Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 6/1/2020

*Phase 3, Sprint 8*

Manage Arrears is an arrears case management system with the vision to create a simple service for residents and caseworkers that is easy to use and improves arrears management and collection.

The current phase will be ending soon. During this phase there has been a strong emphasis on our Rents caseworkers needs to encourage them to use the system. Our team has addressed these needs by: 

– Implementing patches

– Making the system more usable for caseworkers by adjusting the case prioritisation

– Separating Leasehold information from Rents

We have onboarded two teams from Rents and the findings to date have been that some of the cases are not falling into the correct classifications e.g. cases which do not need attention are being picked up for letter automation. As a result, we are focusing our resources on ensuring that the Letter 1, Letter 2 and NOSP classifications are correct so we can switch on automation by the end of the phase.  

This week’s highlights

  • Accessibility Testing

Many thanks to Gill for leading the Accessibility ‘hackathon’ on 7/1/2020 and providing us with a draft report in time for our Service Assessment. It was great to be a part of this session as it now means I can confidently repeat this and do more regular checks throughout future developments. The output of the report highlighted 14 issues, six of which were high, five were medium and three were low severities. I am due to review the report with the developers next week and put a plan in place to address it.  

  • Service Standard Assessment

Over the past few weeks, we have been preparing for our service assessment which took place on 9/10/2020. Many thanks to the great panel of assessors which objectively assessed Phase 3 against the 14 GDS service standards. The outcome was not as great as we would have liked, we fully ‘Met’ 7 standards, ‘Partially Met’ 5 standards and Failed 1 standard. We will be reviewing the recommendations and the output will be published shortly.  

  • Application Support

Meeting with our internal support team and putting a plan in place for handover at the end of the month.

  • Implementing a quick win

One of the rent’s team leaders asked if we could display Court and Eviction dates within the caseworker’s worktabs, to save officers from having to click into each case to find this. This feature was released on friday. This provides value to not only the onboarded caseworkers but also other officers.

Challenges

  • Limited resources within the service area to update missing UH data
  • Managing the cycle of timing fixing snags and providing users with enough time to check cases for each classification before the project comes to an end

Next week 

The plan for next week includes; 

  • Continuing to snag Letter 1 and 2 classifications so we can switch on automation
  • User Feedback session on Tuesday 14/01/2019
  • Show and Tell Wednesday 15/01/2019 @3pm 4th Floor HSC

Manage Arrears weeknotes w.c. 9/12/2019

Last week Monday, caseworkers from W02 and W03 started using the Manage Arrears system.

Our initial findings were;

1. Officers like the adapted worktray format and the ability to easily locate cases from their patches.

2. There are cases which are falling into the incorrect classifications e.g. recommending that a Letter 1 should be sent instead of a court warning letter.

Our developers have been taking examples from our users to workout the causes for the miss-matches and are addressing these. Since last week we have;

  • Identified and are now displaying the missing NOSP (Notice of Seeking Possession) cases which will benefit all patches as it not only identifies cases which do not have NOSPs but also those with expired NOSPs. This will be useful for officers during the income blitz.
  • Set-up Automation (it is currently switched off and ready to be switched on when the service area is ready)
  • Fixed a bug with the transaction history/arrears diary
  • Created a simple admin page for managers to obtain information about cases by patch

Learnings

– Co-locating to work from Maurice Bishop House has been really valuable. Staff have an opportunity to see the developers and ask questions.

– The Manage Arrears system is reliant on data with UH being input and uptodate.  It will be useful for us to further explore which fields caseworkers are going into UH to update and make these editable fields within Manage arrears.

Challenges

The impact of missing UH data increases the risk of the wrong letter types being sent to residents. We plan to discuss this with our Product owner on Wednesday as this may have an impact on the roll out.

This week, are continuing to refine the classifications to ensure they are working as they should. We are particularly focusing on;

– Letter 1 and Letter 2 classifications for rent letters

– Identifying and displaying Breached cases

– Next show and tell 19/12/19 

Manage Arrears weeknote: w.c. 2/12/2019

*Phase 3, Sprint 6*

The Manage Arrears project is about creating a simple service for residents and caseworkers that is easy to use and improves arrears management and collection. Phase 3 particularly focus’ on enhancing the system for caseworkers. Our goals for this phase include;

  1. Onboarding the Rents team onto Manage Arrears (using Universal Housing to carry out actions unavailable in Manage Arrears)
  2. Automating Letter 1 and Letter 2 for Rents
  3. Adding the Service Charge LBA template for Leasehold Services
  4. Enabling the Rents team to work in patches

This week, we cleared our diaries to focus on preparing Manage arrears for Rents. We have slightly de-scoped what we originally planned to release on Monday 9th December to allow caseworkers an opportunity to feedback on ‘real’ cases appearing in their worktray. Also because earlier in the week we thought removing certain patches from UH would affect the agreement process (note: we are now confident that this is not the case).  

*Highlights of this week*

1. +Joe Bramwall shadowed a caseworker earlier in the week to time their current workflows/processes. He gained some useful insights. One thing he observed was the personal interactions between the officer and tenant as he watched them contacting a resident before sending a letter 2. This will be lost through automation. The current proposal is to automate this stage from next week but his findings have reinforced the usefulness of remapping the new processes using Manage Arrears. 

2.  Training caseworkers and team leaders from patches W2 and W3 on Thursday. This session was useful as it helped me think about key aspects of the system which will require ongoing support after Made Tech conclude this phase. The types of things which popped up included new action diary types and text amendments to correspondence. I have started to compile a list to make sure our in-house resources learn and/or have documented guidance on how to make simple adjustments like these.  

*Not so cool thing*

During retro, our proxy-product owner pointed out that the service area thought they would be getting more automated SMS nudges sent to residents. This has been missed 🙁 It is not impossible for us to add but it may not be possible for us to include in this phase.

*Next week*

We plan to: 

  1. Work closely to support newly on-boarded caseworkers from W2 and W3
  2. Switch the schedule for the early SMS message back on
  3. Have caseworkers cross-check a few cases due for an automated Letter 2
  4. Switch on automation for letter 2 (Letter 1 will be switched on after the Christmas break, this will involve us removing cases from UH)
  5. Focus on finishing the remaining priorities in the worktray
  6. Continue time tasks so we can make a comparison between the old practices and new

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 25/11/2019

*Phase 3, Sprint 6*

The Manage Arrears project is about creating a simple service for residents and caseworkers that is easy to use and improves arrears management and collection. Phase 3 particularly focus’ on enhancing the system for caseworkers. Our goals for this phase include;

  1. Onboarding the Rents team onto Manage Arrears (using Universal Housing to carry out actions unavailable in Manage Arrears)
  2. Automating Letter 1 and Letter 2 for Rents
  3. Adding the Service Charge LBA template for Leasehold Services
  4. Enabling Rents team to work in patches

This week, we have been getting Manage Arrears ready for the rents team to start using. We are aiming to do this from 9th December 2019, which means our week ahead is due to be both exciting and intense.

*Highlights of this week*

1. The action diary bug has been resolved. Many thanks to +Rashmi for lending us +Selwyn to pair with +El to make the changes to the tenancy API. This will be deployed early next week. 

2. Governance Check lead by Made Tech. Many thanks to +Kyle for running the session, it was a good opportunity having senior stakeholders come together to reflect on the project.

3. +Elaine prepared an excellent paper which included the business metrics and the value of further developing various features/functionalities for phase 4. One example of a saving includes adding additional tenure types like Garages – many of the current steps can be automated which could create a potential efficiency saving of pa £27,579.08. 

4. Talking with +Don and +Shahidul about the great work that their resident sustainability team do to help residents reduce debt and thinking about how Manage Arrears could be extended to support this. One of my next steps is to map the new journey with key stakeholders to help us understand potential areas to incorporate.

5. Re-training Leasehold caseworkers how to send letters using Manage Arrears. I had a quick peek at the breakdown and there are a number of new leasehold users sending letters. Really exciting!!!  

6. W2 and W3 are the rents patches being onboarded. The team were quietly excited about being the chosen ones today! 

Challenges:

The challenge we have next week is having automation fully tested and ready by next Friday. 

Including late but vital changes into the system such as removing steps in the prioritisation process

Next week we will be following our onboarding and engagement plan to;

– Train staff

– Time the team’s current processes ready to compare them against their new flow

– Prepare for automation

– Finish the first part of the prioritisation worktray

– Communicate with the wider organisation like the NCC to give them a heads up about the newly automated communications being switched on

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 11/11/2019

Phase 3, Sprint 5

The Manage Arrears project is about creating a simple service for residents and caseworkers that is easy to use and improves arrears management and collection. Phase 3 particularly focuses on enhancing the system for caseworkers. Our goals for this phase include;

1. Onboarding the Rents team onto Manage Arrears (using Universal Housing to carry out actions unavailable in Manage Arrears)

2. Automating Letter 1 and Letter 2 for Rents

3. Adding the Service Charge LBA template for Leasehold Services

3. Enabling Rents team to work in patches

Last week, was extremely productive. The highlights of the week included;

  • A great estimation affinity session with our stakeholders. It was nice having our Product Owner and stakeholders engaged and involved in the process. The output provided a clear plan of what could be realistically achieved and included in the Business case for the next phase of works.
  • Google Auth went live, without any hiccups.
  • +Ben Pirt, also presented a great technical show and tell on Google Auth to the wider HACKIT team. Now that we have setup Google Auth, we can start separating key features of the Manage Arrears system e.g. separating Rents letters from Leaseholds letters.

Challenges:

We are very close to implementing the automation of Rents letters 1 and 2 through Manage Arrears. We have been looking at what changes need to happen in the legacy system, Universal Housing, to ensure residents do not receive letters from both systems. We are thinking about how can we identify specific cases e.g. secure tenancy for particular patches, so they no longer receive an automated letter without it affecting the team’s current processes. One idea is to rollout automation and the Manage Arrears new worktray simultaneously to caseworkers to overcome temporary workarounds. We will be exploring our options more this week.

The plan for this week

  • Overcome the Action Diary bug by updating the tenancy API
  • Separate Rents letters from Leaseholds letters
  • Continue to setup letter 1 and 2 for Rents
  • Looking into how we might use similar debt assessment techniques used by the Citizen Advice Bureau,  to help officers in their conversations with residents in debt.