“PRAH was the best system we could have bought”
– Horsham District Council
In early 2018, following the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA), Horsham District Council (HDC) were one of the first local authorities to adopt our unique homelessness solution, PRAH. Following best practice, HDC were already focused on preventing homelessness, working within a set of processes that the new Act formalised.
With the implementation of the HRA, the largest overhaul of homelessness legislation for many years, the Homelessness team at HDC needed a solution to help them manage their legal responsibilities. Their existing provider could not meet the legal compliance of the HRA in time for 1 April 2018, forcing Horsham to look at alternative providers to meet this new set of needs.
The PRAH solution, delivered in partnership between Housing Partners and the National Practitioner Support Service (NPSS) was a clear choice. The solution is designed and built exclusively around the NPSS Flowchart and is a unique solution to manage cases, monitor outcomes and deliver solutions against the HRA, combining the latest IT software with practitioner experience. Council Officers have reported that the legal questions they are now required to ask are often repetitive, making the Personalised Housing Plan that Council Officers work through with customers fairly labour intensive. It is acknowledged however, that this is a legal requirement, and not necessarily as a result of the system they are using.
Following a smooth implementation of the PRAH solution and with strong management of the Homeless and IT project team at HDC, Horsham were able to further configure the system with support from the Implementation team at Housing Partners. The configuration that the system allows, enabled Horsham to seamlessly move into and work within the biggest change in homelessness legislation in forty years.
Kendra Barrington, Homeless Prevention Manager at HDC tells us, “PRAH was the best system we could have bought. It’s a great fit for Horsham.”
Workflow support and H-CLIC
The PRAH solution supports Horsham to comply with the legislation through useful workflows, reminders and dashboard widgets to support case management, while staff are guided through the processes of the Act with simple-to-use question and decision prompts. “The visual workflow is excellent and enables us to easily see where we are in the process at any time”, says Kendra.
The new statistics recording system, H-CLIC that is now required as part of the HRA, has been challenging for Horsham and they initially encountered some major issues reporting data to MHCLG for those that were still in temporary accommodation on 1 April 2018 (Horsham fortunately had made their homeless decisions for all customers prior to 1 April 2018).
Users reported that H-CLIC errors (mismatches) are sometimes difficult to comprehend, although the messaging NPSS and Housing Partners have introduced has greatly helped. This had evolved into a quarterly struggle to understand clearly what had been uploaded and there were misunderstandings with MHCLG as a result. Housing Partners worked hard to fix the issue with legacy cases and communication between Kendra at HDC, the Housing Jigsaw team, Delta and MHCLG continues to be strong.
“The support of NPSS and Housing Partners has been excellent” says Kendra. “The Implementation and Help Desk teams are wonderful and are incredibly patient”.
Horsham are now implementing EHR and ATLAS, the enhanced housing register and powerful allocations system, which also form part of the Housing Jigsaw suite of products and work seamlessly with PRAH.