A NORTH-EAST housing association has been named as a finalist in a national awards scheme for its innovative use of Artificial Intelligence to streamline a vital part of its work.

North Star Housing is one of five finalists in the innovation category at the inaugural Housing Technology Awards, with the winners announced at the Housing Technology conference in Nottingham on March 6.

North Star has been shortlisted in recognition of its deployment of a streamlined AI-powered compliance module for its gas safety certifications. It replaces manual verification of certifications through a third-party assurance system, which was time-consuming and labour intensive.

Under the new system – based on Microsoft’s AI platform and developed in collaboration with RedkiteCRM – North Star contractors can now submit certifications more simply, with artificial intelligence carrying out key checks.

Sean Lawless, North Star’s Assistant Director of Technology and Innovation, said: “It’s fantastic to be recognised nationally for what is a shining example of adopting emerging technology to solve a problem and make it easier for staff and contractors.

“We are up against some large organisations with bigger budgets and technology teams, so North Star is punching above its weight in making the final. Win or lose, it’s a triumph just to get to this stage.”

The deployment of the new system is part of North Star’s wider move from Capita OpenHousing to Microsoft Dynamics as its main housing management system.

Certificates passing all AI checks can now be automatically updated, with payments being triggered without the need for any manual intervention. Any certificates failing assurance checks are automatically redirected to a ‘failed’ folder for manual review.

As well as being a finalist at the awards, North Star has also been invited to speak about this area of innovation at the conference, which takes place at the East Midlands Conference Centre. North Star will also speak about a research piece it has conducted with York University on an innovative project to keep tenants safe from the dangers of damp, mould and condensation.

Chief executive Angela Lockwood said: “North Star has a proud track record of coming up with solutions in the housing sector throughout its history, and we are delighted our innovation is still being recognised nationally.”