Near Me is a secure, easy to use, web-based video appointments service that’s available to all social landlords, large and small. The system was originally set up for use by NHS Scotland and is tried and tested.
A public sector licence made available through the Scottish Government enables local authorities, housing associations and co-operatives to use Near Me free of charge until at least 2023. As such, landlords can now offer their tenants an additional, video call option for accessing services, including care and support, housing management, repairs etc.
Fiona McCrae, Near Me in Housing Project Lead, SFHA
Fiona’s role is to support the roll-out of Near Me video calling services across the housing sector. Near Me is easy to set up within your organisation.
How can Near Me benefit housing organisations and their customers?
The advantages include:
- reduced travel to appointments: time, cost, convenience
- reduced time away from work, school or home
- easier to attend if your customer usually needs someone to take them to appointments
- enables customers to have someone with them for support at their appointment (either with them in person or joining the consultation by video from another location, even from abroad)
- enables remote viewings by prospective customers
- broad application for service delivery e.g. welfare benefits advice, care reviews and viewing/assessing reported repairs
- increased ‘right first time’ repairs as the customer can show exactly what is wrong, enabling the right member of staff to attend with the right spares/tools
- user friendly platform
- familiar to some tenants and customers as already used by NHS Scotland, Citizen’s Advice Scotland etc
- better for the environment
- reduces spread of infectious diseases.
Bridgewater Housing Association Experience
Near Me – SFHA Improvement Collaborative
Several social landlords, supported by the national Technology Enabled Care team and SFHA, took part in a learning collaborative to explore how Near Me could be used to improve service delivery and shape guidance for the sector.
The COVID lockdown was a catalyst for an increase in the use of Near Me. However, it has many advantages for ongoing blended approaches to service delivery, to ensure that tenants and customers can access services in the way that works best for them.
An example of the work undertaken by one member of the collaborative is given below.
Housing guidance and support is available here
In February 2021, SFHA ran a webinar to introduce Near Me to the Social Housing sector.