Community Insight user group meet up

Thanks to all those who attended the Community Insight User Group meet-up last week. We were thrilled with the enthusiasm, feedback and support we received from everyone and are excited to be working with so many of you on the development of Community Insight.

What are people saying?

The meet-up was an excellent opportunity to discuss with users how Community Insight has benefited their organisation so far and in what capacity they are using the tool. We have put together a snippet of the feedback we have received so far about how different organisations are using the tool to improve and target their services.

  • “Community Insight allows us to question our funding and refocus budgets to fit actual needs”  – Circle Housing
  • “We have been able to locate our Welfare Benefit Advisors based on what we can see on Community Insight” – Viridian Housing
  • “Stock types have been useful in seeing how stock managed by different people overlaps. This allows us to work together, rather than feeling isolated”  – Symphony Housing

Future of Community Insight

We’re really pleased with where Community Insight is at the moment, but we know that there are still many ways to make the tool even better. Which is why it’s great to have so many housing associations on board at these early stages, working with us to continuously develop a tool that best suits their needs.

As promised at the user group, we gave users the chance to talk through and prioritise what we develop in the next few months.

1. High priorities

2. Medium priorities

3. Lower priority

Using a highly sophisticated Post-it & dots (TM 😉 ) system, the user group members identified the five features that were of most importance to them. From these notes we have compiled the top three developments which we will be prioritising for development:

1.       Upload your own data

This feature will go live in October this year, allowing users to upload their own data to Community Insight. The most requested feature at the user group meeting, subscribers are eager to be able to use their own data alongside the open data available on Community Insight.

2.       Who’s on my patch?

Community Insight will flag up other organisations that are working locally to you, or in areas that share similar characteristics. The popularity of this feature followed on from an excellent discussion had by all around the importance and benefits of sharing information and finding out who else is working in similar areas or dealing with similar challenges. This adds another element to the ‘Community’ aspect of ‘Community Insight’, and due to its popularity with subscribers will take top priority in future developments.

3.     Update indicators with Police UK data

Many users were keen to see police data at neighbourhood level as an indicator to overlay on the Community Insight map, especially for targeting and reducing anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods. We’re working on this for early Autumn, and also intend to include Land Registry open data on property prices.


If you can’t see your top priority features on our upcoming development plan, don’t worry! We will be rolling in even more over the next few months. Check back on our Community Insight blog to see the latest updates.

Couldn’t make the user group? We would love to hear from you, whether you are already a subscriber and want to have a chat about how your organisation is using the tool, or simply want to find out more.


Coming soon- Community Insight user group meet-up

Community Insight subscribers are invited to the next ‘user group’ meeting which will be held Thursday 11th July 10.00am-2.00pm. This meeting will be held at the HACT offices, in CAN Mezzanine 49-51 East Road, London, N1 6AH (same as last time for those of you who were able to make it).

These on-going sessions give Community Insight subscribers the chance to:

  • Give feedback on Community Insight and any areas that aren’t working to your requirements;
  • Find out how other subscribers are using the tool;
  • Contribute to the prioritisation of product development over the coming months.

The session will specifically address the technical aspects of the programme, providing a training opportunity for new or enhanced features, ‘how-tos’ and will provide an opportunity to address any technical issues you maybe experiencing.

We will also provide a working lunch.

Reserve your space here.

Can’t make it?

Not to worry. Contact us with any issues or comments you wish for us to discuss at the group meeting.

We will post a summary of the event afterwards here.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Experiences from the Community Insight user group

Event date: Friday 8th March

A big thank you to all those (Affinity Sutton, Circle Housing Group, Devon and Cornwall Homes, One Housing Group, Orchard, Peabody, Sovereign, Symphony and Tower Hamlets) who came to our first Community Insight user group meet last Friday, and the many others who fed in comments for the event.

It was great to meet with everyone, and have so many users involved in the development of Community Insight over the coming months. The event was a great opportunity to share experiences of using Community Insight so far, and explore how to improve the tool to make it a critical part of targeting and evaluating community investment in your organisations.

Below we have put together a round-up of what went on, and what you can expect from Community Insight over the coming months.

How are you using Community Insight?

Critically, Community Insight is being used to support and evidence the community investment decisions being made by housing providers.

Organisations were using Community Insight to identify changes within their neighbourhood and quickly pull up reports to show and share this information.

Users found that they could quickly break down census data without having to trawl through public sites to find the data, saving time and money.

Importantly, users were able to paint a picture of the ‘external factors and drivers’ within their neighbourhoods and communities.

How has your organisation been using Community Insight? Get in touch here if you have any comments.

What next?

A big focus of the first user group meet-up was to establish what users wanted to get out of the tool. The key functionality that users identified were:

Report on areas without stock: Generate data and report on any area by drawing on the map, not just for those areas where people have stock.

Different stock types: Customise property types (general needs, supported housing, etc.), and turn on/off different types on the map and reports.

Neighbourhood dashboard: Explore and compare data for all stock and neighbourhoods. Select which key indicators you would like to view, and how you would like the data to displayed in order to get the best results.

New functionality will be rolled out every two weeks, and all of the above is in development. So if you don’t see it in the next update (due 15th March), you can expect the new functionality to be rolled out over the coming months. Keep an eye on this blog for changes.

And as always, any feedback or comments? Get in touch!

Coming soon – Community Insight User Group meet-up

Community Insight subscribers are invited to the first ‘user group’ meeting which will be held next week, Friday 8th March 10.30am-1.00pm. The meeting will be at the HACT offices, close to Old Street underground station.

The event will give users an opportunity to:

  • Feedback on Community Insight and any updates/improvements that they wish to see
  • Find out how different groups are using the tool
  • Help to prioritise product development over the coming months.

Join HACT’s chief executive Matt Leach and OCSI’s Director Tom Smith for this session. Sign up to the event here.

A working lunch will also be provided.

Can’t make it?

Not to worry. Contact us with feedback for us to discuss at the user group meeting.

We will post a summary of the event afterwards here.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Join us for our first free Population Insight webinar session

When: Thursday 21st February, 12pm- 2pm

Where: Held on the HACT website

We will be holding the first online webinar session for Population Insight users on Thursday 21st February. It will provide an opportunity to raise any questions you may have about using the programme, and it also gives us a platfrom to address specific aspects of Population Insight to ensure you are getting the most out of the software.

We will be using the webinar software ‘Cover it Live’ for you which you do not need to sign up or login to participate

The session is being held from 12pm to 2pm (you can join in at any point) and all new subscribers of Population Insight are welcome to join us to meet and talk with two of the people that helped to design and implement the programme.

  • Tom Smith, Director at Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI), an open data expert and helped to develop the system that Population Insight runs on and;
  • John Perry, specialises on housing and migration issues and worked with HACT to put the data available from Population Insight into the context of wider knowledge about migrants and their housing conditions

They will be live on the HACT website from 12pm this Thursday and look forward to taking your questions! 

Click here to go through to the HACT website now to set an email reminder for Thursday!

The social value of housing within communities

A jointly organised conference by HACT and the Northern Housing Consortium for community investment professionals.

14 March 2013

York Racecourse, York, YO23 1EX [view on google maps]

9.00am – 5.00pm

The housing sector is facing the biggest challenges since its re-founding in the 1960s. The social, economic and political context in which housing providers operate is changing. In particular providers face: changes in government subsidy for new homes; an end to top-down regulation; radical welfare reforms; the emergence of localism; and direct competition from the private sector. How the sector responds to this new environment will be critical in determining the future of our most disadvantaged communities.

As value-driven businesses committed to their communities and tenants, social housing providers need to be ready to proactively respond and show leadership. Undoubtedly housing providers are at their most successful when they value and engage with their communities, harness the energy and enthusiasm of local people and actively seek to identify and meet the needs of those most at the  margins. Therefore HACT and the Northern Housing Consortium are co-hosting a conference to look at these important issues.

By attending this conference you will: 

  • Hear from inspirational speakers from the sector and also from key thinkers from wider civil society with an expertise in localism, neighbourhood, community and place;
  • Gain an insight from sector examples of strategic approaches to community investment and evidence based interventions that achieve greater social value;
  • Have an opportunity to engage with the latest economic and social impact research from HACT and Northern Housing Consortium

Chaired by Jon Lord, Chief Executive at Bolton at Home, our speakers include:

  • Ben Llewellyn, Deputy Director, Big Society and Community Rights, Department of Communities and Local Government
  • Matt Leach, Chief Executive, HACT
  • Jo Boaden, Chief Executive, Northern Housing Consortium
  • Lisa Denison, Community Investment Director, Sovereign
  • Tony Powell, Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, New Charter Housing Trust Group
  • Elizabeth Cox, Senior Manager, New Economics Foundation
  • Laura Gardiner, Labour Market Researcher, Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CLEI)
  • Sally Thomas, Head of Community Investment, North Star HG
  • Tom Smith, Chief Executive, Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI)
  • Paul Smith, Head of Enterprise and Intelligence, Aster Group
  • Dawn Francis, Group GIS Manager, Greensquare

In particular the conference will explore the:

  • rationale and opportunities for a new strategic approach to community investment;
  • social and economic value and impact of the housing sector;
  • evidence base needed to inform community investment spending decisions;
  • opportunities for using data to inform community investment;
  • challenge of measuring impact and the new environment post the Social Value Act; and
  • external challenges of welfare reform, unemployment and financial inclusion.

Who should attend?

The conference is designed for decision-makers, and those leading service delivery, that are looking at how they can transform their approaches to neighbourhood investment. The conference is aimed at those working in community development, regeneration, policy and research, and will also be of interest to tenant representatives and tenant board members, as well as community development professionals in the wider public, voluntary and community sectors.


Book your place online now


Events: Using Data to Drive Community Investment

In three seminars, HACT and OCSI will demonstrate how to realise practical benefits from open data in the housing sector. Events in Manchester, London and Birmingham at the end of November will show how providers are using Geographical Information Systems to focus in on the communities they serve, and give you a chance to try out Community Insight.

Speakers include:

Dr. Robert Barr
Chairman of Manchester Geomatics and member of the Cabinet Office’s Open Data User Group.
Rob is a leading practitioner in Social Information Systems and data policy, and is currently advising the Cabinet Office on how open data can achieve the greatest social and economic impact as part of the Open Data User Group.

Matt Leach
With a career in leadership and policy spanning the state and not-for-profit sectors, Matt focusses on local interventions to build the strength of communities.

Dr. Tom Smith
CEO at Oxford Consultants for Inclusion
Tom is co-founder and Director of OCSI, and specialises in helping public sector organisations to use information effectively for policy and decision-making. With a background in University research, he is also a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

About Community Insight
Community Insight brings comprehensive local information closer to decision-making, allowing investment to be directed to where it is most needed. It allows housing stock to be visualised against all major social and economic indicators, providing mapping and reporting tools for providers without the need for new systems. Stock data is uploaded into a Geographic Information System, meaning that neighbourhood and community profiles are available in minutes.

Please book through using the links below. We look forward to showing you what Community Insight can do.

Tuesday 27 November 2012, 3.00 – 4.30pm
The Cube, 113 – 115 Portland Street.
Click here to book on to the Manchester event

Thursday 29 November 2012, 3.00 – 4.30pm
HUB Westminster, 80 Haymarket.
Click here to book on to the London event

Thursday 6 December 2012, 3.00 – 4.30pm
Clarke Willmott, 138 Edmund Street.
Click here to book onto the Birmingham event

See you at the National Housing Conference

Come and see us on Stand C1 at the National Housing Federation Social Housing Exhibition conference (17-19 Sept) in Birmingham. We will be showcasing the Community Insight tool, and feel free to register for a live demonstration to see how Community Insight could help your organisation. Please get in touch for more info.