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  • Writer's pictureTom O'Connell

R: Reduced Effort

Updated: Feb 22

How the ‘work harder, not smarter’ attitude is affecting officers and tenants alike, and why using AI is key to a housing association’s success.

The fourth of Occupi’s five values is Reduced Effort. Some of the most common complaints to hear from income and financial inclusion teams in 2023 are:

  1. Their caseloads are too long,

  2. It’s impossible to easily identify the tenants who need the most support,

  3. The time they have to manage cases is being limited by poor data management and outdated systems.

These issues all stem from a single source: an industry-wide belief that advanced technological systems are not important or required when trying to secure tenants’ financial wellbeing.

As most housing associations are not-for-profit, it’s important to understand that keeping running costs low is a priority. And simple data management systems and top-down prioritisation of cases has proven to be effective in the past. The issue is that the social housing sector has grown significantly in the last decade, now standing at around 4.4 millions homes in the UK, and the systems and technology used by social landlords has not kept pace with this growth.

This leads to income and inclusion teams being pushed to complete more work as the number of homes managed by social landlords grows, all while using systems that are often a decade old. The results are the three issues laid out at the top of this article.

While the impacts on income and financial inclusion teams are obvious, it’s key to understand that this issue also affects tenants. Due to the mountain of cases that income and inclusion teams have to assess and management systems that sort cases linearly based on one criterion (usually the total debt for each tenancy), teams are unable to identify and support the tenants who require help most urgently. Inevitably this leads to lower tenant wellbeing, avoidable arrears being accrued, and a feeling of powerlessness in both tenants and housing association professionals.

The notion that working harder is the best way to save money has to stop. Not only are the repercussions of this mentality devastating for social landlords and their tenants, it’s also been shown to not save money. The employee time wasted on antiquated systems plus the poorly managed arrears of tenants far outweigh the costs of adopting new, SMART technologies.

So, let’s switch the mentality around. You’ve tried working harder, now try working smarter. By utilising Occupi’s SMART AI software, income and inclusion teams can immediately reduce their caseloads by up to 40%. The remaining cases will also be prioritised to highlight the tenants most in need of support, reducing the effort needed to produce the same (or better!) results. By employing Occupi’s AI to manage your tenant’s data to produce robust and effective caseloads, your teams can get back to enjoying their work, helping tenants and managing your association’s arrears.

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