Grampian: a focus on tenancy support
In our latest case study, we ask Grampian Housing Association how the implementation of TAIM is making a difference to their tenants and teams.
“Insight is an extremely powerful tool which helps our Housing Officers to work proactively and offer the correct support to our tenants.”
Grampian Housing Association provides over 3,200 homes for social rent throughout a large geographical area covering Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray in North East Scotland. The Association is committed to social justice through the provision of tenancy sustainment, which includes their money advice and housing support projects.
Following a successful implementation, Grampian went live with TAIM’s (Tenancy and Income Management) Insight and SafeStart solutions in November 2017. Their initial focus was twofold, divided between a concern for their tenants and a desire to support their staff. They aimed to support tenancy sustainment by placing a greater emphasis on pre-tenancy work and understanding the risk of Universal Credit, whilst also mitigating the potential impact on rent arrears and supporting staff dealing with the resulting higher caseloads, as well as protecting income.
Chris Mathieson, Compliance, Engagement and Support Lead at Grampian speaks of their initial experience with the solutions: “Implementing Insight was a smooth process. We were impressed with the level of support from the Housing Partners Implementation Team and how they helped us to easily extract our Housing Management system data into the correct format.”
Implementation of all TAIM solutions includes a short period a of hands-on training from the Housing Partners Implementation Team. Following this, staff at Grampian commented on the ease with which they were able get to grips with the software:
“The launch and training sessions were aimed at different user access levels; they used our live data and it was evident that staff who had never seen the software before could relate to it and see an immediate benefit to their roles.”
Another staff member commented: “First-rate training delivered at just the right pace. Very well presented and thorough; the whole session was very interesting and informative.”
Insight allows their staff to work smarter by identifying patterns of tenancies using geo data and maps, thereby ensuring that every visit counts. The software enables Association staff teams to manage an increasing workload more efficiently and target best use of resources. The cleansed data that this provides – which is augmented by external data sources – helps Grampian to provide exceptional customer support across all teams.
It’s this improved allocation of time that Grampian has cited as one of the key benefits of using Insight. Housing Manager, Carol Reid tells us, “Using Insight has enabled staff to make better use of their time as they are able to identify problematic areas more easily, therefore reducing the need for unnecessary visits.”
By contrast, the SafeStart solution offers Pre-Tenancy Financial Assessments (PTFAs) to support tenancy sustainability. These checks have now become embedded into Grampian’s pre-tenancy process and are vital in helping to understand an individual’s situation prior to offering a tenancy.
Pre-Tenancy Financial Assessments allow staff to identify when a prospective tenant requires financial assistance or support from the outset. Carol tells us, “Having access to this information prior to sign up ensures our tenants are offered the help they require at a time when it is needed. The pre-tenancy process is embedded in our culture and staff in both our Housing and Tenancy Sustainment Teams work closely together to mitigate tenancy failure and work towards long term tenancy sustainment.”
For those tenants already holding tenancies, Insight allows Grampian to get a better understanding of a tenant’s financial landscape and put in place the right support packages to help them early, before rent arrears occur. Money Advisers are able to use the financial information that Insight provides to make the right decisions and better support tenants.
Insight also easily identifies tenants who are in good financial standing and who have a high propensity to pay rent and other bills by direct debit. Using this data, Grampian plans to run a direct debit campaign with those tenants shown to suit this payment method, thereby ensuring future rental income.
Moving forward, Grampian will also start using Insight to help identify tenancy benefit fraud and examples of subletting. Officers will be using the segmented data that Insight provides to investigate each case in further detail.
In addition to this, Grampian will be using Insight’s former tenant debt recovery solution to trace former tenants that have left owing rent. With increasing former tenant debt levels, the high costs of recovery and limited success associated with tracing former tenants, the ability to trace former tenants will enable them to pursue these debts in a more cost-effective manner.
Carol Reid concludes, “Insight is an extremely powerful tool which helps our Housing Officers to work proactively and offer the correct support to our tenants. We are looking forward to working with Housing Partners to recognise further value by continuing to help mitigate the risk of Universal Credit. We are also excited to use the solution to identify cases of benefit fraud and help us to recover former tenant debt.”