Housing and health experts join forces to help social landlords tackle data challenge

A new organisation has launched to help the social housing sector tackle widespread data management problems. Illumar, a collaboration between social housing business services provider Inprova and health data automation software specialists Insource, will support social landlords to unify data from disparate systems, improve poor data quality and increase the adoption of common data standards. It aims to help social landlords have one single, trusted source of data.

Illumar has been set up in response to warnings about data management from the Regulator of Social Housing. In its most recent Sector Risk Profile, the Regulator reminded providers about its requirements for reporting data, stating that ‘Failure to provide timely and accurate data will be reflected in the judgement of a provider’s compliance with the regulatory standards.’

Illumar takes learning and technologies developed for the health sector, combined with an in-depth knowledge of the social housing sector to create an enterprise data management solution platform specifically designed and built for housing providers. It aims to help social landlords see their data as a business asset rather than a business liability.

The social housing sector spends over £400m per year on technology and 84% of this is on software, systems and consultancy. Yet much of this goes towards creating bespoke data processing systems, often built from scratch by different internal teams and individuals within housing organisations, using outdated or inappropriate technology and design standards.

As a consequence of this approach, most housing providers don’t have joined-up, integrated or automated data management systems. The value that lies within an organisation’s data is rarely discussed at Board level as data is usually regarded as a technical issue, not a strategic one.

Illumar’s mission is to change the sector’s approach to data management and support social housing organisations by providing a highly configurable industry-standard data management platform based on the solutions that have been developed and honed over many years for the health sector.

With a standard data platform, housing providers can move away from using scarce resources to resolve this common issue individually and instead join forces to manage their data more effectively. This collaborative approach will help social landlords to improve the safety and performance of their organisations and the lives of their tenants.

Steve Malone, MD of Inprova said: “Working with over 900 housing providers, we see the data challenges that housing providers face on a daily basis. Through collaboration, we’ve created Illumar, which is agnostic to core housing systems, but brings information together in a unified data layer. This will enable organisations, regardless of their systems, to rapidly use a standard approach, rather than developing costly in-house, bespoke data solutions.”

Steve Aitken, Chairman of Insource said: “There are so many similarities between the health and housing sectors in terms of their data requirements and how it needs to be managed. We have already evidenced that the lessons learnt in the complex data ecosystem of the NHS will help resolve data problems in social housing. Insource’s a partnership with Inprova and the creation of Illumar is the first step in enabling social landlords to solve the data management problems that are creating significant inefficiencies and keeping their senior managers and board members awake at night.”