Digital Housing Hub - #digihousing

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We are looking at developing a loan/buy scheme for tablets, and wondered whether anyone had any good practice in terms of the management of this sort of thing such as with eligibility criteria, agreements etc used, and also what tablets would people recommend.

Any help gratefully received...

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Hi Andrew,
Newydd housing have set up a loan I.T. Project which is similar to what you are looking to do as we offer those tenants that complete our 5 week basic I.T. Course the opportunity to loan a laptop and dongle for 3 months for free. We spoke to Cambridge council regarding this a while back. I'm happy to share our agreements and talk to you about how it's going for us. If your interested my email is Good luck, scott

Hi Scott - would like to pick your brain - we're doing a similar scheme to you - be really interested to know how are you doing with the dongles and if you're running into any headaches - are you lending them pay as you go?

Andrew - we have been working on agreements - including a learner contract using clipart to help make less wordy - happy to share with.

I think a re-write of our loan agreement is probably going to happen quite soon to respond to some misuse of the loan equipment so far...

Happy to talk about tablets to you as we've been using a few...

In regards to dongles the only problem is that newydd has said they will pay £10 for the three month period therefore at the beginning of every month I've got to go around to top up their dongles. This would be a massive pain if we carried out this project on a large scale, thankfully we only currently have 10 laptops available to be loaned out. Other than that i have no complaints, hope this helps James

Ah so they are PAYG then I take it! We've got some on contract and there are any number of pitfalls which are not self-evident that we are picking our way through!

By the way, I am pretty sure you can top the dongles up remotely on PAYG by the way to save you having to go round -  you can get a voucher code to give to the borrower to add the top up to their could also consider getting giffgaff on them (easy if they are already on O2 as no unlocking required) as you could set up accounts and log in to topup and buy more "gigabags" as they call their data bundles - can't say I'd fancy it for 10 laptops but it's got to be better than trolling round!

Thanks for the information James. Definitely something to look into when we look to roll this out further.

Andrew - we're using Asus tablets as I thought it would be best to try to use a fairly neutral Android experience (and 10in Nexus tablets are a lot more expensive). We are also showing people some other tablet options including generic entry level ones to show them what is available at a lower cost but we wanted to use something with a better build quality.

That said, we've still had two cracked screens in a single wave of around 15 loans! Wondering about ruggedised tablets but they seem to come closer to the £1000 for a 10in version, and I haven't found anything about how tough the screens are on those yet... hoping to do a little more digging when I can find some time.

I have a learner agreement and a loan agreement you can have sight of if you like, but planning to re-write the loan agreement to make better for lower literacy levels and respond to some of the misuse issues.

Thanks James. The tablet recommendation will certainly be noted, and those forms would be useful as a basis to build something for us. Are you able to email them across to me at ?

Hi Andrew - we have a laptop loan scheme running at the moment.  Laptops are ex-organisation stock with a build that resets software after restart, so no personal details are kept.  All use open source software and we supply a bag, mouse and USB flash drive to keep documents etc.

Internet access is signposted - local library etc. 

We include a get started guide and the tenant signs a loan agreement.  Happy to share - email me at

Hi Craig - be interested to hear what you use in your set-up - we use similar set-up for some uses and always interested to hear of alternatives, especially if they refresh perfomance on older equipment!


Andrew - sorry for delay in replying - have been ridiculously busy and out of the office most of the time but will try and get them across to you this week!


Hi James - not sure what the refresh utility is, it was set up by our IT dept.

It does keep the machine clean and user's data safe.  We also provide a USB stick for users to keep their documents on.  This remains their property after returning the laptop.


Kind of on topic!

We are thinking of providing some of our involved residents, (those who do a lot of "higher end" stuff with us), a tablet. The aim is to move them towards a paperless system and improve communication between us and them, and between themselves.

Not decided on the brand/type of device yet. I was wondering if anybody had tried this with their residents, and what were the outcomes.

Hi Matt

Hope you got my reply about catching up?


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