Cottsway Housing Association

Cottsway Housing Association (3,700 Medium sized LSVT)



CHA is the largest local Registered Provider (RP) operating within the West Oxfordshire District. They own and manage over 3,700 homes and provide services to 135 leaseholders and 40 part-owners in their shared ownership schemes. Cottsway pride themselves on an excellent track record in both serving and contributing to the West Oxfordshire local community.


The Objective

Efficient collection of property information including component condition and Decent Homes related elements. Elimination of the manual re-keying of manual surveys and the opportunity for transposition and other errors. Cottsway have an annual target of 20% stock surveys. On the whole these are full stock condition surveys.

Eight survey staff are involved in the project. An important element is best use of staff resources, while causing minimum disruption for residents during the process. One other aspect was the means of ensuring the safety of onsite staff during the process, using mobile GPS.


Project Solution

When conducting stock condition surveys, inspectors at Cottsway are using MWS Surveyor from MIS Active Management Systems. This is from the same supplier as CHA’s main housing system and provides superior integration, which provides speedy return on investment. Previously paper surveys had been used which required a costly admin resource to re-key results. This historically could create a backlog going back several weeks or more and inaccuracies through data entry errors.

There are many third party options for condition surveys available, but commonly these fall down on tight integration to and from the core system. Use of MWS Surveyor meant that the solution worked virtually “out of the box” and two clicks were all that was needed to bring the results, after checking, back into the housing system.

The system offers sophisticated features, enabling staff to work remotely and securely away from main offices. Using small, lightweight, highly portable handheld computers, such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), the latest information is at their fingertips, while the devices also function as a mobile phone.

Stock condition surveys can be assigned to surveyors and inspectors for later upload, directly to the host asset management database. As you would expect, photographs can also be taken with the PDA and emailed straight back to the main office, if required.

Positional GPS coordinates are recorded continually and enable the surveyor position to be easily pinpointed in a health and safety situation or to cross-reference where questions were answered. The tight integration with the core housing modules ensures that the mobile worker is aware of any current contact or asset requirements or risks etc.


Customer Comments


Kate Clemmow (Head of Asset Management)

We were one of the first of the MIS customers to work with this solution. The assistance we had from the ActiveH development and implementation team was first rate. It was of great value that we could suggest enhancements to the mobile surveyor solution and these were delivered very quickly for use by our inspectors in the field. The flexibility to create questionnaires of any type or size enabled us to use the system for a myriad of information collection and verification tasks.


Nick Harris (Head of IT)

Cottsway have a close partnership with MIS and this was another excellent example of working well together. The benefits of collaboration with an interested and professional supplier are being seen by our colleagues throughout the organisation and our tenants and wider customers.


Peter Chick (Systems Developer)

The application was very simple to install and the inspectors found it extremely easy to use. They took to it with minimal training and appreciated the savings in survey time and the faster availability of information available in the ActiveH system for more convenient decision making.


Rodney Cooper (Data Validation Officer)

With the new process the surveyor is in control of completing the whole sequence, from allocating a survey to posting the results. The process belongs solely to the surveyor concerned this leading to more accurate and consistent data entry together with it being done much more promptly. Up to date asset information is now widely available extremely closely to the time when it was first recorded. This benefits the whole of the organisation from front line customer service staff to our internal maintenance team.