Helena Housing is a housing association with 13,500 homes in St Helens, Merseyside. The organisation was formed in July 2002 when St Helens Council transferred its council house stock into the organisation’s ownership. Its Board of Directors is voluntary and comprises four local councillors, four tenants and four independent board members. Helena Housing employs over 550 people.
For example, key challenges facing Helena Housing include ensuring that all of its homes comply with the decent homes standard by 2009 through delivery of an ambitious £270 million programme of improvements across its housing stock - a lofty target which requires robust processes and IT systems on which to deliver improvements effectively.
The quest to find a solution provider and partner to assist Helena Housing in meeting these challenges resulted in two companies being short-listed - IBS OPENSystems and Orchard Information Systems.
The urgency to implement a solution so quickly after the stock transfer meant that the project had been implemented back-to-front.
The next stage - OPENContractor
Following the ‘bedding in’ of the financials and housing management solutions at the end of December 2003, Helena Housing set about implementing OPENContractor.
Within just two weeks of OPENContractor going live, what Helena Housing terms ‘Priority 3’ jobs had reached a completion rate of 94% from a previous average of 60-70%. That total soon reached 98% and is now sustained at that level on an ongoing basis.
Helena Housing is currently piloting handheld devices amongst its workforce which will reduce completion costs by 60% and increase productivity by 5% through reduced data entry and fewer visits to and from the main depot. In turn this also means that fuel costs and environmental emissions are reduced. The pilot is due for completion at the end of 2005 with a view to it being rolled out to the wider organisation in 2006.
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