How behavioural science helps the social housing sector?


“What can behavioural science do for social housing?”

I have been asked this question numerous times since Voicescape acquired Collaborative Change in May this year.  Collaborative Changes apply a rigorous approach to behavioural science, which when married with Voicescape technology, will provide a solution at scale. That solution helps social landlords understand which activities yield the best return, and importantly, which tenants most need their support. It’s a game-changer for the industry. So, what is behavioural science is, and what can it do for the social housing sector?

Behavioural science combines data analysis with behavioural insights and rigorous testing, which enables decision making to be based on evidence. Ultimately, this helps our clients understand which groups of people are likely to follow a given trajectory.  Additionally, it provides us with a view on which factors have contributed to them making that decision. In social housing, there are 3 main things that behavioural science enables us to do:

1. Predict future behaviours

Predictive technology mines existing transactional data to identify patterns of behaviour that indicate where additional support, intervention or escalation is likely to be required. Putting this at the heart of income collection for example has meant managers can prioritise where the focus should be.  it also means they can reduce activities that do not yield any returns.

2. Quantify risk

Following the analysis provided by predictive technology, quantifying the impact of risk, such as Universal Credit, can provides a timeline for future growth or decline.

3. Drive evidence-based responses.

Evidence-based practice enables social landlords to formulate responses and plan resources based their most successful activities. Income teams are then free to intervene only when necessary. Moreover, managers can choose to automate intervention where appropriate which frees up officer time to focus on more complex cases.

Behavioural science provides a risk-based approach which enables landlords to identify and pro-actively prioritise those tenants who are most likely to struggle. This approach leverages increased protection against debt and a more secure tenancy for the tenant. Put simply, behavioural science identifies which activities have the most impact on tenants paying rent, which significantly reduces cost of income collection.

If you are a social landlord and would like to know more about how behavioural science can help your organisation, say

John Doyle, CEO, Voicescape