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£45,000 - £48,000 yearly
Housing Solutions Maidenhead, UK
Oct 19, 2018
Full time
We have a fantastic opportunity for a permanent Business Performance Manager to lead and manage the business improvement function, ensuring best practice in relation to performance management, business transformation and customer insight. Part of the role will be to develop and maintain robust data collection and analysis systems to monitor service delivery and drive service business improvements across the organisation. You will lead, manage and motivate a small team and work closely with the Head of IT. You will deal with a variety of internal and external stakeholders, the Senior Management Team, Executive Team, Board, staff, customers and suppliers. The ideal candidate must have experience of managing a team. Experience in a range of computer systems and databases as well as research data analysis and data protection is required with the ability to prepare and manage budgets. You should possess exceptional problem solving, analytical and numerical skills with the ability to write and modify SQL as well as excellent verbal, written and presentation skills. Knowledge of housing legislation and practice is essential.   To apply for this vacancy please visit the Jobs & Careers page of our website or to request a paper copy please call our 24 hour recruitment line on 01628 543157. The closing date for application forms is 4 November 2018. Interviews will be held on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 November 2018.
£19,139 yearly
LiveWest Weston-super-Mare, UK
Oct 18, 2018
Allocations Assistant Weston Super Mare (Weston Gateway) £19,138.56 Temporary, 16 months contract (end date 31-Mar-2020) 37.5 hours per week Now is an exciting time to join LiveWest, the largest housing association in the South West. We are a leading developer of affordable and social housing in the South West. From the shores of Cornwall to the Gloucestershire hills, we have a vision to build real social change in our region, one front door at a time. Our Lettings Team are responsible for delivering a high performing lettings service for our rented homes and are now looking for a Allocations Assistant to join the team. You will be responsible for allocating a portion of LiveWest's housing portfolio of mixed tenure including social and affordable housing, both the allocation re-lets and of our new build schemes and complying with section 106 allocation criteria. About You: To be considered for the role of Allocations Assistant, you will need: - Experience in delivering lettings in a comparable organisation - Be a well organised, resilient individual with an ability to work under pressure - Excellent rapport building skills with a commitment to delivering excellent customer service - Experience of working with a diverse customer group In return, we provide a competitive salary, entitlement to paid holiday increasing with length of service, a choice of pension schemes and a healthcare plan after a period of continuous service, and great opportunities and support to develop your career. This role is initially being offered on a temporary basis for a period of 16 months up to 31st March 2020 for external applicants and is currently based in our Weston super Mare office. Ref:NTXUY357488
£45,000 yearly
Plymouth Community Homes Plymouth, UK
Oct 15, 2018
Full time
We  are on a mission to be a leading provider of homes and excellent services in Britain’s rapidly developing  Ocean City . Our ongoing and forward looking investment in IT, and our digitalisation strategy, are key building blocks in achieving and sustaining this. YOU  will be seeking a dynamic, contemporary, and flexible working environment that also offers variety and a chance to contribute to the success of an established major player in the social housing sector, whilst developing your own skills in a business focussed team. The role  of ‘IT Security and Infrastructure Specialist’ is multi-faceted being  proactive  in ensuring that PCH IT Infrastructure is secure, protected and up to date in the face of known and emerging cyber threats and ‘fit for purpose;  contributing  to resolution (and avoidance) to issues and problems affecting the IT Infrastructure, performance and availability, undertaking an  advisory role  within the IT Service Delivery team providing advice, guidance in support of its IT Infrastructure, Virtual Data Centre environment and WAN/LAN communication, and  contributing to/leading on  IT Infrastructure design, implementations and changes As  you would expect from a sector leader we offer: An attractive and competitive salary Great working environment Flexible working Excellent defined contributions pension with a high level of employer contributions 25 – 30 days leave (after 5 years) plus bank holidays. Onsite gymnasium A significant investment in learning and personal development The opportunity to live in a beautiful and vibrant part of the Southwest Relocation support may be available The needs: Demonstrable experience of working in an senior IT position with significant information security responsibilities; this may include responsibilities as a security professional or as an IT administrator (e.g. network, systems, application, or cloud administrator) with significant experience implementing or supporting security controls. Demonstrable experience working within an IT department, supporting IT Infrastructure, Data Centre environment and WAN/LAN. Demonstrable knowledge in: Virtual environments (Citrix, XenDesktop, XenAPP) Windows Stack Firewalls, Digital certificates, SSL, VPN, TCP/IP, DNS, web security architecture Storage and Backup technologies and devices (SAN) Technical infrastructure design/architecture/analyst Experience of the implementation, administration and support within a Citrix  XenDesktop and  XenApp environment. Experience of  application and operating system hardening, vulnerability assessments, security audits, penetration testing, intrusion prevention systems and other security control systems Working knowledge of analysis tools and techniques including root cause analysis and requirements gathering Working experience with complex infrastructure solutions Knowledge of WAN/LAN, TCP/IP, cabling, switches. Please refer to the person specification and demonstrate how you consider that your knowledge, skills and experience meet the requirements of the job. For an informal discussion about this role, please contact Eugene Potter, IT Services Manager on 01752 388414.  Short listing date: 16th November 2018 Interview Date:    w/c 26th November 2018 We are a committed Equal Opportunities employer.  We welcome applications from suitably talented people from any community and background.  
£40,000 - £55,000 yearly
Plan B Solutions Ltd St Albans, UK
Oct 08, 2018
Full time
Location:   St Albans, Hertfordshire Salary:      £40,000 – £55,000 plus bonus (depending on skills and experience) Job type:  Permanent, full-time Contact:   Amanda Rowley. Ref:  SPM-WC           Plan B Solutions Ltd is a multi-award-winning workplace consulting practice which works with large organisations – changing the way they think about, and use, their workplaces.    You are already a proven project manager – what you also have, and what sets you apart, is the potential to develop consulting skills to guide clients’ solutions.   This is an exciting opportunity to become part of a small, successful business reporting directly to the MD in a position where you can genuinely influence the strategy of the business.   Main Responsibilities:   Manage and coordinate our own input to client projects, identifying the support necessary from subject specialists, from project feasibility to completion Lead implementation meetings assimilating and documenting requirements with clarity Track delivery of the project including costs, benefits and timescales in order to deliver a high quality solution on time and on budget Engage with client-side stakeholders where necessary to gain input, secure resource and support, and ensure all involved are aware of project timescales, impact and dependencies Provide and deliver high-level briefings for clients and internal use Work closely with the MD to expand your role to include Workplace Consulting   You Are:   Likely to be degree educated A proven project manager with the ability to juggle multiple projects and priorities effectively often under time pressures Well organised and pro-active. A problem solver Strong in the interpretation and analysis of data Able to distil complex projects and situations down to the key points. A good presenter Excellent in front of clients – at all levels Ideally experienced in at least one of the following areas Agile working environments, IT projects, property projects A team player - friendly, approachable and outgoing with a flexible attitude to work Able to work from home, and a car owner able to travel within the UK   Your Future:   We will work with you to give you exposure all across the business and will agree a plan with you to add consulting capabilities to your project management skills. This is a genuine opportunity to become a big player in a small, expanding, privately-owned business – an opportunity which should develop into a shareholding position.


George Schaar, Head of Research & Development at Stratis Security, talks to us about his 20 year career in security. I’ve worked in security for more than 20 years, protecting the homes of celebrities and the rich as well as developing technology to secure homes and housing estates from Ipswich to Ireland. For the past three years, I’ve been working with our specialist team from our technology innovation base in Suffolk. There really is a melting pot of the latest smart homes and internet of things solutions here, with other companies such as Facebook, Cisco and Nokia also on the same site. My current focus is progressing the development of a secure app which allows clients to monitor camera surveillance in their properties remotely. Clients can also get alarms alerting them on their phones if windows or doors have been broken or tampered with. Fingerprint and facial recognition Our solutions include fingerprint identification technology, which is nonintrusive, fast and efficient and can secure large areas over many levels. For example, entrances and exit points to lifts and stairwells, through to individual rooms, cupboards and flats. Stratis has also developed facial recognition for entry systems, with our cameras scanning the iris and matching faces from a prestored database of images. Used in conjunction with video surveillance, we have significantly tightened security and improved accountability at a major residential block in Ipswich, where residents now show their faces at the front entrance to gain entry. I never thought I’d be implementing technology that first inspired me from Blade Runner in the early 80s!   We have also helped combat a range of issues at two blocks of flats in Ipswich, including rats in ground floor bin-stores as a result of fly-tipping, as well as graffiti and non-residents, who would gather outside and in reception areas, gaining access to the blocks and moving freely around the building. In one of the blocks, we installed facial recognition cameras and key fobs, with card access to lifts and stairwells, making it possible to prohibit access as well as track individuals and only allow access to designated areas.   Social housing applications For social housing providers, our technologies have many applications, such as if a tenant has lost or forgotten their key, or for vulnerable residents in extra-care schemes or sheltered accommodation, allowing their relatives, friends or carers to gain access. We were at the CIH conference in Manchester earlier this year and are now talking with a range of housing providers about how to deploy our solutions as part of their business transformation programmes and their wider smart home and internet of things strategies.   Lasers No longer being the exclusive province of science fiction, long-range lasers are an effective and flexible way to monitor and protect your property. Lasers can be set up as an invisible fence around an office, for example, or in areas that are targeted for high-value materials, such as a church roof or to protect copper piping. Any tampering to the laser triggers an alert, which is sent back as a high-quality audio file that can be monitored remotely.   Destruction day My team and I are currently working towards ISO accreditations. With the impact of the Grenfell tragedy, we have also developed fire safety and reinforced doors. At the time of writing, we are arranging a ‘destruction day’ on September 26 at our base in Martlesham Heath in Suffolk where we have challenged the 4,000 staff at Adastral Park (home also of BT’s innovation centre) and invited them to break through our reinforced doors with sledge hammers, angle grinders and cordless drills. So confident are we of the resilience of our reinforced doors, we have also invited Britain’s strongest man, Eddie Hall, along to pit his strength against our doors. George Schaar is the head of research and development at Stratis Security  
Work is certainly varied for Jenny Shorter, a senior consultant at IT services firm Sovereign Business Integration Group, who revisits a typical week at work. I’ve seen a great deal of change in the housing sector. Mostly, it now requires a far more commercially-minded approach than it did when I first joined the sector in the 1990s. I know that I have to be far more timely in my pitches to clients and in responding to their requests for support and always mindful of the return to be gained and how quickly this will be realised. Overseeing two main housing client accounts as well as a range of other business-critical implementations means that much of my time is spent client-side or working with suppliers on the client’s behalf, and while mobile working can mean being on the go a lot of the time, I really like the opportunity to be hands-on. Tower Hamlets Community Housing and East End Homes, two of my on-going client accounts, are both well-established London-based housing providers that have longstanding relationships with Sovereign, where we manage their IT provision including support for their housing management systems. I recently visited Orchard’s offices in Newcastle, immersing myself in their products and meeting new and existing contacts to deepen my understanding of their products and who to go to in order to troubleshoot or fact-find for my clients. Managing suppliers for housing clients It makes sense to have a close relationship with the suppliers to our market in order to broaden my understanding of their vision, product pipeline and so on; it’s a great way for us to help our clients to get the very most out of the relationship with the supplier as well as benchmark their products against the competition. It can also help with any troubleshooting issues, playing the role of the ‘honest broker’ to help to move things along and keep lines of communication open on both sides. My job is to step in with technology suppliers wherever I’m needed, either on behalf of our client or the Sovereign implementation team (some of whom are wholly client-side), either negotiating the sale, arranging product demonstrations or project managing the implementation itself (for example, just last week I was working on a new Promaster asset management software implementation for a client). The project management role is full on and typically involves setting up meetings to agree the way forward or fine-tune the client roadmap, procuring the product, booking implementation resources, training staff who will use the product, and then chasing any issues that need to be escalated. I’ve just finished a four-hour session with Golding Homes after running a requirements gathering exercise with the customer services team there. The switch from an inner London housing provider to a Kent-based one resulted in very different requirements, no doubt due to the different demographic groups each serves, but they each had interesting suggestions about things that they currently do manually that could be automated. It’s great to work with an organisation that recognises that there is work to do with the culture within the organisation as part of a digital transformation project. Any organisation can buy new software and implement it, but if your people don’t have the right mindset or aren’t supported to have the right mindset, the service won’t improve and no return on investment will be achieved. Consultant with a housing background Working with housing providers, in common with any other industry, it’s a great help to have directly relevant industry experience. Some people will embrace change, while for others, there’s a vested interest in being wary. I’m not a standard IT consultant but instead someone who has worked in the housing sector for more than 14 years. It puts me in a strong position because clients are assured that I know their world, their challenges and speak their language. It can really help to get over some of the hurdles that are often faced when implementing change. As well as keeping an eye on our clients’ progress, I am also keen to ensure that Sovereign is hitting the mark. I’ve been working on a project recently that involves reviewing a client’s IT lifecycle. It has provided me with enormous insight into our processes and procedures and how we can continue to improve these. Working in the housing sector As I look back over 20 years of working in the housing sector, there are two key ‘takeaways’ for me: Firstly, the social housing sector is so much more budget-driven than it ever was, but I always make sure my clients are aware that cheap can be more expensive in the long run. It’s great that we’ve moved away from a ‘cost-focused’ decision model, but I always like to make sure my clients make the right decision considering the whole of their organisational needs and plan for future investment. What you think looks good on paper today could turn out to be more expensive to implement in the long run. If for some reason, it doesn’t go according to plan, you are likely to spend a great deal more putting it right. Secondly, the upside is that customers are really driving the impetus for so much change in the housing sector, especially when it comes to technology. If you can’t communicate with your customers effectively, or be responsive when they need repairs, maintenance and so on, this just costs the organisation, in the long run. Housing providers have woken up to the fact that there is more choice for tenants and so, if there’s a better service to be had, some tenants could potentially go elsewhere. They don’t always have to take what’s on their doorstep. Jenny Shorter is a senior consultant for housing IT services at Sovereign Business Integration Group.
Mark Elias, IT Infrastructure Manager, takes us through a typical day at Coastal Housing. If I’m feeling lazy, my day will start around 8am with black coffee and a mailbox of backup and maintenance notifications. If I’m not feeling lazy, I’ll slope in around 9am after being good and going to the gym, by which time the notifications will have been attended to by our lead support analyst, Mat Giles, who will also have changed the tapes in our LTO rack. Yes, tapes. Mercifully, we are in the process of moving to cloud backup as part of our transition to becoming fully-hosted with a managed service provider (which if you came to my talk at the Housing Technology 2018, you will have heard all about…). Once we’re both happy with the overnight tasks, Mat and I usually discuss any interesting Freshservice support tickets. Although this helpdesk application is ITIL-aligned, Coastal is a ‘systems thinking’ organisation, therefore we have a duty to look at the demand on our service through Vanguard’s revealing spectacles, and this drives us to handle tickets in a specific way (if you want to hear more about this, please get in touch). By now, the rest of the team will be in, and what a team it is. I feel very lucky to share my day with such dedicated and talented people (cringe-worthy but true). Amy Kelly works with Mat as a support analyst, Kathryn Banfield as an infrastructure analyst and Rhian Waygood as a business analyst, and joining her in the business analysts’ circle are Kevin Hedges and Pete Warren, and then Shane Griffiths works alongside us all as the head of IT; note the absence of hierarchical phrasing: we do genuinely work alongside one another. Being a pretentious sort, I love to write aphorisms and when I coined ‘a team ascends to excellence through democratic influence’, I felt truly moved to think of our team and how we evidence democratic influence every day: listening to each other in gatherings, allowing everyone to suggest, to feedback, to question and to challenge in safety. It really works. With my review of Freshservice over and until any tickets come my way, I’ll chat with whoever might need a conversation before starting their day proper, and then move on to Asana, the application in which we manage and collaborate on all IT strategy projects and tasks, picking up on where I left things the day before. Asana helps us achieve complete visibility of all aspects of strategic delivery, from current progress on known work, through to future potential evolutions and (how to phrase it?) diversions! It’s key for an IT team to have both oversight and evidence of existing workloads at their fingertips. Everything must be visible and reportable. We strive to pour as much data and thinking as we can into the application: pipeline work, knowledge sharing, live-meeting captures, conference blogging, professional development reflections, interesting technology articles and so on. Both Freshservice and Asana have transformed how we work, and how the business engages with us, especially as demand on our ‘ability to implement’ increases. More and more, we are seeing the potential for decisions on products to be made outside the IT team, often with a quick meeting and a credit card, only then for the real work of integration to fall to IT afterwards. By being transparent about our availability, we help the business achieve what matters in a realistic and timely manner. If I haven’t emailed or spoken to our MSP project manager yet, it’s very likely I will have a question or update to provide by now. We have a conference call every Monday morning and while this sets us up nicely for the week’s tasks, other things will often happen or priorities rotate, so keeping on top of fluctuating obstacles and objectives is both important and fun. By the time this article is in print, we should have migrated our Hyper-V server estate to VMware using Zerto and have a substantial number of staff using Horizon View on laptops full-time, which coincides nicely with Coastal’s ambitious office re-design project, enabling staff to work anywhere while disruptive works are carried out. Several coffees later (I’m trying to cut down, again), I’ll dip into HipChat, an instant-messaging app implemented by Rhian. We try hard not to email each other, so IM allows us to waffle, gossip, ask and help without saturating Exchange. When we aren’t having private conversations, we’ll chat in specific shared rooms, keeping subjects tightly organised. At this point, readers might be thinking ‘Why not use Teams or Skype?’. We don’t have Office 365 on our horizon just yet because it’s very attractive to us to look beyond the behemoths to help us achieve our objectives, and HipChat fits perfectly with that philosophy. Maybe it’s something to do with having Techhub on our doorstep; the prospect of working with start-ups and off-radar innovators to help realise Coastal-tailored aims, versus settling for generic, cookie-cutter platforms, has great appeal. I met with Techhub’s manager for lunch recently and we discussed the importance of looking to blockchain as an enabler of trustless transactions and of individuals owning their own data – very exciting areas to consider. By now it’ll be lunchtime and if I haven’t been pulled into or arranged a gathering myself in the morning (which is rare), I’ll probably be in one at some point during the afternoon, so as I walk around Swansea city centre I’ll be thinking in advance of what clever things I can say. Or if I don’t go out, I’ll hop onto one of the kitchen benches and browse LinkedIn or post poems to Twitter while munching on something unhealthy. If I have time, I’ll reread passages from the excellent and highly-recommended book ‘What Poetry Brings to Business’. When I have time I arrange one-to-one meetings with colleagues across the business, especially those I either don’t know very well or perform some esoteric housing role I should know more about. If I have one arranged, I’ll revisit my hoard of coaching materials and pick out an exercise or conversation strategy to explore in the session. It’s extremely important for IT people to have healthy interpersonal skills; being able to communicate, listen, process and perceive without being dependent on prompt closure, or unambiguous apprehension of a situation, can allow, in time, for a true unearthing of what is really going on. Simply having conversations, while being alert to what is happening beyond the exchange of words, helps develop that capability. I will most likely have had technical conversations with team members throughout the day, as I pull in their expertise and they pull in mine. Everyone has their own projects and it’s great to get involved a little in each. Kathryn, to pick one project for example, is busy deploying Aerohive wi-fi across our schemes and drop-ins; Mat and Amy are busy deploying 2FA-protected VDI desktops across a range of mobile devices while simultaneously managing Freshservice; Rhian is busy implementing PanConnect and maintaining QlikView, and has recently completed another phenomenally successful rent increases/ year-end procedure; Kevin is busy embedding systems thinking; Pete is busy interrogating and reporting on our data; and Shane is busy managing budgets, strategies, contracts and us. Being part of all this great work is brilliant. Towards the end of the day, I’ll re-read any important emails I’ve sent and updates I’ve made to any projects, drink more coffee and think about what’s happening tomorrow. Mark Elias is the IT infrastructure manager at Coastal Housing
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