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New web pages mean housing info at a click 4 November 2008

The DLGE Housing Team have responded to customer demands and developed around 20 new website information pages to help explain all aspects of Public Sector Housing, and the First Time Buyers scheme. The pages are now live at:

and can be accessed easily from the DLGE homepage: http://www.gov.im/dlge/

The project to improve and upgrade the Housing area of DLGE’s website was instigated by the Housing Team. A review of existing provision had shown that more information could be provided on-line, making it accessible to Islanders around the clock.

Laurel Kelly, a Manx student from Edinburgh University, undertook the work as a summer project under the Shell Step Programme, co-ordinated by the Department of Trade and Industry. Shell Step has been operating since 1986 and is designed to help businesses address a specific challenge by employing the skills and enthusiasm of a bright undergraduate during an eight-week summer work placement. As part of the project Laurel researched other customer information websites and identified areas of best practice. Using her research, and in collaboration with the Housing Team, Laurel designed new pages in the Housing section to improve the presentation and flow of the information available to website browsers. To complete her placement Laurel presented the project to her peers and to Shell Step officials at the Isle of Man Business School in August as part of a local competition. Following further development the pages are now live on the DLGE website.

Laurel is now in her 3rd year of study and hopes that her Shell Step experience will boost her CV when she starts to apply for work. She said,

‘The work experience was a great opportunity, and I’m really pleased that the time I have spent on this project has produced web pages that will be useful for so many people on the Island. It’s exciting to be involved in a project that has really tangible results.’

The new Public Sector Housing pages include straightforward information on Housing Authorities, acceptance criteria, tenancies, repairs and maintenance, anti-social behaviour, moving, and sheltered housing. The refreshed First Time Buyers page provides everything potential buyers could need, explained in simple terms with every form they'll need ready to download. (Note 1)

DLGE Minister, John Shimmin, said,

‘While we strive to provide a comprehensive information service at DLGE we can’t answer the ‘phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These new Public Sector Housing and First Time Buyers web pages mean that we can provide that information for Islanders 24/7, at the click of a button. ‘I’m especially pleased that Laurel was able to benefit from the experience of working at the heart of this project, as much as the DLGE Housing Team benefited from her assistance. The Shell Step programme is important because it helps to introduce students to the world of work. This project is an excellent example of the mutual value the scheme provides.’

Note 1:

Public Sector Housing pages - http://www.gov.im/dlge/housing/public/:

• Housing Authorities

• Acceptance criteria

• Tenancies

o Standard tenancy agreement; tenant rights and succession; insurance; customer care policy; neighbourhood watch; pets; saving energy; data protection

• Rent payment

o About your rent; problems paying and debt; rent card

• Repairs and maintenance

o Repairs; alterations; maintenance; advice; requesting repairs

• Anti-Social behaviour

o Nuisance and harassment; neighbour noise problems; Noise Act 2006

• Moving, transfers and exchanges

• Sheltered housing

o Sheltered accommodation; sheltered housing contacts

• Useful contacts

First Time Buyers page - http://www.gov.im/dlge/housing/first/:

Everything you could need if you’re thinking of applying to DLGE for help with your first house purchase, explained in simple terms, with every form you'll need, ready to download.

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