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New integrated housing IT system to launch this month

Published Thursday, 13 January 2022

To further improve residents’ experience of working with City of York Council’s housing services, a new integrated ICT system is launching on 24 January 2022.

Tenants and other customers will be able to set up their own accounts on it, and it will bring together all housing data.

The system called Open Housing, is launching with a first phase which will connect and improve the way the council, customers, staff and contractors work together. Further new features will be added later in the year.

This system will give access to council housing applications, temporary accommodation, resettlement services, housing management, housing repairs, planned maintenance, minor adaptations and leaseholder services.

Tenants will be able to set up accounts on the system giving them direct access to their account where they can check their rent balances, when payments are due, update customer and household details and check progress of repairs. In a later phase, tenants will also be able to set up and amend Direct Debits, and request and schedule repairs.

Wherever staff work in the service, they will be able to answer any housing-related enquiries because they will be able to see information on all aspects of the service. This could range from checking and updating a tenant’s contact details, to advising on rent account balances and payments, checking the progress of a repair and when planned maintenance is due.

Building services’ contractors will be allocated work through Open Housing’s contractor portal. They will be able to update progress and completion of works on the job, reducing officers’ time with processing orders and invoices.

Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said:

Open Housing replaces many separate systems with one integrated web-based system which will help tenants and staff by providing a single source of information.

“It gives customers greater independence as they can self-serve when it suits them. With one log-in, they can access more real-time information than ever before. This includes detail about their tenancies or their applications for housing in York, which they have told us they want.

“Open Housing will have a phased approach and bring in different features to deliver significant service improvements and efficiencies. Please be aware that service may temporarily be a little slower as we implement the system, and as staff and customers get used to using it.”

Residents will be able to use Open Housing to apply for social housing in York from April 2022. People who have already applied for housing in York, will be contacted soon to check their priority and requirements. Those who are eligible and qualify under the new, York-only policy, will be asked to make a new application through Open Housing later this year and which will be backdated.

Staff can still be contacted via email and phone as usual, and any tenants not online can book time on Explore Libraries’ computers.

The portal will open on 24 January 2022.