The Longhurst Group have invested in RentSense to help them mitigate welfare reform and to create efficiencies to help them beat the 1% rent cut.

As part of a root-and-branch review across the whole organisation, Longhurst Group, comprising three social landlords, Friendship Care and Housing, Spire Homes and L&H Homes, as well as a funding vehicle and development arm, are standardising their systems in an aim to improve services and provide consistency whilst demonstrating value for money.

“The UK’s housing associations are facing many challenges, not least a one per cent social rent cut each year for the next four years and the impact of welfare reform,” commented Paul Manning, Corporate Income Manager at Longhurst Group.

As part of the review, the senior leadership team were keen to ensure best of breed systems were adopted throughout. Spire Homes, have been using RentSense, a SaaS solution, since 2014 and have seen an improvement in performance, driving down arrears from 3.94% to 2.90%.

“When RentSense was introduced the income teams’ at Spire combined caseload was reduced by around 50%, and this reduction allowed staff more time to contact customers in high-risk categories, which has enabled us to improve performance,” commented Paul. Looking to the future, Longhurst Group were keen to mitigate the effects of welfare reform and, in particular, Universal Credit.

“RentSense supports our preparation for the rollout of Universal Credit, allowing us to be in the best place possible to deal with income recovery more effectively and prioritising the high-risk cases,” he explained.

For the management team, it was clear RentSense has helped Spire deliver an improvement in performance that they hope can be mimicked across the organisation. Moreover, they were aware that implementation of the solution is quick, as it takes a matter of weeks, and requires very little resource in terms of configuration whilst it helps to create immediate efficiencies.

“The implementation process was straightforward when it was deployed to Spire in 2014,” commented Darren Ryland, Director of ICT at Longhurst Group. “So we are looking forward to the same being true in the Autumn when RentSense is deployed across Longhurst Group.”