Case Study: St Leger Homes
St Leger Homes was founded in 2005 by Doncaster Council as an Arm’s Length Management Organisation managing 21,000 homes.
Arrears: 2.74% (March 2014) down to 2.56% (March 2016)
Income Officer Capacity Created: 6
Evictions: 77 (2014/15) down to 60 (2015/16) – 22% reduction
“Officers were getting around 500-600 cases to address, which was not possible to complete in a week, which resulted in some cases not being actioned as promptly as desired,” comments Karl Chapman, Area Housing Manager at St Leger Homes.
“We realised the solution was giving the right level of support that helps prevent arrears,” said Dave Abbott, Head of Tenancy and Estate Management at St Leger Homes.
St Leger began looking at alternative ways to manage arrears and filtering cases so that officers were able to make the best use of their time.
“We looked at our systems, processes and the team and made some strategic changes that included investing in RentSense and recruiting Tenancy Sustainment Officers and Income Management Officers.”
At St Leger Homes the officers work from different offices that are located across Doncaster; these are positioned within their patches which enables them to split their time between making calls and visiting. It was important the new approach created more time for the officers to work on the right cases and enabled them to offer the appropriate level of support.
The impact of RentSense was immediate. It enabled St Leger to ignore the accounts that did not need looking at and got officers addressing the cases that needed action.
“With RentSense the total workload more or less halved and our ability to manage the volume of the work was noticeable immediately,” said Dave Abbott.
In the background to these changes there were on-going welfare reforms that were impacting St Leger Homes. Over 3,000 of their tenants were affected by the bedroom tax and the rent cut has meant capital programmes, to improve the stock, have been prolonged. They are now working with tenants to tackle the issues created by changes to legislation, including the waiting period in which tenants have an initial payment when they switch to Universal Credit.
In spite of huge welfare reform and having to support over 3,000 tenants with the bedroom tax through DHP and their own fund St Leger have successfully reduced their arrears from 2.74% in March 2014 to 2.56% in March 2016, reducing arrears by circa £70,000.
There have been many other benefits since deploying RentSense. St Leger have seen evictions fall by 22%, from 77 in 2014/15 to 60 in 2015/16. This has helped reduce court costs but also lower void overheads too, as every void property costs on average £2,500 to turn around.
“Mobysoft has helped us focus more on tenants by freeing up officers’ time. This has resulted in the quality of work improving, reducing evictions,” commented Dave Abbott.
RentSense has enabled officers to work remotely as it is cloud based and it has helped create substantial efficiencies in workload.
“If we had to go back to dealing with the volume of cases we experienced before we had RentSense we would have to factor in six officers’ workload back in. It makes a massive difference,” said Dave Abbott.