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  • Writer's pictureTom O'Connell

Income Collection: Optimising Your Team’s Performance

Updated: Mar 24

As income teams are faced with a growing number of tenancies to manage, many income managers and directors will be asking themselves the same question: How are we performing compared with others in the sector, and are there performance gains and efficiencies we could implement? Are we wasting time, resources and money? In short, is our approach to income collection optimised?

For most, the answer to this final question will be a resounding ‘no’. Rent arrears amongst the 215 largest social housing providers (each operating more than 1,000 homes) has climbed to its highest level in 5 years, impacting both housing association staff and tenants. While external factors have undoubtedly contributed to this, few people would argue that housing associations are currently operating at their optimum level.

So, how can income teams work better, faster or more efficiently to achieve better results? One area that an income manager might consider is the ratio between specialised officers and generalist officers in their team, and the number of tenancies each group manages.

Of course, most income teams would clamour for the opportunity to hire more staff, just as most teams would agree that they have more cases than they can handle. However, with expensive decarbonisation commitments to fulfil plus the current focus on tackling mould and heating issues in homes, hiring staff won’t be financially viable for most housing associations. Past this, due to the inherent inefficiencies in many income teams caused by false positive cases and unwieldy caseloads, hiring new staff members likely wouldn’t be the most effective way to tackle their issues.

Instead, managers may look towards allocating their current staff and resources in a more effective way. Are some of your income officers being under-utilised? Could they take on more challenging cases? Should the challenging, high-debt cases be split evenly among your team so that no single person gets overwhelmed?

Certainly, some emphasis on restructuring income teams to ensure that everyone is in a position that aligns with their particular strengths and weaknesses is a good idea. However, in many housing associations every member of the income team is regularly unable to complete their caseload as they are simply too long. For teams in this position, no amount of restructuring can improve their overall performance.

The truth is that you’re unlikely to find the root of your team’s inefficiencies and a workable solution just by thinking about it. If there was an obvious inefficiency in your team, you would have found it by now. If there were obvious ways to optimise your performance, you would have implemented them by now.

The answers can’t be imagined, they need to be discovered - through analysis of your data.

Data analysis can provide an objective benchmark for operational performances, highlighting clear and actionable steps you can take to address the issues in your team, as well as pointing towards opportunities for improvement.

Proper data management and analysis is fast becoming the main technique for identifying housing associations with the most effective income teams. The best approach is one that allows staff members to focus on what they do best and encourages technological solutions to tackle the rest.

That’s why Occupi has placed data at the core of its mission, using AI technology to organise and analyse datasets from housing associations to pull out the key areas for improvement. The technology is so effective, it reduces overall workload for income teams by up to 40%, while also improving their income management effectiveness.

You can benefit from an Occupi deep-dive analysis into your team’s operational performance, allocation of cases, and overall income collection efficacy, simply by getting in touch today for a FREE analysis of your data.

After the analysis, you will learn:

  • Which tenancies are causing your team the most issues

  • Which tenancies should be focused on in order to increase income collection performance

  • Whether you have the right number of income officers in relation to the number of tenancies you manage

  • Whether your tenancies should be redistributed among your team

  • How your housing association compares to others in the social housing sector

  • What your team’s performance would look like if you adopted a data-driven approach

Get in touch today.

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