Coming to a User Group near you….

Karina Al-Hakim talks about her first user group experience.

This year’s Scottish User Group was organised and hosted by MIS-AMS, but kindly accommodated by Melville Housing Association at their new offices in Dalkeith. Attendees included Melville Housing Association, Hebridean Housing Partnership, Berwickshire Housing Association and River Clyde Homes.

Scottish MIS-AMS customers came from far and wide, with one delegate taking a plane, train and bus journey to attend. It goes without saying how useful these days are for that journey alone to take place! User Groups are a great place for customers to share ideas and best practice, not only for the benefit to their day to day business, but for also influencing future development of products.  The Scottish User Group were no exception to this.

Topics discussed on the day were varied and included (but certainly not limited to) an overview of the latest developments at MIS; demonstrations of the new and exciting product ‘Pro-Active Arrears’ and the existing Mobile Working Solutions. These were well received by the room and all could see the benefits/business efficiencies that these products can bring. Business Reporting Tools within ActiveH were also discussed and best practices shared.

A hot topic of the day was the changes to the ‘Freedom of information Scotland Act’ (FOISA) that are taking place in relation to the ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ (GDPR). For those that are not aware, the GDPR is a regulation that is intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). The Government has confirmed that the decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR and so the preparation for change cannot be avoided – it will come in to force 25th May 2018 so now is the time to get ahead of the game.

Another interesting topic covered was Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH), this aims to improve the energy efficiency of Social Housing in Scotland. Mark Pocock had previously spent time closely working with MIS-AMS customer Berwickshire Housing Association creating a report. Concluding the discussion was an agreement to share this report, which just evidences how closely both MIS and its customers’ work and demonstrates the tight relationships and teamwork.

Having only worked for MIS-AMS since January 2017 and being new to the sector, this was my first User Group I have attended. I found the day to be fun, informative and the support shown from customer to customer was admirable. Witnessing the great open and honest relationships between MIS staff, MIS customers and the relationships between the customers themselves made me feel proud to be a part of the team at MIS.