Magenta Living, based on the Wirral, invested in Mobysoft’s predictive analytical tool RentSense to help create efficiencies within their income function to help the organisation mitigate the effects of Universal Credit.
Magenta, who have around 12,400 properties on the Wirral, are a trusted pilot partner of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for Universal Credit. Before investing in RentSense they were already experiencing the effects of the bedroom tax whilst UC was in the process of being launched, all of which combined to push up their rent arrears.
Since 2012 as an organisation they had invested time and effort into their Housing Management System (HMS), in an effort to reduce the number of cases it was recommending. In spite of their best efforts it was proving unsuccessful.
“Any gains from the HMS investment were marginal. By early 2015 we were deleting around 70-80% of the actions being recommended,” explained John Roach, Head of Income at Magenta Living.
With Universal Credit looming, Magenta Living took the decision to invest in RentSense, they were keen that RentSense was able to flag the cases that needed attention rather than the income team wasting time checking if cases needed action.
The initial caseload reduction, however, was not as dramatic as expected; although flagging fewer cases, it was also catching over 600 cases a week that the HMS was missing, that had projected rent arrears around £140,000.
“That was surprising,” explains John. “We were aware that some cases were being missed, but not such a volume. Sometimes cases would pop out of the woodwork when officers looked at all their cases over £500 for example. Unfortunately, officers did not have the capacity at the end of the week, when using the HMS, as they weren’t getting through their caseload; then more would slip through the net.”
However, RentSense started to help to deliver tangible results and a more efficient workforce that are able to get through their weekly caseload; as well as creating an officer capacity (or FTE) of three people, within their team of 13.5, that has helped the income function manage their Universal Credit caseload, which is currently around 420 and rising, whilst also driving down arrears.
John credits a change in approach to tackling tenants in arrears and RentSense in helping Magenta reduce rent arrears from 1.55% to 1.25% in 12 months. Find out more by reading Magenta’s case study.