Council works with housing associations and Civica with a view to other authorities joining
Reading Borough Council is planning to launch a data hub to combat housing fraud next month, working with two housing associations and planning to make it available to other public authorities.
Les Nicholson, the council's corporate fraud manager, outlined the plan at this week's Civica Expo conference in Manchester. The hub is based on the Civica Fraud Solution, and is planned to go live on 2 February, providing access to more than 10,000 housing rent records.
Reading will host the hub and provide several datasets, including those for council tax, benefits and electoral registration, while Affinity and Thames Valley Housing Associations will provide their rental data. It will also include data from an unnamed credit reference agency.
“We have 12 data feeds going into the hub, we all have access to the other partners' data and we can manage, report and feed back to the housing associations,” Nicholson said.
He added that another local authority and three more housing associations were initially involved in the project. They have stood back because of issues around making their data available, but Nicholson indicated that they are interested in joining in the future.
“We haven't taken the other partners off the agreement, and will be open to them if they want to come back,” he said.
In addition, he said the hub could be made available to other authorities and social registered landlords.
Civica has previously helped to implement a similar operation for Birmingham City Council. Its fraud business analyst, Steve Talbot, said the project is part of a trend that has seen a handful of other anti-fraud data hubs established around the country.
Image from James Denham, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons