Low-code patterns for housing management

Contents:

  1. Timeline

This alpha project, led by London Borough of Redbridge, explored the development of a housing management platform that enables local authorities to move away from inflexible incumbent housing management solutions.

They used the 16-week alpha phase to:

  • test a user-centred approach to designing tenancy management services
  • evaluate the use of low code platforms for tenancy management as an alternative to enterprise housing management systems

Existing housing management systems are expensive and not user-centred

Enterprise housing management systems are used by social landlords but offer poor user experience.

There are high quality open source housing solutions available. However, many councils lack either the budget or the in-house technical knowledge to integrate these solutions with existing systems.

Migrating housing systems is expensive. The high implementation costs have led to archaic in-house systems that have not kept pace with changing user needs.

Alternatively, low code platforms need minimal hand-coding, which reduces development costs. Low code also usually enables quicker setup and implementation times at the potential cost of some flexibility.

Developing user-centred tenancy management processes in low code platforms

This project has defined service patterns for three tenancy management processes:

  1. Change of a tenant’s details, such as their phone number
  2. Application for a sole to joint tenancy
  3. Application for succession of tenancy

The team have designed clickable prototypes of each of these processes, which their three low code partners developed on their platforms.

They have kept user needs at the heart of the alpha by holding user workshops and running usability testing on the prototypes and the low code platforms. By addressing user needs, they can ensure that housing systems are more intuitive. Councils with limited IT resources should be able to implement and maintain housing solutions built on low code platforms.

Project timeline

November 2021

The project is awarded £150,000 of funding through Round 5 of the Local Digital Fund to conduct an alpha phase.

January 2022

The project has appointed a design partner who worked with Hackney Council in 2021 on the same issue. The design partner will be working with Redbridge’s user researchers and designers to create low code patterns. This will allow someone to change their details, or type of tenancy agreement, easily and efficiently. Read more on the team’s blog.

February 2022

March 2022

Redbridge has completed the 16-week alpha phase to explore ways of improving social housing management.

They will now develop their findings from alpha to move into beta. This next phase will include:

  • getting a better understanding of universal service patterns and processes
  • refining and iterating their low code platform designs