Havebury Housing Partnership, which owns and manages 6,000 properties in and around Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill, procured IChange Business Solutions to review its current services for both Income Collection and Recovery and its back office Finance service.
Both reviews included understanding the constraints and limitations of the current service offering, including the staff time and administration associated with the collection and processing of the payments. Havebury already had the ability to accept payments through the Post Office and Payzone, as well as the ability to process card payments over the phone and online. It also processed direct debits internally with a limited range of collection days.
Firstly, Havebury was keen to expand its payments offering to allow customers to self-serve, thus reducing the high volume of calls where staff processed the payment over the phone. It also wanted to expand the number of direct debit collection dates and frequencies to mitigate potential risks that could arise from the introduction of Universal Credit.
The second challenge was around financial administration, as the Finance team wanted to better utilise resource as a significant amount of time was being devoted to payment processing. While the income team wanted to offer a wider range of payment services, the current manual administration involved in the processing and reconciliation of payments would have required additional resource in Finance and IT.
Already utilising payment services from multiple providers and limitations with IT, implementing any additional new services such as a Mobile App or touchtone payments would require significant investment as well as the ongoing resource to maintain the services.
As such, Havebury had to consider how it could offer more payment options, without increasing administration within the Income, Finance and IT teams.