Case Study: Women’s Pioneer Housing

Women’s Pioneer Housing was established in 1920 by women and men who believed in gender equality and the need to redress the disadvantages women experienced in obtaining and retaining a secure home. Today, Women’s Pioneer’s are still carrying out their founders’ intentions, as despite much political and social change in the last hundred years many women still find themselves disadvantaged when it comes to securing a home.

Key Stats

Properties: 991
Caseload Reduction: 58%
Income Officer Capacity Created: 0.68 FTE

Before RentSense

Prior to using RentSense Women’s Pioneer used their HMS which generated a report of those accounts in arrears (from the highest value to the lowest). However, for their housing officers collecting rent forms only part of their responsibilities, dedicating a day week to this task. But, according to their Housing Manager, Matthew Wicks, the system was not working so they looked to change.

“It was a very labour intensive process for the officers and not particularly accurate, in that it was not guiding officers to cases they needed to action with the right priority, which meant it was not very productive.”

 

“Also, from a management perspective it was not able to produce the insight that we required to see how staff were performing.”

The Threat of Universal Credit

With the threat of full-service Universal Credit looming there was concern the additional caseload would be an added burden to their housing officers and result with more and more time being taken collecting rent. From July to December in 2017 the number of tenants on UC more than doubled to 84, and these accounted for 31% of overall arrears across their 991 tenancies.

Consultancy from Mobysoft

To counter the rising workload resulting from Universal Credit, Women’s Pioneer started talking to Mobysoft about a “Discovery Day”. This is a free consultancy day that is delivered by Mobysoft which reviews and analyses the collection processes to highlight if or how it can be improved.

“The consultancy (on the Discovery Day) was done in a manner that was supportive for the officers, and was non-judgemental, which was refreshing. Indeed, our overall experiences so far have been very good, what Mobysoft has said they would deliver they have done so,” explains Matthew.

Mitigating Universal Credit

As a result of the consultancy and to help mitigate the risk of full-service Universal Credit, Women’s Pioneer, invested in RentSense and recruited an interim income officer. Moreover, their approach is one of supporting tenants in their transition to full-service, as they assist them on the portal with their claims and offer budgetary advice.

As the number of Universal Credit cases has risen, Women’s Pioneer has also focused on developing a good working relationship with the Job Centre Plus (JCPs) across the eight London Boroughs where they have stock.

Investing in RentSense

From the outset the experience for Women’s Pioneer has been very positive with their Client Success Manager, Jo Lumb, working closely with them to get the project and implementation live and officers trained.

“Everything ran really smoothly, Jo has been our primary contact and has been fantastic helping us along, making sure we kept to the timetable and was very quick to respond to any queries we had.”

RentSense Results

With RentSense in-situ Women’s Pioneer were keen that their housing officers were only addressing the cases that required, saving them time to work through their caseload.

“We wanted RentSense to help officers move away from traditional monitoring of all accounts. We were set in our ways to a certain degree, but having RentSense really refined the workload.” Commented Matthew.

Since implementing RentSense it has dramatically cut the officers caseload by around 58%. Initially, the HMS was recommending around 471 cases every week, but this has been cut by 274. Moreover, RentSense is also flagging cases for early intervention as well so officers are catching debt at their earliest stages.

“The reaction from the housing officers has been very positive, they like the lighter workload, and they have the ability to jump in on a patch when there is a leave and illness.”

The capacity this has created within the small team is significant, indeed it is the equivalent of 0.68 FTE and it allows the housing officers to spend more time on a variety of other projects as well as complete their caseload.

When asked of his overall views of Mobysoft and RentSense Matthew is highlights the high level of service and a product that delivers on promises.

“RentSense has definitely made us work smarter and given us more time. And the service from Mobysoft has been very good actually. Right from the start there was an honesty and openness and close contact from Mobysoft that enabled us to go live quickly and get the most out of RentSense, and get from it what we initially planned.”