Event review

Capita's Housing Conference 2016: The review

Now in its eighth year, Capita’s annual housing conference continues to go from strength to strength. Hosted at the Mercure Hotel in Manchester, this year Capita’s software services team welcomed over 200 delegates to a night to remember, followed by a day packed full of information, inspiration and motivation.  By now a firm favourite, Mark Easton, BBC Home Editor, was warmly welcomed back to the conference, alongside a diverse range of speakers, all offering valuable insight across a rich tapestry of subjects. Topics included ‘the behavioural revolution’, ‘effectively managing arrears’ ‘taking Advantage, the future of OPENHousing’ and ‘the Internet of Things; from science fiction to business fact’ amongst others.

With a record number of delegates and so much going on, the challenge across the conference was to make sure you didn’t miss anything. A new innovation was introduced this year - THE POD –  capturing thoughts and comments evoked by what was seen and heard during the event.  Due for publication soon, the final cut will provide a record of what was discussed, debated and shared throughout the conference. Some of the main takeaways from the conference follow.

Watch the Best Bits of our 2016 Housing Conference



How did he do that?

The evening of 10th October provided a glittering and memorable start to proceedings. Once the delegates had dined, and ‘wining’ was well under way, Roger Birkinshaw, Capita’s Director of Housing, welcomed the fabulous David Meade to the stage. With his next BBC TV series in the making and a mentalist by profession, David proceeded to leave people open-mouthed and questioning how he made them believe the impossible with some astounding tricks of the eye and mind. Some hilarity did ensue once audience members became part of the act – this didn’t prove his downfall however, it just left everyone even more bamboozled as to how he did what he does!

If you want to know more about David and his mesmerising act you can visit his website  www.davidmeade.co.uk/

View from Twitter

David Meade ‏@DavidMeadeLive  Oct 11
Wow - what a night - epic audience at @capitahousing

Needless to say the 70’s disco went down a storm and, well, the less said about Roger Birkinshaw’s chest wig the better really.

Commenting on the state of the nation

The morning of the 11th October brought the eminently informed Mark Easton to the conference. As always, Mark provided an insightful and considered view of the state of the nation and helped set the backdrop for rest of the day. A poignant reminder that amidst the chaos and noise that is Brexit and the daily distractions of political machinations, the business of social housing endures, and matters. Mark reminded us of some stark statistics; There are approximately 1,250,000 people on the housing list, homelessness figures are increasing at an alarming rate, there were 2,500 people sleeping rough in London last year, 3,500 today; stark indeed when you consider in 2010 the aim was to eradicate rough sleeping by 2012.

As we’re all too aware there is a desperate need for more affordable homes. A commitment was made in the Queen’s speech last year to build a million new homes by 2020. This ambition has been downgraded by this government to now ‘provide’ a million affordable homes. 39,000 new social housing stock was built in 2010, last year that figure dropped to 10,000.

In his speech Mark also touched on Brexit, positing that the result of the referendum wasn’t a political vote but more a cry for consideration rather than the relentless pursuit of globalisation.  To directly access Mark’s views, visit www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents/markeaston

View from Twitter

Good commentary on the social housing landscape from @BBCMarkEaston 'almost in suspended animation' sums it up well.


Watch the interview with BBC Home Editor Mark Easton



A behavioural revolution

Steven Johnson, Director at Collaborative Change was next to take to the stage. Steven shared with delegates his prediction that a behavioural revolution is about to hit the housing sector. There is an assumption that human beings behave rationally, however, an intention to behave in a certain manner does not necessarily lead to that behaviour. Learnings can be taken from studying how people behave, using nudge theory to provoke change in that behaviour, measuring the results, and refining actions to effect positive outcomes. 

To underpin the theory, Steven shared some fascinating examples and outcomes from evidence-based behaviour change projects he’s worked on with housing organisations.  To learn more about behavioural change and nudge theory you can visit Steven’s website www.collaborativechange.org.uk/

View from Twitter

Great evidence based behavioural change presentation. Lots that can be learned from others.

Intelligently reducing housing arrears

Adam Parkhouse from Cantrefi Conwy and Capita’s own Glenn Allen were next up to highlight a case study showcasing how technology helped Cantrefi implement a new rents arrears process.  The project quickly identified unnecessary complexity in the existing process and as a result deleted 1233 unnecessary rules. 

This session provided tangible evidence in how to drive value from ‘big data’ through integrating useful data sources into a sensible process and utilising technology enabled insight. The results enable Cantrefi to now identify those most at risk of going into arrears before they actually do.     

The future is bright, the future is Advantage

Ewan MacLarty then introduced Advantage; one name to simplify the range of all the great products available from Capita Software Services. Already out there is Advantage Impact, previously known as Capita Support; Advantage Intelligence, previously known as Capita InSight; and Advantage Mobile, now taking the lead when it comes to how we talk about our complete mobile working functionality.
Ewan announced that the new name for Project Horizon is Project Advantage! Advantage Housing, Advantage Contractor and Advantage Assets are all on their way. With a brand new web-based user interface, hosted environment, clickable icons and more, the new developments will be free to upgrade for all existing OPEN customers. Delivery will commence in 2017 with a staged roll-out starting with Advantage Contractor.

Seminar sessions to provide more detail to all customers will be scheduled for early 2017. Download Ewan’s presentation here. 

View from Twitter

Advantage Contractor new screens are looking very clean @capitahousing I like the EYE Instead of a right click

Helen Rogers, Head of Housing Products then provided a short overview of the OPEN suite strategic roadmap. A new Pay to Stay module is under development using Advantage Digital and Advantage Intelligence technology, which also supports data protection regulation. Helen highlighted the Highways England project that will soon go live with housing’s complete asset management solution. Helen also briefly described a new solution ‘Private Works’. Still in the blueprint phase it will allow a housing organisation to deliver chargeable jobs and take payments on the move. There is currently a call for customers to actively participate in a focus group to help shape this solution: interested customers should email Helen at helen.rogers@capita.co.uk Download Helen’s full presentation.

Breaking out

Delegates spent the afternoon in dedicated sessions showcasing latest developments and technology delivering value in practise. On offer were sessions on Capita Housing and Advantage Contractor. Delegates could also choose to attend ‘Supporting independent living with Advantage Impact’, a session on the Internet of Things, a presentation focussing on migration from Capita Housing to OPENHousing and a spotlight on Genesis Housing – how to improve business through print management.  

There really was something for everyone.

It’s a wrap

Roger got the last word, succinctly summarising proceedings and thanking all delegates, speakers and exhibitors, who help make the conference such a success. He’s already looking forward to next year! Hear more from Roger when the videos from the POD are published. Keep an eye out for it – we’ll drop you a note.

One final observation…

Overheard from a delegate leaving the conference

Advantage Housing looks fantastic. I want to keep it a secret because everyone will want it NOW

Capita would like to thank all the delegates, speakers and exhibitors who continue to make the conference a growing success.

Further information

Contact us to find out more about any of the products or case studies showcased at this year's event.