- Redesigning the voids process has resulted in void rent loss decreasing by a minimum of £150,000 for the year – a recurring saving
- The new process has enabled the voids budget to be reduced by approximately £100,000 for the year (second year of implementation)
- Waste activity being removed from the process has released capacity to the equivalent of 2.5 FTE with the Neighbourhood Team.
Havebury Housing Partnership (HHP) is a small housing association based in Suffolk, managing over 6,000 properties across the Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill areas. They engaged with us to run a service review of their end-to-end voids and lettings process.
Like all social housing providers, HHP depend on rental income to deliver services and to build new homes. Two key areas through which housing associations lose income are tenants not paying their rent and the housing association not being able to charge rent whilst the property is unoccupied. With alternative funding limited, HHP recognised the need to maximise rental income at every opportunity. They had completed a review of their Voids and Lettings team’s resources and considered performance to be relatively good, but felt there was still scope for improvement. They approached us to conduct an end-to-end review with the aim of identifying and implementing an improved process to reduce the income lost and to better utilise the resource used.
We split the review into three distinct phases:
Key issues uncovered included excess processing caused by overuse of paperwork and unnecessary checks, no set-up to manage the overall process and workload, and the process flow being disrupted by delays where nothing was happening at the property.
We developed an improved process that enabled work to be undertaken outside the void period, removed unnecessary assessments, checks and activity, and removed excess administration. This was coupled with more visual and effective tracking of voids using an Information Centre.
Although IT limitations meant some elements of the new process could not be implemented, such as any-day terminations and tenancy starts, an action plan was developed to implement the process changes and an Information Centre was set up immediately.
The voids review resulted in significant financial benefits, both by increasing income and reducing cost. Additional to this there is now clear ownership of the process, both at a management level and day-to-day operational level. The team felt the introduction of an Information Centre has had the greatest impact, as it has driven people to be more accountable and means voids don’t get ‘lost’ in the process.