Why imminent data law changes matter

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Data and information management is a growing trend across housing associations. How we use it consume it and make the most from it are challenges that we all face. Thames Valley Housing is one of a number of housing associations looking at how we deliver accurate and meaningful data for staff and customers.

Equally, as we prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) revisions that come into force on 25 May 2018, we are networking with other organisations to ensure we have considered all areas of impact. Key to the change and to ensure we fully comply, is to only collect and use data for the purposes for which we have notified residents, staff and others.

Our recent Data Summit, which was organised by the Privacy Trust and held at our head office, focused on GDPR and what we can do as housing associations to leverage the changes and improve our data and services. We invited our colleagues from other HAs and looked at the new measures as an opportunity rather than a restriction. Above all, the GDPR is about knowing what your data means.

Jay Saggar Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT) talked through the data project in their organisation; he noted that if we take the time to understand our data fully, it will be easier to determine the best way to use it. Amramanjari Singh from Thames Valley Housing spoke about our data management programme and refining our data to have a ‘single version of the truth’.

Douglas Silverstone, our Data Governance Manager said: “It was good to see so many fellow housing professionals engage with this conversation. A lot of them are already doing a lot around GDPR and there’s a high awareness around it. It’s clear from the conversations we had that we all face similar challenges when it comes with data, and we all depend on the same technology.

“The drive to improve our data is not just about being compliant. We want to be led by data rather than use it as a means of proving a case and making a decision. We want to use technology in smarter ways to drive down the barriers we are facing now, and use the GDPR to help us achieve this.”

From left: Douglas Silverstone (TVH), Jay Saggar (HACT), Karen Cheeseman (Privacy Trust), Amramanjari Singh (TVH)

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