collective voice

Thanks for dropping by our blog page. Our team of over 40 full-time experts use our people-shaped approach to #MakeBetterHappen for individuals, communities and organisations. With insight, co-creation and engagement at the core of all that we do, our mission is to help shape a well, confident and self-reliant society. Call us on 0845 5193 423

Can promoting healthy living protect your income?

November 2, 2017 16:53

Money, employment, family and home life, health and wellbeing - which of these are important to your customers?

Unsurprisingly, our research with social housing customers revealed that all of these factors are vitally important to them, and that they all support their fundamental aspiration for a safe and secure future for themselves, their children and their families.

However, what was of particular interest is that each of these priorities has a direct effect on the other, which traps some customers in a downward spiral that they find difficult to break. For example, a primary barrier to gaining employment is not lack of skills or experience. Rather, it is believed to be poor mental and physical health and wellbeing. Not being able to secure employment affects a customer’s ability to earn money, which creates uncertainty around maintaining a home. This causes stress and anguish, which have a detrimental impact upon their mental and physical health and wellbeing:

So what can we do to help your customers to break this cycle, become more financially secure, achieve their aspiration and protect your income by paying their rent on time?

Recently, the King’s Fund reported that individuals from lower socio-economic and educational groups are five times more likely to engage in a number of unhealthy behaviour at once such as smoking, eating takeaways, drinking alcohol, consuming ready meals and engaging in low-level fixed odds betting.

When these behaviours are combined with trying to manage money on a low-level fixed income, making ends meet can be really challenging, particularly for those who are trying to manage their budget and financial commitments under Universal Credit. We’ve found that by working together, we can help to improve the health, wellbeing and welfare of your customers whilst protect your income.

We can help

At ICE, our social marketing and behaviour change specialists have worked extensively with housing customers across the country to create a programme that not only supports an improvement in health and wellbeing, but also financial stability.

We call it GET MON£YSMART, and it received the top award for Behaviour Change Innovation at the World Behavioural Science Nudge Awards.

It is a structured, multichannel social marketing programme designed to engage, educate and empower your customers to make small, incremental changes to unhealthy lifestyle behaviours that also benefit their finances.

This effective and engaging programme protects your income by supporting your customers to:

  • Improve their health and wellbeing by reducing their unhealthy behaviours
  • Reduce spending on non-essential items
  • Pay their rent on time, and not fall into arrears.

The campaign theme and resources can be tailored easily to fit your corporate brand, and the communications and engagement plan can be shaped to meet your specification.

To take a look at our GET MON£YSMART case study or to find out more about how we can co-create a bespoke solution to meet your needs, contact Chris Lunn: 0845 5193 423/chris.lunn@icecreates.com

Incommunities - Developing the Leadership Culture

October 31, 2017 11:36

Developing the Leadership Culture Case Study 

Bradford based Incommunities is a Registered Social Housing Provider. The organisation manages and owns more than 22,000 homes, offering a range of housing options and services for local communities. ICE were commissioned to help the organisation to develop and grow ahead of competition from 47 others. Our practitioners were chosen for their “unique and individual” organisational development approach to transformation.

Read More....  Developing the Leadership Culture Case Study

 

For more information please contact: 

Rachel Stamp 

rachel.stamp@icecreates.com 

07979 906 065 

 

Changing customer behaviours to protect your income

August 9, 2016 15:37

 Are your customers’ behaviours threatening your income?

We know that you feel a great responsibility to your customers, and helping them to manage their finances is one of your priorities. Money management can be particularly challenging for your customers on low-level fixed incomes. If they are struggling to make ends meet, they can be at risk of falling into rental arrears, which has a detrimental effect on your income stream and increases your costs by having to chase payments.

We can help

Our social marketing and behaviour change specialists have worked extensively with housing customers across the country to create a simple programme to improve your customers' financial position.

It is called GET MON£YSMART and it received the top award for Behaviour Change Innovation at the annual Nudge Awards.  

It is a structured, multi-channel social marketing programme designed to engage, educate and empower your customers to take control of their finances by making small, manageable, incremental changes to their lifestyle behaviours.

This effective and engaging programme will protect your income by supporting your customers to reduce their spending on non-essential items and to pay their rent on time.

You can take a look at the case study and find out more about the programme here.

The marketing resources can be easily tailored to fit with your corporate brand and can be supplied alongside a communications and engagement plan that can be shaped to meet your specification and mobilised quickly.

To find out more, contact Paul Williams on 0151 647 4700 or at paul.williams@icecreates.com

Improved Tenant Experience from Repairs

January 14, 2016 10:15

 

One thing the ICE insight team find is that a tenant’s experience of reactive repairs clouds their view of many other services supplied by the housing provider. Further, this insight also shows that tenants will not strive for or achieve personal growth (in skills, wellbeing, employment etc) when the basics are not right. Repairs are one of these basic requirements; this is true whether it’s a local authority or a housing association.

The quotes below are from our insight work with a housing association and are not unusual:

“I’ve been trying to get this leak fixed in my roof. They said I should talk to them, but they have been a pain.”

“It’s bad… we had about an eight week battle to get the patio doors fixed.”

ICE is currently working within the sector to help organisations enhance the services and support provided to tenants, and to understand the benefits that a tenant focused repairs service can deliver. It’s worth remembering that reporting a repair is the most common interaction between tenants and their housing provider, and we all know how important that relationship is to both parties.

Working with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, our service review identified that over 30% of contacts received were from tenants chasing the progress of their repair. This volume was higher than those contacts where tenants reported a repair. This one statistic alone gives real insight into how tenants perceive the service they are provided with, and was the catalyst for the council’s desire to transform.

Here’s how it worked…

The work was based on the ICE model for service transformation, where our experienced practitioners help staff transform their own services - after all, “those who create, own”.

It began with stakeholder meetings designed to set up the work cleanly by building relationships across the service and with wider stakeholders to ensure the most value from the review.

Then followed the explore stage, where a team representing the whole of the service was brought together to create a current state map.  This visual representation of the in-scope work included the demands placed on the service by its customers, the flow of work and data to show the performance of the systems, as well as details of the root cause of reactive repairs.

The envisage stage then allowed the team to present these findings back to the wider stakeholder group at a vision workshop, ranging from tenant representatives to the executive management team. It was at this event that areas for improvement were agreed, and buy-in from across the organisation was gained. This buy-in was vital to ensure that any changes would be sustained in the future.

Through a period of experimentation, operatives, charge-hands and team managers were given the ability to use innovative solutions to the issues they faced.  They used an agreed methodology that built upon the principles of systems thinking to guide them, and measured the changes made against an agreed set of customer focused performance measures.

What did it achieve?

As well as virtually eliminating the failure demand chasing the progress of a repair, the team has reduced the time for reporting to completing the repair by over 50%, with plumbing repairs now running at an average of less than 2 days.

Reduced repair times have also had a knock-on effect to the “no access rate”, which had been a major cause of waste within the system.

It is still early days, and January sees a period where ICE will support the services to embed these changes and make them business as usual.

For more information contact Chris.Lunn@icecreates.com 0151 647 04700

 

My top 3 challenges to the housing sector for 2016

January 4, 2016 09:55

I’ve been a fan of social housing for years.

Last month, a team of us at ICE had the pleasure of giving a presentation to the rest of our company about our social housing clients, what they do and the sort of work we are helping them with.

Preparing for it took me back to the days of working as a reporter on the magazine published by the National Housing Federation. Even at the tender age of 25, I loved the sector (once I had learned the jargon). This is social affairs and community investment at its finest. These are organisations that are independent, not-for-profit social businesses, set up to provide affordable homes for people in housing need.

That’s no mean feat, given that the people most in need of housing have a wider variety of challenges to deal with than just not having a roof over their heads. Five million people are supported by social housing landlords. Yes, there’s the roof and walls, the rent and repairs, but how many private landlords also offer community initiatives, employment training, coaching, IT lessons, health and wellbeing groups, crime and safety work, projects with young people and children, not to mention the whole regeneration of chunks of our towns and cities?

Private sector organisations with a public sector heart. We’ve worked with Home Group for over four years now, and I love their raison d’être: “To help our customers and clients to open doors to new opportunities and healthy lives”. [link https://www.homegroup.org.uk/About-Us]

These are values we share.

But the sector itself faces a number of challenges. Like everyone else, it suffers from budget cuts and policy changes, such as the extension of the right to buy and a 1% reduction in rental income. Many are under threat. [link http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2015/jul/22/government-five-year-vision-social-housing]

But they are, in the main, clever organisations run by clever people. They fund millions of pounds of affordable rental development and community investment programmes by building shared ownership and outright sale properties. Our design team, copywriters and marketers do an incredible job of helping sales staff up and down the country.

Our research teams have spoken with hundreds of tenants and customers from Margate to Cumbria to understand how they understand the impact of Universal Credit and the effect it will have on their lives – including their ability to pay rent. No surprise that 90% of those already on Universal Credit are in rent arrears, with many organisations struggling to cope with the changes in the benefits system in a timely way. [link http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/policy/health-and-care/nine-in-10-universal-credit-tenants-in-arrears/7013234.article?utm_source=Housing60&utm_medium=email&utm_content=article_link&utm_campaign=H60].

Here are my top three priorities for housing providers for 2016:

-       Understand your customers: get deep, qualitative insight into what they want, how you as a landlord can improve, their aspirations for the future, their challenges with employment, literacy, IT, money management, benefits. It will pay dividends as you plan your approach based on evidence, and not assumptions

-       Communicate well: keep innovating. Try new things, even if the old ones are working. Don’t give up if something doesn’t work – learn from it and try something else. Use digital and social to surprise and delight. Use quality design and innovative campaigns to make your developments stand out from the crowd

-       Keep your own house in order: if you want tenants to see you as more than just the landlord, do the landlording exceptionally well. Get that repairs service running efficiently and effectively. Scrutinise how your approach to tackling rent arrears matches your brand. Create a values-led organisation.

2016 will present more challenges for the sector. The heart will always be in the right place. Follow your heart – but take your brain with you.

For more information on how ICE are supporting housing providers in digital, design, marketing, insight research, organisational change and the provision of healthy lifestyle service interventions, please call Richard Forshaw on 07540 412304 or email richard.forshaw@icecreates.com