Using data to predict vulnerability

Big data’s potential to help protect vulnerable people


Protecting vulnerable people is a priority across the housing sector and big data has a vital role to play.


Using technology such as artificial intelligence to more effectively analyse and interpret large volumes of data held by housing associations as well as other organisations could be instrumental in predicting vulnerability.


These insights could see preventative measures put in place earlier and more tailored intervention.


However, using data in this way brings new challenges too. Housing associations must consider what skills they will need and whether those should be in-house or outsourced. There are also ethical considerations and the possibility of resistance from tenants who will need to consent to the use of their personal information.


From a legal perspective, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be addressed at the earliest opportunity. Although GDPR shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to using data to predict vulnerability, the new stricter rules mean that housing associations may have to take extra steps to ensure they comply with the law.


Consent will need to be obtained from an individual to use their personal data and that GDPR-compliant data sharing agreements are in place. Personal data must only be used for consented purposes and systems need to be implemented that ensure it is properly safeguarded. Furthermore, if any information is sensitive, it will have to be treated with extra care.


The power of data in predicting vulnerability and the main issues to consider will all be discussed at Tech@Housing on Wednesday, 27th June at 11:30am in the main theatre.


We’re looking forward to hearing the thoughts of the speakers and exploring ways in which we can help the housing sector to protect vulnerable people.


Joanna Bouloux is a solicitor at Devonshires

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