The Sector Risk Profile 2021 has landed. The annual publication from the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) sets out their view of the most significant sources of risk to providers’ ongoing compliance with the regulatory standards.

This year, data integrity is front and centre. This is of no surprise given the increased importance of data throughout the response to the pandemic. Housemark’s COVID-19 impact monitoring was used by the sector to understand the impact of the pandemic and prioritise decision making, and we have seen the appetite for on-time insight increase this year with close to 200 landlords now taking part in our Monthly Pulse reporting.

But of course, data is integral to so much more.

To respond to evolving requirements from the Social Housing White Paper, the review of Decent Homes Standard and the decarbonisation agenda, as well as to meet their building safety responsibilities and manage operational and financial risks, landlords must unlock the value of data and embed its use in their businesses. These competing priorities cannot be managed by boards without robust and accurate data, but they also must be able to understand what the data is telling them and be able to interrogate these findings. Data-driven insights provide the evidence you need to respond to change, and both stock and customer data will be important to make sure you’re able to take decisions that your customers want and need.

My inbox has never been busier, with landlords reaching out daily to discuss their data strategy and what they can do now. Across our flagship 10 Days of Data, we heard from both in and out of sector experts about the importance of embedding a data-driven culture from top to bottom, how isolated teams and siloed data creates risks and why the responsibility for data quality can’t just sit with performance teams but should become an integral part of how everyone works.

These things are not possible without buy in from boards and executives. The Sector Risk Profile has brought the importance of data to the forefront, now is the time to use this visibility to make a difference.

Here are three things you can do now to make sure that your organisation is managing the risks outlined by the RSH:

  1. Undertake a data quality audit

The RSH is clear in the need for data integrity, stating ‘Boards must have robust data on stock quality ahead of changes to the Decent Homes Standard, and to support decarbonisation.’

However, a recent Housemark survey shows that 96% of social housing professionals think there are some data quality issues within their organisation – with building components, void management and responsive repairs key areas of ‘data doubt’.

Do you have complete confidence in the integrity of your data? To have strategic grip on an organisation’s performance across all areas, Boards must have assurance around data quality. Start by reviewing what you have now, assess your confidence level and identify the gaps. Bring in external expertise to support if needed.

Good data quality also facilitates system integration, enabling the creation of ‘data lakes’ that provide real time data from across the business and are fundamental to good governance and agile decision-making.

  1. Review your performance indicators

If you measure it, you can manage it – and reviewing performance information alongside cost data can help inform those decisions in context. But are you measuring what matters?

96% of landlords think that their performance reporting framework is not optimised, with many unsure they are reporting the right information at the right time to the right people.

Review your performance indicators (PIs) to make sure that they are fit for purpose, starting with your corporate plan. What is it you’re trying to achieve as an organisation? Design your PIs so that they support the corporate plan and key strategies. Housemark’s Performance Reporting Framework Review delivers a high-level audit of your current performance reporting framework. This includes an assessment of your reports to board and executive teams, a review of operational measures and the ‘golden thread’ throughout the business, as well as an initial assessment of data quality, culture and perception of performance reporting.

  1. Look at your customer satisfaction and customer profile information

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of home and changed the relationship between landlord and tenant, and the RSH stresses ‘the importance of effective communication with tenants and learning from tenant complaints’.

However, resident satisfaction levels across the sector are currently three percentage points lower than where they were pre-pandemic. Landlords continue to grapple with repairs and vacant dwelling backlogs alongside staffing and materials issues, whilst residents expect services to have returned to normal.

What are the mechanisms you use to listen to your tenants and act on what they are telling you? Are your surveys optimised to generate high response rates and provide meaningful feedback that helps you improve services.  Housemark STAR is the only co-created solution to consistency collect customer satisfaction data, giving you the data you need to demonstrate that you are listening to customer need.

Our expert partners are here to provide support to boost your in-house capabilities. By presenting data in a clear way, we’ll show you what the numbers mean to your customers, your people, and your business. To find out more about how we can help you with your data strategy, contact