants, we need to continue to move forward with technology and processes to ensure we spot issues and deal with them proactively. The days of reactive responses to risk and incidents are numbered, and as such, it is important to step outside the box and to think differently.
Asset and data management just got interesting!
Ryan Dempsey is the CEO of The Compliance Workbook.