Wednesday, 19 August 2020

The New Normal

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I have found being locked down has been very busy and productive, with a growing feeling that social housing is at last waking up, to how they need to nurture a team structure in a different way, than we did in the traditional office environment. 

Following up on something I touched on in an earlier blogpost, it's good to contrast my experience with a local solution provider I often work with.

I was chatting with contacts at Hallnet, who produce the Active Housing brand range of housing web portals and self-service software , sharing a few insights into their experiences earlier this week.

active portal - Smartphone sign in to your account
Amazingly, Hallnet have onboarded five new staff during the breakout of Covid19 due to expansion, including really effective remote training. They have introduced a number of virtual team building strands, to maintain productivity and introduce an element of missing interaction whilst working from home. These are easy elements for any socialhousing organisation to introduce over Google hangouts, Zoom etc. Lunchtime active workouts, drop-in learning sessions, Film Club provide a varied mix with regular team meetings over Google and a daily stand-up from each team member.

Hallnet in common with other organisations I work with, have found that including social strands, like virtual pub quizzes, staff drinks and even poker tournaments, have really built bridges between staff. In the old normal getting social was an employees business. In the new normal, getting to know work colleagues better goes somewhere to replacing the intimacy of all the activities we couldn’t do or now have to do in a more restricted manner.

From what I have been seeing during the lockdown period, Hallnet have backed the right horse to prepare for a rush for landlords to make better self-service a reality, to better serve customers remotely. I have seen a few rollout plans turned on their heads, so I was interested in the type of things they have delivered in the first part of 2020.

For socialhousing, building on work with all the key HMS suppliers, Hallnet have now released ‘Active Portal’ self service tenant portal with advanced content management and ‘Active Community’, a new way to connect RSL residents with local activities, events and services, in a free online directory.

activeportal - laptop view
Over a socially distanced IPA refresher 🍻, Simon Wilkes filled me in on some of their recent implementations. Of the successes at Gravesham , Grand Union Housing and Stonewater, I found their work at Radian most interesting. It’s rare to see a self-service project to be taken live within just 67 working days and attracting 5,000+ registered users and 40,000 logins in just over a month. I am often asked how you can achieve that type of footfall and I personally favour carrots, not sticks.

A rich and easy to use environment always has a definite ‘pull’ factor for natural self servers, who want the easiest options to participate, particularly zero-touch. Pretty much my favourites are all included, in the work Hallnet have delivered for the Radian Active Portal. GDPR is covered by privacy opt-ins, dashboard providing access to account info, statements and easy means of making payment. Repairs are self-appointing with ability to track and amend upcoming repairs. Alerts and notifications ensure the tenant is fully aware of their current account information and upcoming appointments.

Navigating a tenant account with active portal

So, a raft of great resident tools in the brand-new self-service Radian toolbelt and its smartphone-centric, device responsive design proven correct, by stats showing 71% of sessions from mobile devices. Here I think Hallnet have a proven, well thought through productised solution, that would slot into many RSLs, RPs and councils with retained housing stock.


It’s unfortunate that so many socialhousing providers, still think that to be able to provide real world self-service, we need budgets like the big banks to spend, to achieve it. Full credit from me to Active Housing by Hallnet for making this available, proving it can be done quickly, particularly in our ‘New Normal’.

Remember, you heard it here first – go drop in and visit Hallnet today here -

Related Post: Who should be fixing your data errors and maintaining data quality?


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

New Normal - Louisa WendorffNew Normal - Louisa Wendorff.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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