Information and communication technologies assist the department in enhancing its effectiveness, efficiency, functional capabilities, governance and value-for-money.
Implementing information and communication technology systems that support the department's strategic direction
A significant amount of work is being undertaken to enhance the department's existing information and communication technology systems to incorporate policy changes and new initiatives to realise one social housing system.
During 2007-08, the systems support for the Client Intake and Assessment Process (CIAP) was developed for use from September 2008. The CIAP system environment supports the new client application, assessment and eligibility processes introduced to assess an applicant's housing need.
Specifically, the department has developed a Housing Needs Assessment system, as well as enhancements to the existing Client Assessment Referral Expert (CARE) system and the department's major business system, System Applications and Products (SAP) to align with policy changes relating to assets tests, the income confirmation scheme, periodic tenancy review and referral of approved applicants to community housing organisations.
The SAP environment was also enhanced to:
- align debtor management of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing tenancies to Public Housing tenancies, including arrears management, account finalisation, and debt collection,
- progress the department's capability to plan, monitor and report on property inspection activities carried out on the Deed-of-Grant-in-Trust properties using the Annual Inspection Scheduler and Mobile Computing technologies. This will also expand the collection of property condition data and allow for easier and more efficient capturing of information in relation to these properties,
- provide information communication technology support systems to assist in delivering housing solutions to clients under the Mental Health Housing with Support Strategy, and Spinal Cord Injuries Unit initiatives,
- assist in managing the department's responsibilities under the Family Responsibility Commission Act 2008, and
- establish an Easy Pay facility for tenants receiving an income from the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a more efficient service and greater administrative efficiencies.
In addition, the department:
- amended the electronic rent calculator tool to cater for four separate Centrelink rate changes. The tool is a software application to assist community and local government housing providers to perform rent calculations,
- developed the Aligning Data Management and Reporting System, a new system to enable the department to track and coordinate compliance documents, and capture and monitor compliance information supplied by Indigenous councils,
- enhanced the Capital Investment Management System to improve administration functionality, project management functionality and reporting,
- continued the development of the new BondScape system, scheduled to be implemented in October 2008, to provide the department with enhanced flexibility in managing its Bond Loan product, and
- developed a new Project Management Database for Community Renewal, enabling the administration and coordination of projects and associated compliance information supplied by external agencies.
Reviewing communication processes to meet the changing needs of our client base
With its continuing focus on realising one social housing system in Queensland, it is critical that the department is well positioned to meet the communication needs of its clients, partners and stakeholders, now and moving into the future.
To this end, the department needs to maintain its understanding of these groups and the current and emerging environment to deliver responsive, targeted and relevant communication materials and channels.
Market research firm Colmar Brunton was engaged to collate information from tenants about the quality and effectiveness of the department's communication products, including the 'Welcome to your home' kit, tenant newsletters, fact sheets, forms and general communication materials. The objective of this project was to assist in the evaluation of the overall effectiveness of these products and to provide insight for future projects involving communication with tenants and applicants.
One thousand tenants were surveyed through a mailed questionnaire and focus groups conducted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing tenants.
The department is using the feedback received from this consultation process to improve, update or adjust its communication tools for tenants and applicants to ensure they continue to become more relevant, easier to read and understand, more adapted to the needs of the audience, and in the case of the internet, more intuitive for users.
The department is also reviewing indicators of language demand to ensure it provides written (and audiovisual) information in the languages most needed by clients.
The department will:
- continue to improve its communication to meet the needs of a diverse range of clients,
- provide a responsive and robust information, communication and technology environment to support the effective delivery of housing products and services, and
- implement innovative and effective information, communication and technological solutions that support the organisation's core and emerging business.