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Civica: Smarter homes: the social housing sector has yet to fully realise the potential of digitalisation #techUKSmarterState

This week (26-30 September) the Central Government Programme is running its Building Smarter State Week in the run-up to the eighth edition of our flagship public services conference, Building the Smarter State, which will take place at The Royal Society on Thursday 29 September. All week we'll be featuring guest blogs from members on topics supportive the agenda.

Read the latest blog below:

As consumers, our life experiences have been completely transformed by the digital revolution. From online shopping to ride-hailing apps, we’ve come to take for granted a standard of service which would have been unimaginable to any previous generation. As citizens, however, our experiences might be somewhat more recognisable to our forbearers. Public services are embracing digital technologies, with the recent pandemic being a prime example. But the true potential of digitalisation for our public services – in particular social housing – has yet to be fully realised.    

By exploiting digital technologies to the full, social housing providers can deliver high-quality, resilient homes which meet or indeed exceed regulatory standards and provide a clear voice for residents. 

Resilient homes​  

​Data-driven, smarter decision-making could play a much greater role in helping housing providers deliver a housing stock which is safer, more secure, and better suited to the wide-ranging needs of residents.​ From ensuring that rents are collected to guaranteeing repairs and maintenance jobs are done on time, the right digital platform can transform social housing for both providers and residents alike.  It can also help ensure homes are more energy efficient and have a lower carbon footprint – something which will be increasingly vital this winter in the face of skyrocketing energy prices.  

A louder, clearer, resident voice​ 

While housing providers are making efforts to provide their residents with a stronger voice, Civica’s recent Changing Landscape report revealed that almost half (45%) still feel they’re not being listened to. A number of key barriers were identified by housing providers, the top among those being IT capability (or the lack thereof). Providing residents with a clear voice is a win-win for both residents and providers alike. As well as ensuring better, smarter, faster resolution of residents’ issues, housing providers can use the insights they gain to support smarter decisions and earlier interventions in the case of vulnerable residents. 

Keeping pace with regulatory change  

From building safety to energy efficiency, the regulatory landscape for social housing across the UK is complex and ever-evolving. This is unlikely to change anytime soon; if anything, we can likely expect tougher regulation in the years ahead, particularly when it comes to sustainability.  

An effective digital platform allows housing providers to understand, comply with and swiftly adapt to new rules and regulations with minimal disruption either to themselves or to their residents. As well as providing greater peace of mind for residents, having the ability to adapt quickly to change will ultimately help keep costs down in the longer term.  


Homes – a fundamental human necessity - are provided by councils and housing associations to more than four million people across England and Wales alone. The resource and logistical challenges these vital organisations face are immense and will undoubtedly become more acute as we move deeper into burgeoning crises, from the cost of living to climate change. For this reason, it is vital for housing providers to have the right digital platform to help tackle those challenges head-on and deliver the best service for their residents. 

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This article was written by Deane Greenouff, Executive Director at Civica. To learn more about this author, please get in touch. To learn more about Civica, please visit their LinkedIn and Twitter.

Building The Smarter State Conference - 29 September

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