Affinity Sutton, a social housing provider with over 50,000 units across the UK, uses Civica's Inhouse housing management system.

The group deal with multiple local authorities and with over 35,000 tenants on housing benefit, maintaining up to date details of tenant entitlement (and accurately estimating net arrears) was proving a bit of a headache. What they needed was a way of somehow estimating housing benefit so that the existing HB entitlement screens, rs12, would more accurately show entitlement details and allow them to better judge true tenant arrears.

The solution was a program, written by us, which would estimate current entititlement based on HB payment trends. The program then updates the recorded entitlement details and produces various reconciliation reports (Excel output) to detail what has been done.

The logic involved is fairly complex, but in essence it involves looking at the last 2 HB payments and trying to judge whether benefit has changed (logic for payment vs adjustment is included, and factors like comparison to rent levels etc are taken into account). The exact logic was devised in conjunction with the head of Income and Arrears, and fine tuned over several iterations.

The process now runs weekly to re-adjust HB owing and the arrears team spot check the assessment cases reported on by the program.

The program has been live since December 2011 and has helped to reduce the workload of the arrears teams in their maintenance of entitlement details.

The program has definitely had a positive impact on the efficiency of the service we provide.

Linda Hunt, Head of Income and Arrears Affinity Sutton