Last week , I posted about the myth of social housing residents and digital inclusion.
How 99% of our new customers said they had the ability to access the internet either at home or in the community.
And 35% had used a mobile to access online services.
The thrust of my argument was that the real challenge wasn’t access , but digital literacy and confidence. But some new research being done by my colleague Vicky Green challenges the extent to which social tenants feel that their online skills are a barrier.
Of the last 300 customers to join Bromford – over 60% rated their digital confidence at 8 out of 10 or above.
35% said they were a perfect 10.
That’s an astonishing untapped resource. Like finding out that our communities are built on an oil reservoir.
Let’s get the back of a fag packet out….
- Suppose there are 250,000 new social tenants each year.
- And suppose the stat’s are grounded in reality – that would make 150,000 highly internet confident tenants moving in every 12 months.
- And nearly 90,000 of them would rate themselves as a perfect 10.
- And every year , the numbers would increase.
Now imagine we could make a deal with those people. A customer deal – that you agree to when you access our homes.
We give you access to the huge resources available across UK Housing. You share your skills with the wider community. Together we destroy the myth of social housing customers as digital illiterates.
In return for your help we do everything we can to encourage access to the range of jobs and opportunities that are dependent on IT skills. And , with a UK Internet economy worth over £200billion by 2016 – that will be quite a lot.
Is that a fantasy? Any more so than saying the “vast majority of social residents have no access to the internet?”
We need to stop re-enforcing the myths and start talking up the opportunities.
Don’t believe the numbers? I’d be the first to admit they won’t be statistically comparable with all landlords. And they do only include those of working age.
But even if the numbers are exaggerated by 50% – we could still miss out on the opportunity to engage a quarter of a million Perfect 10’s accessing social housing over the next 5 years.
And that would be negligence bordering on the criminal.