How adhering to the Housing Health & Safety Ratings System is easier than ever

George Peabody, the grandfather of social housing, once quoted; “Our task is not to bring order out of chaos, but to get work done in the midst of chaos.” But what if George had access to technology that could bring about order from chaos.

Keeping properties in a good state of repair is a logistical nightmare when considering there are housing associations with many thousands of homes under management. It is simply not feasible to physically inspect every property on the frequency needed to keep pace with changing circumstances. This is owing to inspections being costly, taking a lot of time and are also invasive to the resident themselves.

The challenge in providing a safe home is further complicated by the ever-changing resident vulnerability status; for some, having damp in a room is certainly unpleasant but more of a non-urgent in convenience than a threat to our health. Unless, of course, you happen to suffer with allergies, asthma or some other respiratory condition and then this is a situation elevated to what the regulator would class as a “category-1”hazard.

In our recent white paper, “bridging the gap between resident feedback and regulatory compliance”

We took a look at how Housing Associations can use existing data to determine threats to their resident health and safety as documented in the Housing Health & Safety Ratings System.

Whilst there are only 29 classes of harm detailed in the rating system, our analysts have identified 325 separate hazard categories with examples being damp AND asthma (or cardio, cancer, allergies, other respiratory conditions etc.), excess cold AND elderly, trip hazards AND disabled, noise AND mental health issues/mentions of suicide etc., water supply AND nausea or stomach upset etc..

Identifying Complex Variants in one Topic

If you think about the complexity of identifying just one topic – in this case cancer, how would you ensure you do not miss all the variants such as Myeloma, Melanoma, Lymphoma, Mesothelioma, Osteosarcoma, Sarcoma, Werner Syndrome (also known as Progeria).

Could you really say you are looking for all of these conditions when figuring out which housing conditions should have the highest priority? Could you say you are also allowing for mis-spellings? How about the 1,000+ Biocides authorised for use in the UK, or the 84 different ways we see Coronavirus being mentioned with residents saying things like Corona, Crona, Covid, Covid-19, Kovid, Rona etc.

Reporting on urgent issues for the vulnerable  

By using the Feedback Ferret text analytics solution to identify the myriad ways residents will mention poor housing conditions and the thousands of ways they might mention a vulnerability status we use sector specific technology to combine these mentions to determine which are the most urgent. These are all served up in a dashboard which combines all the sources of data to give one view, one version of the truth and stop departments working in silos.

What is interesting, is that by working in partnership with our clients, we are able to include known resident vulnerability status to elevate housing conditions which on their own are not critical to a higher status. Importantly, we also provide a list of those that claim to have certain vulnerabilities in their feedback back to the Housing Association.

Residents are not likely to contact their landlord following the sudden onset of a health condition or following the birth of a child but they will very likely mention this in feedback. By capturing these details from the feedback, Feedback Ferret will help you show greater responsibility in other areas too.  Perhaps the person who mentioned they had a hip replacement or heart attack recently would be very grateful for a call to advise there are government benefits available to help with their additional care needs, that the home might be eligible for certain grants for equipment and aids. In this way, not only can you ensure your residents have a safe home but you also consider their wellbeing demonstrating a culture of continuous improvement. I think that is something George Peabody would be proud of.

Please do take a look at our whitepaper here Bridging the Gap Between Health and Safety and Regulatory Compliance