Case Study: Guildford Borough Council

Guildford Borough Council, based in Surrey, has around 5,000 council houses and invested in RentSense in 2018. The threat of Universal Credit and the impact that this could have on income collection were the driving reasons behind the decision to deploy RentSense.

Key Stats

Properties: 5,000
Efficiency Saving: 1.45 FTE
Arrears Reduction: £37,833 (in 3 months)

 

Guildford Borough Council, based in Surrey, has around 5,000 council houses and invested in RentSense in 2018. The threat of Universal Credit and the impact that this could have on income collection were the driving reasons behind the decision to deploy RentSense.

“We want to maintain performance and support our tenants,” explains Siobhan Rumble, Landlord Services Manager at Guildford Council.

“However, we recognised the threat that Universal Credit poses to our income stream, as it has been well documented across the sector.”

Before Mobysoft, the income officers were working off reports from their Housing Management System and additional reports through SAP Business intelligence.

“Even with the additional reporting there was a lack of trust with the results from the income reports and officers would typically go through each account making sure no accounts were missed,” explains Joanne Figg, Income Manager at Guildford Borough Council.

“We looked at what our HMS provider could deliver, but RentSense was, and still is, the only proven system available. We went to see other landlords and they were all supporters of RentSense, and we saw how it could really help us in the way we wanted to work,” mentions Siobhan.

Measuring the impact of RentSense, part of the business case looked at freeing up 1.45 FTE capacity, and when asked about this Siobhan explains:

“It probably has, if you think of all the wasted time spent checking accounts that did not need to be looked at. It means now we are targeting the cases that matter and we have more time to support our tenants.”

They have measured the impact of RentSense in other ways too, such as the reduction of cases of tenants in arrears and it has also supported us in achieving falling arrears levels.

“The number of tenants in arrears were falling throughout the year and at the end of December 2018 the amount was 1,245, after the implementation of RentSense in January 2019, this has dropped to just 555 as at the end of March 2019. It has really helped us focus more time with tenants, this has been critical as cases are becoming more complex and the need to support tenants has become more intense, RentSense allows you to only focus on those cases that need to be looked at, giving you the time to support the tenants.” Comments Joanne

At the end of the financial year (2018/19) rent arrears, that were already very low, at less than 1%, have dropped by a further £30,000 to less than £250,000, after just three months of use. There have also been other working benefits from deploying RentSense

“RentSense has also helped unify working practices across the team, the officers work in the same way and focus their efforts on the cases that need their attention,” comments Siobhan.

“The team are also able to get through their weekly caseload now, and work across one another’s patches when people are on annual leave, so the work always gets done,” explains Joanne.

RentSense has also helped Guildford with a better management insight and providing the ability to produce a clearer picture of performance, and helping improve analysis within the housing department. Beforehand generating reports was not straight forward nor did they have the up to date nature of the RentSense performance reports.

“The information that RentSense’s reporting gives me enables me to see how the arrears are broken down on each patch separating universal credit arrears with general arrears, and the RentSense reports provide a lot of detail that we didn’t have before.” comments Joanne.

When asked how Guildford would sum up working with RentSense so far, the response is unequivocal.

“RentSense has supported us in increasing collections rates, reducing our evictions and taking fewer people to court, this shows we are supporting our tenants by getting to the cases at the earliest stage and helping tenants get out of debt and back on track, and that is what RentSense is helping us achieve.” Explains Siobhan.