In March this year, we nominated our fantastic Housing Jigsaw team for the Central Service Team of the Year category under the Housing Heroes Awards – and we were delighted to be shortlisted! The Housing Heroes Awards are jointly organised by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing and aim to reward the hard work of outstanding teams and individuals within the housing sector.

The Central Service Team of the Year Award recognises a team that is doing exceptional work to provide crucial support to drive its organisation forward and to help frontline teams to thrive – we couldn’t think of any team better placed for this than those who work on delivering our Housing Jigsaw module.

Here we share with you our nomination of this team; how they have contributed to the wider organisational objectives and their greatest achievements.

The Housing Jigsaw Team

In April 2018 local authorities (LAs) had to respond to the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) – the biggest change in 15 years. The HRA requires LAs to fulfil new duties in addition to the statutory rehousing duty: specifically, to prevent and relieve homelessness.

The Housing Jigsaw Team designed, built and launched our innovative system from scratch to fully meet the requirements of HRA – the only fully automated system to meet the deadline. This was no easy task for the Team as Housing Jigsaw was our first ever system built specifically to support the LA sector. The Team worked closely alongside our partners, NPSS with practitioners, ensuring that their needs were listened to throughout the process, creating a truly intuitive platform.

Being a completely new brand and not merely linking to an existing system, the success of Housing Jigsaw is a huge indictment of the effort that the Team put into understanding and then delivering to customer needs and the legislation’s requirements. In a rapidly changing landscape, the Housing Partners and NPSS partnership’s understanding of homelessness policy nuances and day-to-day needs of LAs, enabled not only the creation of a ground-breaking product but also allowed LAs to feel secure and supported throughout a turbulent time with a new company and new product.

Equally as impressive was the ability of the Team to keep pace with a series of Government changes to H-CLIC reporting. Undaunted by 13 major changes in under six months, Housing Jigsaw was the only fully automated system to be fully H-CLIC compliant at all times.

The two-way communication between the Team and LAs has continued post-launch and Housing Jigsaw now includes customer satisfaction, enhanced register and allocations, duty to refer and management of legacy homelessness.

Why should they win?

The Team’s effort to fully comprehend new and complicated legislation, understand a completely new LA sector, build a system from scratch and then continually maintain and enhance this system to meet changing Government H-CLIC (legally-required) homelessness reporting requirements and individual LA needs is, truly, a shared one and a shining example of inter-departmental and inter-organisational co-operation.

Housing Partners CEO, David Grint is in agreement: “Taking a concept and turning it into something real that is making a difference in people’s lives and helping LAs across the country stay ahead of complex legislation within the space of just over a year, is something quite remarkable. It’s right to recognise the magnificent work of the Housing Jigsaw Team involved in making this happen. Thanks to this Team, we are the only partnership to have achieved a fully automated system that fully meets all the legislative requirements to help fight homelessness.”

Our local authority customers have celebrated at every turn, the level of support afforded them by our Housing Jigsaw team. Thurrock Borough Council told us:

“We have been using Jigsaw from the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act, without the system we would have struggled to provide the service and would have been unable to provide the crucial H-CLIC returns. Thanks to the helpful Housing Jigsaw support staff we are now also making the bespoke changes to deliver an effective service to our residents.”

The Team has worked around the clock ensuring that the system delivered on its promise to customers and was functional for the April 2018 deadline, when the HRA came into force. Ensuring that LA teams were compliant with the Act from the start was the top priority for the Housing Jigsaw Team.

As the policies have developed, particularly around H-CLIC submissions, the Team has continued to strive for a solution that works seamlessly for LA officers – to remove their administrative burden and simplify complicated legislation.

The London Borough of Hillingdon have touched upon this in saying:

“We like the commitment to their Customers, accepting enhancement requests and regular development. There’s no ‘get what you’re given’ model and Housing Jigsaw continue to work with us to shape the system in this ever-changing environment.”

What are the Team most proud of?

Whilst the last 12 months have contained an incredible volume of impressive work, the Housing Jigsaw Team have been most proud of their ability to stay ahead of H-CLIC reporting. H-CLIC is a fundamental requirement of the new legislation.  Every change has significant implications for LAs and the system itself.  Prior to launch, the Government changed its requirements eight times.  In May and June alone, there were nine changes with a further seven changes from July onwards.  Managing these changes for H-CLIC and its associated schematron has been a massive undertaking.  However, the Team was determined to not let LAs down.  Even now, every other system has major H-CLIC issues with some LAs having to make manual returns.  By contrast, Housing Jigsaw is the only fully-automated means by which LAs can make full H-CLIC submissions – a true testament to the fantastic commitment and dedication of the Housing Jigsaw Team.

We’re so proud of the incredible work the Team has achieved over the past 18 months and of the recognition of that fact by their place on the shortlist for the Housing Heroes Awards. We’re very much looking forward to awards night on 24thJune!