The organisation was formed in April 2012 following the merger of Harvest Housing Group and Arena Housing Group. Your Housing Group places customers and employees at the heart of everything it does. This approach is particularly evident in the organisation’s attitude to Health & Safety, risk, incident and issue management.
After the merger in 2012, Your Housing Group inherited a number of different systems to manage and report on risk, incidents and performance. The development of a single, robust platform for risk and performance management was essential to achieve the strategic objective of embedding good risk management into the day-to-day operational culture. Datix software was chosen to support a new risk management strategy and governance framework.
Debs Smith, Head of Risk at Your Housing Group said, “Prior to Datix, we had disparate systems, along with manual spreadsheets to record incidents, risks, actions, safeguarding, claims, audit recommendations and complaints. Datix was chosen because of its versatility and track record in healthcare. Your Housing Group required an integrated risk, incident and performance management system, with the ability to be fully flexible and easily tailored to meet its complex organisational needs. We also needed a web based interface to provide easy access across the organisation with minimal connection issues and single sign on ability.”
Debs Smith joined Your Housing Group after many years of experience in the NHS. While there are many similarities in managing incidents and investigations, terminology is different in the housing sector and the emphasis on property means risks associated with fire, false alarms, asbestos and gas are far greater in the housing market.
Debs Smith explained, “A high volume of incident reporting illustrates the open and transparent culture within Your Housing Group, although there was an education process required to identify the difference between a repair and an incident. For example “a hole in the roof” should be dealt with by the repairs team, however, if a contractor left something in the way which led to a fall or trip, then that is an incident. The rollout of Datix has helped people to understand these differences. People now know what to report and where, how they fit into the process and have a greater understanding of role of the governance and assurance team.”
The initial rollout of Datix was based on a three phase implementation plan. Phase 1 was launched in April 2016 and included Datix Incidents, Risk Register, Action Plans, Dashboards and To Do Lists. Over the next twelve months, rollout plans include the introduction of customer care (using the Datix Complaints module), Claims, Safecase which is a multi-functional module to include safeguarding concerns, audit recommendations and HR cases. The final phase will see the introduction of directorate level dashboards and any additional module requirements will be identified.
Since the launch of Datix in April 2016, Your Housing Group has more than quadrupled its incident reporting rate. According to Debs Smith, this increase is the result of Datix incident awareness training, a user friendly interface and ease of access to the system. The level of reporting is expected to plateau as the incident reporting culture becomes embedded within the day to day operation of the organisation.
Debs Smith gave more detail, “Because of the size and structure of the organisation we have identified eight primary Datix leads who sit within the business and are responsible for updating profile permissions for staff within their areas and are the main link person to the Governance & Assurance team who oversee Datix. In addition, the system has been designed with input from specialist leads for Safeguarding, Health & Safety, Information Governance and compliance teams for gas, fire, asbestos, legionella, etc, who have specialist category specific sections built in to provide valuable analysis of data to ensure lessons can be learned.”
To monitor and manage the increased numbers, a system of clustering investigations was introduced. All incidents are graded by severity, with level 1 being the lowest and level 3 the highest. Level 3 incidents have a 3-day review investigation similar to a 72 hour review in the NHS. An investigation template document is attached to Datix and when completed, this can be downloaded for review by the investigation panel, with recommendations and actions fed back into the system for future monitoring and lessons learned. Level 1 incidents are added to Datix in the same way, with a monthly analysis of low level incidents which is used to identify “Cluster Themed Investigations”. A 30 day review, with recommendations, actions and lessons learned, is presented at a Learning Forum.
“The system has also allowed us to escalate serious incidents with potential media interest to the Executive Leadership Team and CEO and for onward reporting to Board members as required.” Debs Smith, Head of Risk for Your Housing Group
Datix provides a single electronic integrated system for the recording, reporting and monitoring of incidents, risks, complaints, claims and action plans. It is an easy to access, user friendly, intuitive system that allows for trend analysis reporting, dashboards and performance monitoring both internally and externally across the organisation.
In addition the Risk Systems Team has developed a suite of standardised packaged reports that managers can access, providing monitoring of approval timescales and themed analysis. The reports have been well received and give managers the ability to look at trends and hotspots and put actions in place to reduce recurrence.
Debs Smith concluded, “The new risk management arrangements have allowed us to escalate serious incidents internally to our Executive Leadership Team and board members as required. It also provides reports to external stakeholders such as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) in a qualitative and quantitative manner, in real time. We are satisfying regulatory requirements as well as providing local managers with real, credible data on the safety and performance of their services to allow continuous improvement through lessons learned.”
For more information on Your Housing Group visit www.yourhousinggroup.co.uk/about-us