Northwards Housing

As the Fire Safety Manager for Northwards Housing, one of North England’s largest housing associations, Matt Reynolds has the momentous task of ensuring that 13,000 homes across Northwards’ property portfolio are compliant.

Matt found the standard industry practice of using spreadsheets to be an ‘administrative nightmare; document control was problematic, and not only was manually sifting through thousands of actions time consuming, it resulted in the duplication of work and had a large margin of error.

18 months ago, Northwards opted to implement Riskhub across 428 blocks of its portfolio, with fantastic results. According to Matt, Riskhub completely simplified his property management and compliance requirements.

“When you’re dealing with spreadsheets, you end up trying to follow up actions via email, and the question of who’s doing what can get lost remarkably easily,” Matt explained.

“But Riskhub, provides a level of accountability and ownership – you can allocate a piece of work to an individual and it sits on their action list until it is completed, or they refer back to you with a query. This is critical for when you need to demonstrate that you’re compliant, especially when it comes to scrutiny from outside the organisation.

“Now, I can simply share the logon details for Riskhub, and highlight our fire risk assessment (FRA) actions, and out of those that are incomplete, I can demonstrate that all have been appropriately assigned,” he added.

Matt gave an example of why this clear audit trail is so important in his line of work:

“Imagine if you, as a housing association, get asked for an update on all the fire risk actions for one of your buildings. How long will that take you, and how up to date will that information be? With Riskhub, I can provide a ‘live’ status update in under a minute,” he said.

Not only is it helpful from a compliance perspective, but in terms of simple data management, Matt has found Riskhub to be incredibly useful.

“We have certain blocks where I’m told anecdotally that work has been done, and I am able to corroborate that immediately on Riskhub. If there are discrepancies, I can speak to the project leads at those blocks and ask for evidence of the work they’ve done. No other system I’ve used in the past has this facility, and it saves time and removes the dependency of continuous audits. Audits can be intrusive and disruptive to residents, so having the evidence that the work has already been done on Riskhub is extremely useful.

In terms of how intuitive Riskhub is, Matt was quick to sing the systems praises:

“I’ll be the first to admit that I’m fairly ‘stone age’, but even I can use it. We have a new apprentice who picked up how to use Riskhub in about 10 minutes, so for those worried about having to learn a new process – don’t be!”

With Riskhub, I can provide a ‘live’ status update in under a minute

Matt Reynolds, Northwards Housing

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