The findings from the Digital Deal Challenge Fund, a programme designed to stimulate digital inclusion activity in the social housing sector through 12 innovative schemes, have been shared by Tinder Foundation, the organisation managing the fund.
Key findings from the evaluation included:
1. The importance of long term investment and commitment
2. Websites and online transactional services need to be fit-for-purpose, and so simple that they become the preferred channel for tenants.
3. Digital skills support shouldn’t be delivered in isolation, but should be embedded into wider support services.
4. Innovation – for example tablet loans schemes and low cost borrow-to-buy partnerships with credit unions – can have a huge impact on reaching those that have been left behind.
5. Partnership working between social housing providers, UK online centres, Jobcentres and more has been key to accelerating digital inclusion activity.
12 Social Housing Providers across the UK took part in the Digital Deal, which was jointly funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). With half of the UK population living in social housing, the programme was designed to test innovative ways of embedding digital inclusion, engaging tenants and building partnerships, with learnings taken forward to be shared across the wider sector.
All of the organisations taking part in the programme achieved a great deal in a small amount of time, with projects focussing on those most in need.
The Digital Deal challenge fund was designed to support the implementation of the government’s Digital by Default strategy, which will support people to use services like Universal Credit in the future.
Helen Milner, Chief Executive of Tinder Foundation said:
“Digital inclusion continues to be a huge priority for the housing sector, and not only are more and more services moving online, but tenants are also beginning to demand online services. It has been great to see the huge successes of the Digital Deal programme, and I hope some of the innovation we have seen as part of the programme will inspire other social housing providers to do the same. At Tinder Foundation, we will take these findings forward, with both local and national partners, to ensure that these impacts can be felt across the sector, and we really learn from this programme.”
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