Colchester Borough Homes, the housing subsidiary of Colchester Borough Council, has implemented a new IT system from Northgate Public Services (NPS) to give its housing residents better access to more digital services. The move will also save time for staff and pave the way for greater innovation in the way properties are managed.

Managing the project remotely due to COVID-19, NPS worked in partnership with Colchester Borough Council and Colchester Borough Homes to ensure NPS Housing went live in just over 11 months, taking the quality support Colchester Borough Homes provides to its residents to the next level. Typically, similar transformations would take at least 18 months to implement and sometimes longer.

Once all phases of the project are complete, residents will have the option to view their rental statements, manage payments and report repairs from home.

Housing staff working remotely can update tenancy records from any device and analyse data such as the geographical location and condition of properties at the touch of a button to help make informed decisions on when and where to target resources.

Gareth Mitchell, chief executive of Colchester Borough Homes, said: “The views, aspirations and priorities of our community are at the very heart of everything we do. With NPS Housing, we have the firm foundations we need to push the boundaries of innovation in housing and continue to meet the needs of our residents for many years to come. It is a testament to the team involved that we have completed this work in such a short space of time in such extraordinary circumstances.”

Cllr Adam Fox, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “Our continued focus is to invest in the homes in our community and we are committed to finding effective ways to deliver housing services to the people of Colchester.”

Roger Birkinshaw, housing director at Northgate Public Services, said: “In these challenging times, people need to go above and beyond to get things done. The close working partnership between all parties involved was critical to the success of this project and NPS Housing will be the springboard for the future of housing management across the region. There were some challenges along the way, but to be able to access NPS Housing in the cloud for Colchester Borough Homes staff so quickly is a tremendous achievement.”