Halton Housing Trust (HHT) combines infographics and digital media to communicate Welfare Reform changes to customers.

Infographics offer the perfect way to communicate complex information. When Halton Housing Trust started to work on a communications plan for the changes brought about by the recent Welfare Reform Act 2012 it made sense to use infographics to deliver the information to Trust customers through an accessible and easily understood medium. The Trust considers welfare reform as the greatest challenge currently facing the housing sector, both in terms of the effect on the organisations ability to deliver services but also in terms of the social impact on people living in their homes. This presents a huge test for communications teams which must ensure important information and messages are appropriately disseminated to a wide audience.

The Trust wanted to proactively address these challenges and approached Reason Digital; a social enterprise digital design agency, to create a video and infographics that would explain the complex changes.

Aims and Objectives

HHT needed to communicate the complexities of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 to a diverse group of customers across Halton in an accessible way, making it easy to understand the impact of the changes to their benefits and lives and the options that are available. With an infographics video sitting at the heart of the communications plan that will span over two years the Trust set the following objectives:

  • Proactively communicate the changes with customers – it is important to make customers aware of the changes early
  • Use innovative techniques to get the message across
  • Create something new in the housing industry
  • Breakdown the complex changes into simple easy to understand points
  • Create a call to action – some customers will lose a significant amount of their benefits if they are in housing that is deemed too large and need to make informed choices now

Strategy

Working closely with Reason Digital the Trust agreed a tone and wording to ensure the script was easy to understand. HHT made the video relevant to the borough of Halton using statistics and customer demographics.

A straightforward animated video was produced to communicate the main points of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 as to how it will affect social housing tenants in Halton. The video allows information to be communicated in bite-sized chunks. This is the link to the video on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsSgiggqDtY

With the Trust’s growing presence on Twitter and Facebook they used their influence to talk about what they were planning in the build-up to the launch of the video. Once the video was available, the Trust used a number of national housing bodies, contacts and followers to spread the word. The link below shows some of the comments that were received on Twitter alone
about the video:

http://storify.com/HaltonHousing/halton-housing-trusts-welfare-reformvideo?utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_medium=sfy.cotwitter&utm_campaign=&utm_source=sfy.co&awesm=sfy.co_l9IN
The video is played at customer access points and in Halton Direct Links, Council contact centres where customers can pay their rent. The video was also uploaded to the Trust’s own website, performance screens on display in every office space and Facebook page, so it could be directly accessed by their regular customers.

A communications plan was created centred around the video that included staff training, a bespoke postcard to customers affected and a wallet size key information pull out for employees.

Results/measurements/achievements

The video has been viewed over 8,500 times on YouTube, it has also prompted an editorial piece and cover story in 24 Housing; the magazine for housing professionals.

Over 80 housing organisations, from as far apart as the North East to Devon, have been in touch wanting to stamp their own unique touch on the original video in order to use it in their own campaigns. The video has inspired other registered providers to embrace innovative ways of communicating information to their tenants, but what was better still was that for every infographic inspired by the original, the housing association in question made a donation to Halton Haven Hospice, The Trust’s chosen charity, of £500.

So far £15,000 (and counting) has been raised; it’s even gained interest beyond housing trusts and HHT have also received enquiries from Local Authorities and the Citizens Advice Bureau. The video’s backdrop has been modified for urban areas such as Tower Hamlets and Lewisham and the audio has been translated into other languages to make it more accessible to specific communities, including Bengali and Somali. Halton Housing Trust’s welfare reform video beat off hundreds of entries from around the UK to win the Best Public Sector campaign at the recent Social Impact Awards at Manchester’s Comedy Store. The award recognises businesses that work hard to make a difference to the communities in which they work.

Contact

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