Enhances Operation Efficiency
Creating a Triple-Win Effect
Housing Department - Business Process Support Unit

Exemplary Services@Gov
2009

At present, 680 000 public rental housing (PRH) flats with a population of almost 2 million are under the management of the Housing Authority. The Business Process Support Unit of the Housing Department (HD) has, upon extensive research, developed a Mobile Application System for Housing Management (MASHM) to support frontline officers in performing outdoor estate management duties. Integrating the database of the existing computer system with Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), the MASHM marks a major breakthrough in public housing management, making the HD the first organisation to utilise PDAs in dealing with PRH tenancy matters. "The use of PDAs allows HD staff to respond to tenants' requests more speedily. It has the triple-win effects of enhancing the quality of service provided for PRH tenants, relieving the work pressure on frontline staff and improving the HD's image," said Mr. LUI Kwong-Fai, Senior Housing Manager/Estate Management Support.

Streamlining Procedures and Enhancing the Quality of Living Environment

In the past, PRH tenants had to go through a complicated procedure of completing and submitting a Biennial Declaration Form on occupancy position for record purpose. "With the introduction of the MASHM, HD staff can input into their PDAs the data collected during flat inspections. This saves tenants, particularly elderly ones, the trouble of having to fill in the declaration form. Since the implementation of the system, the number of biennial flat inspections completed has increased by a monthly average of 5,700 over the last cycle," said Mr. WONG Wai-pui, Housing Manager of the Business Process Support Unit. "Transmission and storage of data in the MASHM are protected with multiple encryption. This means that details on tenants will not be disclosed even when a PDA is lost," added Mr. LAM Cheuk Ming, Senior IT Manager.

In case an emergency arises outside office hours, HD officers can retrieve information from the MASHM to deal with the situation. The photographing functions and digital floor plans provided in the PDA also facilitate the record of flat conditions and location requiring maintenance. Other colleagues can then share the updated information and follow-up more promptly on tenants' requests, thus enhancing the standard of service provided.

Diversified Measures to Help Staff Adapt to the New System

Mr. LUI Kwong-fai said, "The success of the MASHM lies in the sense of security generated by a safe environment. 'Safe environment' refers to the excellent security measures of the system, and 'sense of security' refers to the feeling enjoyed by frontline staff." The HD's Business Process Support Unit has adopted a multi-prong approach in launching the system. Before system roll-out, simulated practices in hardware operation were arranged to alleviate frontline staff's concerns. At the same time, their feedback on system operation was collected in order to improve on the system to make it more user-friendly.

The unit has provided sufficient training and support for frontline staff, such as uploading an operation manual to the intranet and trying out the MASHM at two housing estates. Upon full implementation of the system, onsite support staff were arranged to visit frontline officers at housing estates and demonstrated to them how to operate the system. Additional staff have also been deployed to man the hotline to solve any problems encountered in using PDAs. With the advance in technology, more applications will be included in the system in accordance with operational needs and staff suggestions.

Mr. IP Yu-sun, Chief Housing Manager/Management (Support Services 3) of the HD (fourth left in the front row) together with members of the MASHM development team. Implementation of the system not only results in better services for PRH tenants but also relieved work pressure on frontline staff, which enhances the HD's image as a whole.
Mr. LUI Kwong-fai, Senior Housing Manager / Estate Management Support of the HD (third right) points out that implementation of the system not only results in better services for PRH tenants but also relieved work pressure on frontline staff, which enhances the HD's image as a whole. The first and second from right are Mr. WONG Waipui, Housing Manager of the Business Process Support Unit and Mr. LAM Cheuk-ming, Senior IT Manager/Development of the HD. The first from left is Mrs. LOK TSANG May-lin, Assistant Housing Manager of the Business Process Support Unit.
With frontline staff bringing along a PDA in conducting biennial flat inspections, tenants are no longer required to complete declarations and submit them at the offices of their housing estates. This saves the tenants, particularly elderly ones, the trouble of filling in forms.
The PDA is equipped with photographing function and data of digital floor plans, housing staff can record flat conditions and locations requiring maintenance on the spot, thus speeding up follow-up actions on tenants' requests and enhancing service quality.