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Derwent Living’s digital delight

Created on Monday, March 10th, 2014
by Michael Futers

DERBY-based Derwent Living is celebrating success after winning an award for its digital services. 

The housing provider won the Excellence in Digital Engagement Award at the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Central Awards ceremony on Friday, 7 March, in Birmingham.  It will now go forward to a prestigious national final in July where it will compete against the winners of the Southern Finals and Northern Finals.

Derwent Living has developed a range of digital services to give customers greater choice of communication.  These include its secure interactive site MY Derwent Living, an App for smartphones and tablets, a fully mobile optimised website and effective use of social media.  MY Derwent Living and the app have enabled customers to manage their accounts and tenancies, and get involved at times and in ways that suit them.

Resident involvement manager Mitch Allseybrook said: “I’m thrilled that our hard work has been rewarded with this award. What we’ve done to improve our digital offering means customers can keep in touch with us in many different ways.

“In the last 18 months we’ve launched a secure website where customers can manage their accounts and get involved, a mobile app for phones and tablets and our social media work is engaging with more and more people.”

Mitch Allseybrook and Harriet Phillipson receive the award from Inside Housing's Nick Duxbury.

Mitch Allseybrook and Harriet Phillipson receive the award from Inside Housing’s Nick Duxbury.

MY Derwent Living was launched to allow customers to check their account, make payments, report repairs, make a complaint or change their household details, which was so successful it has now been extended to enable people to take part in online discussions and vote in polls as part of the newly-named MY Community.

One customer to use it is Josie Gadsby of Littleover, she said: “I use it for checking the balance of my rent account and I’ve it used for reporting a repair, and it worked well. 

“But now I also use it to take part in discussions in MY Community.  It’s better than Facebook because there is no nastiness.  It’s great; Derwent Living people having their say.”

Steve Atkin, marketing and digital media manager, added: “We have also seen the average age of those getting involved go down from around 60 to 40.  This gives us a more representative view of the people who are actually living in our properties.

“But our digital services are also about improving efficiency and value for money.  We now get around 1,500 logins a month to MY and we’ve reduced the number of telephone calls to our customer services teams by 4,500 a year.”

Derwent Living was also commended in another award at the ceremony last week.  Its resident scrutiny team was commended in the Excellence in Tenant-Led Scrutiny Award for the work it does to improve services by scrutinising existing provision and making recommendations to the Derwent Living Board.       

The TPAS Awards recognise tenants who go the extra mile, landlords and tenants working together and great ideas that show what can be achieved when people are truly involved with their housing provider.

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