Target Housing, a charity and registered social landlord, has been providing stable accommodation and support to vulnerable people for over 30 years. First starting as a Sheffield based organisation in 1990, with a £600 loan from local charity Grace Tebutt Trust, Target Housing now provides services across Yorkshire, the Humber, North Notts and Derby.
In more recent history, Target Housing invested more than ever to expand the services they provide to complex needs’ clients. Including £30M in 30 properties, procuring a 24/7 hostel in Rotherham and extensions to council allocated support projects. All these are maintained using the Pyramid Housing Management system, which has served Target Housing since 2011.
Donna McGuiness, Target Housing’s Central Office Manager said: “We are an organisation dedicated to supporting vulnerable people in the community, with an end goal of achieving independence. Target Housing understands that the issues facing those we support can be highly complex, which is why our team works with each individual to develop a tailored support plan. These could range from benefits, bills and budgeting, to difficulties around mental health, alcoholism and drugs.
Our services also include supported housing needs, ranging from vulnerable families to individual rental agreements, such as high risk offenders. With a wide variety of clients, it’s vital everyone’s unique requirements and progress is documented accurately with the latest information, to guarantee consistency of care and achieve the best possible outcome.
Historically, the charity managed rents, repairs and client progress using several standalone solutions. Whilst it served us well during the organisations early days, as Target procured more projects and broadened our services, we found that these systems became increasingly labour intensive.
This was especially apparent when it came to data management. Working with different systems day-to-day and compiling data from multiple sources required a large time investment, which heavily detracted valuable resources from Target Housings lifeblood, our projects and our clients. In addition, none of the systems were integrated, which made sharing the latest information with staff who needed it very difficult.
We quickly concluded that integration would be the key solution to efficiently support and maximise time with our clients. It was around this time that OmniLedger were recommended by another social housing provider, who operated in a similar field to Target.
During OmniLedger’s on-site demonstration of their Pyramid Housing Management system, we were pleasantly surprised at the level of integration and how easy it was to produce reports. Targets KPI’s are measured differently for each project, and this demonstration had proven that Pyramid was more than flexible enough to capture the information required and produce analysis reports.
As with all new solutions, we were abit nervous about making the transition into the unknown. Having become comfortable with their way of working, people are naturally resistant to change and transferring whole databases can be a gruelling task, since it’s the beating heart of our business.
However, OmniLedger’s project team proved that data collection and validation can be a simple task using their import templates. Once the system was live and all staff training was completed, the team were very eager to use Pyramid.
Since then, the team has benefitted from receiving the latest information using Pyramid’s centralised database. We’ve found that staff no longer need to call into head office to obtain details of a property. This can now be achieved themselves by logging in remotely.
This is the same with tenant rent checks, where previously staff would have printed off the rent report at our office prior to going onsite. Other areas of notable efficiency improvements include:
- Monitoring day-to-day repairs and maintenance to meet our response times
- Keeping on top of arrears using regular rent reports
- Before and after outcome analysis. Displayed graphically and via standard reports
- Using Pyramid’s automated notifications to maintain positive KPI results for each project
Looking ahead, Target plans to move our client incident and safeguard logging processes into Pyramid as well. Currently, our staff process cases using paper records, with each remote site maintaining their own databases. Results are then collated and presented to the commissioner for reporting purposes. We plan to replicate these forms within Pyramid so that this database is also centralised, providing all remote offices with a synchronised approach.
This will also help with Target’s long term goal of expanding our services further and becoming a more regional organisation, where we’ll need to promote remote working practices, which Pyramid’s centralised database provides the foundation to.”