Source: Housing Systems
Things are moving so quickly, with changes announced by the government almost daily, it’s vital that those who work in social housing can keep up to date.
As a small company, with lots to do, the Coronavirus outbreak has made it more important than ever that we prioritise our workload and work together as team – concentrating on the needs of our customers.
Our ‘business as usual’ is to provide up-to-date welfare benefit information – chiefly Universal Credit and Housing Benefit – that is relevant to the challenges faced by the social housing sector.
So over the last couple of weeks we have been busy developing a whole new section of our website – all about COVID-19 and claiming benefits. We’ve worked hard to anticipate the types of queries that claimants may have and ensuring the answer is provided. These pages are now the most popular on the website.
Feedback so far has been brilliant- for example South Yorkshire Housing Association wrote this when we replied to their query: “Your website has been like a bible to us! And the covid folder has been brilliant and very quick to find information.” Darren Joyce, team leader, Rents, SYHA.
We are also very aware that most of the staff using these pages were working from home, and whilst dipping into a website for some advice is useful, many were wanting a broader knowledge that they would usually get from a training session or face-to-face briefing.
Whilst we just love providing face-to-face training this just isn’t happening at the moment. So we’ve developed a ‘Coronavirus and Benefits’ E-Learning course that can be accessed digitally anywhere and anytime. We’ve made it a free to access course so large numbers of staff can access this resource.
Cara Chisholm, Welfare Benefits Adviser at Great Places, told us, “I just completed your new e-learning on Covid 19 and benefits – excellent course!! And thank you for making it free to all! We have actually made it a requirement to complete the course for all staff who will contact our customers who have asked for advice on employment and benefits so thank you!”
We are working with a number of customers on further developments including on-line consultancy sessions on specific subjects and an e-learning training package that will include assessments and tests to develop agreed skills. And we’re developing some Kahoot quizzes to run alongside the courses. In the world of benefits there is always something more to be done….
Lastly, the fast pace of change has made us realise just how important it is to keep the online information we provide up to date. So many people rely on it. So we’re busy developing some information pages all about Universal Credit – aimed at claimants – that can be uploaded onto a social housing providers customer facing website, but updated by us remotely.
Like many organisations – including the DWP – the current situation has forced us not only to bring forward deadlines for certain projects, re-think our products, but also upskill our staff in new areas of work. These will, no doubt, have a lasting impact on the way we work in the future.