Manage Arrears: Weeknotes w.c. 19/8/2019

This week we welcomed +Lia Tarar to our team, by inviting her along to our RAG (Red, Amber and Green) rating and priority scoring workshop. Lia is a Junior Developer, with Ruby skills and is a lovely addition to the team.

The outcome of the RAG rating and priority scoring workshop was interesting. The aim of the session was to show the product owner and the rents team how the different aspects of the scoring fitted with the RAG and the message flow. We found that our Product Owner would like Red cases to reflect top priorities P1s. Amber cases to reflect P2s. And the Green cases to remain as they are which is to reflect lower arrears cases which will generally be handled through automation. The outcome was interesting because this approach simplifies the existing rules for Red and Amber cases in the system.

This week, we also user-tested, the improved case details layout designs with the Income Collection team. Testers generally shared the same comments. Based on their feedback we have a clear idea of how features can be adjusted to increase the usability of the system. We plan to amalgamate the preferences into one design which will be shared with our UX/UI consultants and the developers joining in September.

Next week we will be:

  1. Collating the User testing, case details layout designs feedback.
  2. Updating the message flow based on the workshop feedback and preparing the automation stories in the backlog.
  3. Continuing to find solutions to the Hackney API/ Hackney action diary bug.

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 12/8/2019

This week has been a positive and productive week, for Manage Arrears. We have;

*Shortlisted Digitalmarket place bidders, and reviewed their proposals for Phase three. The outcome will be published shortly.

*+Trish Hadden shared some positive feedback relating to service charge arrears. Last month the team saw a huge reduction, approximately by 10%, in their arrears which is a result of their arrears letters being sent. Contributing factors from our project include;

  • The improved content redesign of the letters
  • The improved accuracy which comes from the bulk sending feature providing the ability to provide and send accurate and timely information.

*Many thanks to +Cate McLaurin for assisting with discussions around the Letter before action (LBA) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) conversations. The Letter before action is a 14 paged letter sent to Lessee has part of the Service Charge escalation policy. We are investigating the possibility of an alternative solution to enclosing paper forms. Which will determine how these letters will be handled e.g. via Gov Notify.

*Also many thanks to +Carolina Gaspari for providing +Elaine Geeves and I with advice and guidance on UI and UX design. We learnt a lot. Particularly relating to simple tips about making use of lines and space and grouping text. We have since adjusted the layout of our wireframes to reflect the advice. Our Product owner was shown the example of these and he is in full support of us user testing these with his team next week.

Next week we will be:

  1. User testing case details layout designs with the Income Collection team
  2. Working to resolve the Hackney API/ Hackney action diary bug.
  3. Continuing to finalise LBA stories.

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 5/8/2019

This week +Elaine Geeves and I aligned the new Manage Arrears prioritisation scoring adjustments up with the Manage Arrears Message Flow which will be used to automate communications and the RAG which categorises the cases. We will be sharing this with the wider income collection team shortly, to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of how the three fit together. Many thanks to +Elaine Geeves we needed this!

The important cases with high priorities will be correctly positioned and no cases will fall through the gaps. The good thing that came out of this exercise was that no major changes are required to make the three elements work together.

We also shortlisted the Digital marketplace applicants for Phase 3’s business case this week and last week we said thanked and goodbye to +Guy Whitfield, the Senior Delivery Manager on our project.

What’s Next… 

As mentioned in the previous week notes, the business case for Phase 3 includes a few key workstreams. Our focus for next week will be finalising the finer details in the two areas below:

1. Letter Before Action

2. Case Details Layout

Letter Before Action (Leasehold Services Team’s arrears letter)

Amending the ‘Letter before action’ and adding it into the system will benefit both the Lessees and caseworkers. We will be meeting with Team leads to discuss options and agree its format for the next phase.

Case Details Layout

We will be working on prototypes to capture the layout improvements in the backlog with the aim to obtain feedback from the users in the following week. The outcomes of both will be attached to existing cards in our backlog helping to ensure they are clear and stories are ready for the new team for Phase 3 join.

Licensing a Rented Property: Weeknotes w.c. 22/7/2019

Project: Property Licencing Software Metastreet

The property licencing software, Metastreet, has been in place for almost one year now. It is providing Agents and Landlords with a way to complete online property licencing applications and a way for back-office staff process these.


Recently, we have experienced a few challenges with progressing some of our development features/bugs and there have been a few deployments concerns. To address these Metastreet has agreed to provide release notes for each deployment and assured us that they are reviewing and testing their coding before releases.

To help ensure our bugs/features are being prioritised correctly, over the past few weeks, we have been working with the PSH team to review and update our Metastreet’s roadmap. This week +Guy Whitfield ran a well-received workshop with the PSH team which mapped the process before Metastreet was introduced, and the new existing process post- Metastreet. It encouraged the team to see the differences and shared their Likes, Lacked, Learnings and Longings.

It highlighted, that although the Metastreet software enables applicants to apply and pay for a private sector licence and for the team to issue licences, there are a number of workarounds that officers are doing to make the system’s workflow work well for them. These gaps will feed into the roadmap which we plan to follow-up with the Metastreet providers.

What’s New….

In addition to the above we now have a local government Metastreet user group. The first official meeting is on 5th August 2019 and involves Islington, Waltham Forest, Haringey and Slough. The aim is to share and identify common challenges to help build a better service.

Next week, Metastreet are due to release a new major enhancement will allow officers to issue invoices and refunds. It will make the reconciliation process a lot more easier for the team as Metastreet’s report should match Stripe’s output.

Manage Arrears Weeknotes: w.c. 8/7/2019

This week has been quiet for Manage Arrears.

The Leasehold team continue to use the bulk sending tool. They run another batch of letters this week. No bugs or concerns were reported or highlighted during the runs. It is rewarding to see the snags settling, the team independently using the system and less support required to process letters.

Over 1000 service charge letters, with a value of over £1,000,000, were put through the system in 3 minutes!!!! Of the 1000 letters, only 4 failed to meet Gov Notifies validations and were manually printed and posted. We already have a task in our backlog to rectify this, by moving the address lines up slightly.

The Income Collection team were shown how to set up templates within Gov Notify so they can make use of Gov Notify for SMS rent campaigns. Feedback was that it is easy to use.

Next week: We plan to investigate how entries recorded in the arrears action diary via the APIs effect Universal Housing.