reduction in arrears by one single officer alone


increase in income collection performance


percentage point improvement on arrears target

The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham partnered with Mobysoft to utilise its RentSense platform, aiming to enhance income collection and reduce arrears. Katherine Gilcreest, Head of Support (Community Solutions), shares insights into the challenges faced and the significant improvements achieved through this collaboration.

Over the last 12 months, what have been the main challenges for Barking and Dagenham?

Ketherine Gilcreest:

Taking over rent collection in Barking and Dagenham in 2023 presented multiple challenges. Our income collection had been outsourced and came back to the council in 2020. Upon reviewing the data, it was evident that collection rates had been declining since at least 2018-2019, primarily due to the transition to Universal Credit rather than the effects of the pandemic.
Covid certainly exacerbated the situation however as staff went home and working practices changed, as there was less active engagement with tenants. We could see performance was deteriorating and we needed to address the situation and support our tenants.


What role did RentSense play in addressing these challenges?

Katherine Gilcreest:

We spoke with Mobysoft in 2022 and they were able to share a huge amount of insight from across the sector, and we could see from this, that the council was under resourced. So, we took steps to address that. We then looked to invest in RentSense, and Mobysoft worked with us to provide a proof of value for the council, to help us showcase what it would deliver. When we implemented RentSense the first three months provided the council with our best collection rates in the last four years, clearly showing the platform’s impact.


What was the initial impact on staff after deploying RentSense?

Katherine Gilcreest:

It was a mix of showing benefits and applying peer pressure. Early adopters in the team demonstrated significant successes, making it easier to convince others. For instance, one staff member reduced arrears on her patch by about £400,000 in January alone. Highlighting such success stories motivated others.
The quality of analytics from RentSense was instrumental. Accurate data helped build trust among staff, countering the initial scepticism typical of new IT implementations. The simplicity of the implementation also played a part, requiring minimal training and setup time


Can you elaborate on the impact of RentSense on your income collection and arrears performance?

Katherine Gilcreest:

RentSense significantly improved our income collection. For the last financial year we achieved a 2.8% increase in collection performance compared to the previous year and exceeded our arrears target by 0.5 of a percentage point. This was the first year in five that our arrears reduced. The platform also aided in resource planning, providing detailed insights into the number of recommendations and required staff levels. This data was crucial for justifying the necessary resources to senior leaders.

RentSense significantly improved our income collection. For the last financial year we achieved a 2.8% increase in performance compared to the previous year and exceeded our arrears target by 0.5 percentage point. This was the first year in five that our arrears reduced.

Katherine Gilcreest, Head of Support (Community Solutions), London Borough of Barking & Dagenham

How has RentSense helped manage the challenges posed by the cost of living crisis?

Katherine Gilcreest:

Training from Mobysoft emphasised the “rent first” approach, which was vital for our team. Although we had extensive support systems for our residents, the training shifted our focus towards ensuring rent payments were prioritised. This approach, combined with RentSense’s analytics, helped us proactively manage arrears despite the financial strain on our residents.


What other benefits have you observed from using RentSense?

Katherine Gilcreest:

RentSense has facilitated better performance conversations within the team by providing clear, actionable data. The assisted automation features, like sending follow-up texts, streamlined our processes, making staff more efficient. The accurate caseload also prevents staff from feeling overwhelmed.
The platform’s ease of use and minimal implementation burden were unexpected benefits. It also encouraged staff to engage with training and webinars, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.


Any final comments on your experience with Mobysoft and RentSense?

Katherine Gilcreest:

The support and training from Mobysoft have been exceptional. The flexibility with providing a proof of value, enabling us to then invest in RentSense. The hands-on training ensured we could demonstrate the platform’s value effectively. Overall, RentSense has been a game-changer for us, helping us improve our income collection, reduce arrears, and navigate the financial challenges faced by the council.
From a personal perspective I have worked in local authority for many years, and I have never experienced an IT project to run so smoothly and successfully. From getting the implementation completed in a matter of weeks (and on time) and it did not require a great deal of effort from our side, with Mobysoft doing most of the work.

Be ready for what tomorrow brings.

A RentTest enables landlords to benchmark their data against 170 landlords and see what RentSense would deliver for their organisation

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