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.


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.

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 4/11/2019

Phase 3, Sprint 5

Our Focus

There has been a big drive for us to focus on delivering the Letter Before Action to the Leasehold Services Team this sprint. This epic is taking slightly longer than planned to finish. The Leasehold team will be able to use the MVP shortly. Our developers just need to add the Hackney logo to the letter and the functionality for it to write back to the arrears action diary in UH. This is at the top of our sprint backlog and due to be done imminently.


  • This week we delivered a great show and tell. One of the best so far, as there was a lot of engagement from our stakeholders.
  • Ben and Richard have done a great job getting google auth ready for Manage Arrears. It is due to be launched next week. Because it is such a big change and will directly affect all caseworkers using the Manage Arrears system, we have scheduled this in, so our developers will be onsite and be readily available in case of any problems. There is a lot of value in this functionality as;

1. Rent’s caseworkers will be able to see cases linked to their patches in their worktrays.

2. We can start checking to see if the prioritisation work we have done to date is working as expected with uptodate real cases.

3. We can provide access as mentioned last week to our product owner to test the system.

The proof is in the pudding … so watch this space.

Next week

  • We launch Google Auth
  • We will be having an Estimation Affinity session to help us think about what could potentially be built in the next phase
  • We will be fine-tuning the LBA for caseworkers to start using
  • We will start to set up Letter 1 and Letter 2 for the rents team within the system in preparation for automation

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 28/10/2019

Phase 3, Sprint 4

What have we been doing this week:

This week the team have been focusing on providing Leasehold Services with the ability to download the Letter Before Action (LBA) from the Manage Arrears system. It has been slightly challenging because the current set up with Gov Notify is tightly coupled together with various functions within the system. The team are very close to finishing this task. They have also been working on implementing Google Auth.

Joe Bramwell, our UI/UX expert carried out some research around how Legal caseworkers use UH Documents. We recognise that this is an extremely important feature for caseworkers and if this need can be addressed, it would greatly reduce officers reliance on UH. The purpose of this task was to find out how documents are used by caseworkers so that we can understand how to implement a version of this functionality in the new application for a future phase. Also, to see if there are any opportunity for innovation.

What is planned for next week:

We plan to continue working through our sprint tasks which includes;

1. Generating the LBA letter

2. Building the ‘Timeline’ view

3. Displaying the court date

4. Switching to Google Auth

5. Separating Leasehold Services from Income Collection within the system.

At the end of this sprint, we will look forward to providing our Product Owner with the opportunity to personally use the Manage Arrears product in ‘Patches’, with all of the newly completed features to date and share his feedback on the MVP.  

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 21.10.2019

Phase 3, Sprint 4

Sprint 3 concluded on Thursday and we are now almost half-way through our project. Our focus is on working towards getting Income caseworkers to use the Manage Arrears systems as soon as possible.

Highlights of the week:

  • The team have received positive feedback from our Income Collection (Rents) stakeholders with regards to the product’s progress.
  • +Dermot Deegan, one of Income Collection’s Team leaders, is embracing his role on the project team (Great job, presenting at Show and Tell :))
  • Adding a filter to the system to enable caseworkers to work in Patches.


  • Testing Environments – Our development team are finding testing quite challenging due to none of the test environments being the same. We have a plan to do a time-boxed technical debt spike in Sprint 5 to see if we can find a solution to overcome this problem.
  • Competing priorities – We have two competing priorities for our delivery over the next week. These include enabling the Leasehold Team to use the bulk sending tool to send their Letter Before Action (LBA) and working on the ‘Timeline view’ for the Income Collection caseworkers. The work has been divided up between the team and our morning Standups will be particularly important next week for capturing progress updates to share to key stakeholders.

Next week the team will be working on:

  • Providing Leasehold Services with the ability to download their LBA’s from the Manage Arrears system
  • Adding the ‘Timeline view’ to the system for Income Collection so we can do usability testing with real data
  • Implementing Google Auth
  • Allowing the system to recognise the difference between Leasehold Services and Income Collection (this is part of our roles and permissions workstream)

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 7/10/2019

Phase 3, Sprint 3

The Manage Arrears team is keen to start delivering value as soon as possible. We are making good progress towards achieving Phase three’s objectives.

Highlights of the week:

  • Our Dev Team completed all jira cards within Sprint 2. 🙂
  • Dermot and I had a great sharing session with Islington Council’s Integrated Service Manager and Head of Income Collection. They were intrigued by our Agile project management approach and impressed by the way were are iterating our product to meet users need. It was an insightful meeting that ended with them agreeing to be assessors for Manage Arrears’ next service assessment which is due to take place in late November.
  • Usability testing with the income collection team. Joe and Richard created a really good prototype which will add value to the Manage Arrears worktray before we even complete working on the prioritisation adjustments. The testers liked it and it is so effective and easy to use that even our guests from Islington Council were asking each other ‘Can our system to that!’ Our developers are implementing this sprint.


  • Resolving the view for caseworkers to access transaction and the action diary is proving to be tricky. This is a very important feature for caseworkers and our team want to get it right to encourage and support their usability needs. We are due to deploy the most recent adjustment today.

Next week:

  • The developers will be converting Leasehold Service ‘Letter before action’ into HTML.
  • The developers will be working on integrating the fields from UH into the letter so it can be generated within the Manage Arrears system.
  • Patches are due to be embedded in the system. This is exciting because it moves us closer to getting the income team using the Live system.