Oxford City Council has deployed Mobysoft’s RentSense software in advance of the introduction of universal credit.
The council was one of the government’s universal credit pilot projects to test the impact of direct housing payments to tenants. Having seen an initial increase in arrears during the pilot project, the council realised that it needed to provide more support to tenants, prepare itself for significant operational changes, and undertake more financial profiling of its tenants.
Damon Venning, income manager, Oxford City Council, said, “Before universal credit, around 65 per cent of our rent was from housing benefit and we, as a local authority, were in control of those payments. After the introduction of universal credit, we expect that 70 per cent of our rent payments will come direct from tenants. This means that we need to establish a payment culture with our tenants because it will soon be their responsibility to pay us themselves.
“We saw RentSense as a means to increase our collection rate as well as give our income team more time to help tenants prepare for universal credit. The role of an income collection service has changed whereby officers are required to provide more support and negotiate sustainable payment plans.”