Glasgow City Council has worked in partnership with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), private landlords and other stakeholders with an interest in housing and digital services to develop a Digital Housing Strategy for Glasgow – a first in Scotland.
The strategy has been developed around four housing-related themes:
- Digital Inclusion;
- Systems and Services; and
Glasgow City Council is the first local authority in Scotland to develop a strategy that seeks to improve digital housing services, tackle digital exclusion, use technology and enhance the collection, analysis and display of housing data. A total of 32 RSLs – who own 75% of the city’s social rented housing stock – provided valuable feedback in their responses to the Digital Housing Survey. This feedback has been key to informing the challenges, priorities and actions outlined in the document.
A key aim of the strategy is to expand the provision of digital housing services offered to RSL households living in the city. However, traditional customer service methods such as face-to-face and telephone contact should continue to be provided going forward to ensure that all tenants can choose how they access housing services.
The data provided by RSLs suggests that 65% of households living in the city’s social rented housing sector do not use a broadband connection in their home. The main reasons for digital exclusion include affordability, lack of skills and/or a reluctance to transact online. Working with partners to tackle digital exclusion through various initiatives and increase the provision of affordable broadband are key actions included in the Digital Housing Strategy.
There are opportunities for the city’s RSLs to use digital platforms to expand how customers choose to access services and housing. Developing a web-based Common Housing Register for Glasgow would assist in improving access to affordable housing for households wishing to live in the city and improve the collection of data. The strategy sets out plans on how Glasgow City Council will engage and work closely with RSLs to develop the project going forward.
Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm at Glasgow City Council, said: “The development of a Digital Housing Strategy presents a range of opportunities for delivering service improvements across the city’s housing sector using technology and innovation. Glasgow City Council will continue to work effectively with Registered Social Landlords and other partners to address the challenges that are outlined in the strategy. Working together with partners to deliver the action plan will enhance access to, and the quality of, housing for many people.”