The impact of the Welfare Reform Bill and the related introduction of Universal Credit are likely to be high on all housing providers’ agendas. Regardless of one’s views concerning the efficacy of the Bill, at the highest level Universal Credit will have two main impacts.
The first is that direct payments to housing benefit claimants will almost certainly mean that every housing provider will have to re-evaluate their existing systems and processes to cope with strategic technology issues such as how their housing and finance systems accommodate Universal Credit.
The second impact will be an increase in arrears. Although the amount by which rent arrears will rise is impossible to know at the moment, housing providers should be considering how it will affect their cash flows and bad debts. They can then mitigate its effects using technology, either as part of the finance management system or using dedicated rent-collection tool, in tandem with internal staff resources and changing business processes.