Howard Cottage

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Howard Cottage

HMS: Capita Open Housing

Stock: 1600

Howard Cottage was one of the UK’s first housing associations. It was set up in 1911 to create affordable homes for workers who had migrated from the cities to take up employment in Letchworth, the world’s first Garden City, taking their name from the founder of the movement, Sir Ebenezer Howard.


Current key themes for the organisation include delivering value-for-money services to all residents at all times and continuous improvement.


Housing Manager Allison Blunt deployed Deeplake’s CMGR on-site and recently the resident involvement group discussed the value of text reminders for residents ahead of planned maintenance visits.


"We currently use the system to notify of repairs booked and reminder day before – to reduce numbers of failed appointments.


We send a text when we send a pre notice of seeking possession letter and another one when we print off the notice. These are particularly useful and very often residents have rung in before they even get the NOSP through the door.


We had a fantastic response when we text to remind residents how to sign up to the residents online account and numbers went up by 20 % overnight.


We use it to advise of things like a change in gas contractor,  when our office electricity was out all day so we couldn’t take calls, to tell residents about estate walkabouts, etc."


Allison was the only end-user of CMGR but after seeing a demo of CMGR v6 she believed that it could easily be rolled out throughout the organisation.


A lively day ensued as a whole host of applications were discussed – gas servicing, ad-hoc messaging, appointment confirmations, welfare reform measures, rent balance monitoring and mutual exchanges.


CMGR v6 is accessible, flexible, easy-to-use and has a whole host of new features such as exportable reports, arrears trending, mapping, social media, and so on. Allison is now considering the tenants portal and smartphone app as the next step in demonstrating continuous improvement and value for money.


 “it’s fair to say that most residents no longer have an appetite for joining us on our walkabouts, so we’re exploring new ways for you to communicate with us in ways you find more convenient, using mobile technology and communication” Allison - In Touch newsletter, Spring 2015