Luton Borough Council – Creating a platform for the future: digital innovation in housing
“In common with many areas of the UK, demand for social housing in Luton is far higher than the stock we have available. We have successfully utilised the Communicall Vi IP as a digital access management platform within temporary accommodation, while offering additional benefits as a site management solution for Mears Group and Luton Borough Council.”
Ian Cartmell, Head of Housing Operations,
Luton Borough Council
Rising demand and limited budgets means local authorities and housing providers must think creatively to find ways of meeting the housing needs of citizens. Ensuring accommodation is suitable for general needs enables flexibility and maximises occupancy levels.
How has Luton Borough Council used technology to help ensure tenants and buildings are protected from incidents of anti-social behaviour?
Eaton Green House in Luton was previously used for student accommodation, but in 2017 was converted to a multi-occupancy hostel providing 96 households utilising Improved Better Care Fund funding.
Assistive Technology Solutions (ATS), a new traded service of Luton Borough Council worked with Mears Group (Omega Housing) to adapt the site, with Tunstall acting as technology partner. Tunstall’s Communicall Vi IP system was identified as offering an effective solution to managing anti-social behaviour and providing access control, and a platform for the delivery of other services in the future. Contemporary IP touchscreen phones have been installed in each home which feature video door entry and enable tenants to call onsite staff. The management system is web-based – giving access to both onsite staff and offsite authorised managers. This solution was built into the renovation of the premises in place of traditional door entry systems
Benefits of the system include:
- Programmable access levels and schedules
- Software controlled management system that allows access to different areas and floors within a building for residents and visitors depending on their vulnerability, needs and risk-levels to other residents
- Lockdown capability
- Ability to automatically isolate certain areas of the building in the event of an emergency or danger to the resident from other residents or unwanted visitors
- Visitor management and monitoring
- Onsite user management and monitoring connected to surveillance equipment and access records
Using the Communicall Vi IP system has provided an advanced communication and access control system at Eaton Green House, helping to protect tenants from incidents of anti-social behaviour.
As the development is general needs accommodation, the system has been designed to be flexible, offering a communication system without the need for an independent door entry system, which can be configured on a tenant-by-tenant basis. The system can be adapted over time, as tenants’ needs change, for example by providing a platform for telecare and extra care support if this is required.
As digital technology and the Internet of Things expands, the Communicall Vi IP system can be expanded to accommodate the latest technological developments, such as apps for managing housing repairs, training for residents or local taxi services. Communicall Vi IP continues to evolve, and will offer phone and internet services that can be delivered as an option to residents.
Luton Borough Council plans further general needs developments which will utilise Communicall Vi IP to provide a cost-effective, future-proof platform for a wide range of tenants.