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Council Housing Department Automates Processes in Aareon QL to Enhance Services & Reduce Costs

West Lancashire Borough Council’s Housing Department deploys TaskCentre to automate the management of Universal Credit, monitor data in Aareon QL and communicate with tenants

Orbis Software, a provider of business process automation solutions, is pleased to report that West Lancashire Borough Council’s Housing and Inclusion department is benefitting from better business performance and the ability to develop new projects and services, due to the deployment of TaskCentre, a business process automation software.

As with many councils and housing departments, providing up-to-date, modern services to customers whilst trying to reduce costs and resources has become a major challenge. Much of this revolves around the handling and management of data. A task that, if done manually, can be time-consuming, costly and restrictive.

“As an industry, we have to use service automation if we want to save money and save resources,” explained Craig Round, Project Manager, Services Development Team, West Lancs. “We might not be saving cashable money for some of the things we do but we are releasing the resources to be directed to the right areas. For me that’s going to help organisations and it’s going to help them deliver the key milestones that they need to deliver.”

Using TaskCentre, in conjunction with Aareon QL (a dedicated housing management system), the Council has been able to automate many of its processes, enabling it to resolve certain pain points and explore new projects. Some of the issues and services that it has managed to address with TaskCentre include:

  • Universal Credit – TaskCentre has automated the communication process including SMS, emails and letter generation used for updating records and chasing payment.
  • Asbestos Register – TaskCentre automates access and queries to its Asbestos Register contained within Aareon QL, as well as the distribution of documents and ability to provide an audit trail.
  • Debit Run – TaskCentre monitors Aareon QL and notifies about debit irregularities.
  • Cash Flow – TaskCentre monitors state of cash flow in Aareon QL and emails relevant people about the value of the posting each night.
  • On-Demand Services – TaskCentre automates the processing of SMS and email queries.
  • Surveys – TaskCentre deployed to integrate CRM system with Survey Monkey as well as automate SMS survey campaigns.
  • TaskCentre is also being utilised in current development projects including a tenant self-serve app, HomeFinder service as well as the automation of social media management.

“Rather than spend a lot of money with third parties we want to do everything ourselves as much as we possibly can. TaskCentre allows us to do that. There’s so much we are going to exploit,” explained Round. “For me it is very easy to use. The drag and drop environment provides all the elements required and it’s a product which flows. Although there is some real complex stuff going into some tasks – Universal Credit for example – it didn’t actually take that long to create. Because of the structure of TaskCentre there is a lot of things that you can replicate – making similar tasks do different jobs.”

With many separate services and systems, such as its HomeFinder service, the introduction of a new CRM system and a host of new applications in the pipeline, the department also required a solution that would be able to integrate everything easily.

“We are moving forward now at a great pace. We’ve got lots of things going on,” said Round. “For our organisation it’s going to free a lot of officer time, but it’s also going to save a lot of expensive integration – reducing the costs that we usually pay to third parties. We are also going to get tailored resources to do what we actually want rather than this product is the only thing available.”

About West Lancashire Borough Council

Based in Skelmersdale, West Lancashire Borough Council’s Housing and Inclusion department is responsible for housing and policy strategy, housing options, estate management/regeneration, rents and money advice, sheltered housing, property management, asset management, caretaking and gardening. West Lancashire is a non-metropolitan district with the status of a borough in Lancashire, England. Its council is based in Ormskirk. The other town in the borough is Skelmersdale. The population of the District taken at the 2011 census was 110,685. The district was formed in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, as a merger of Ormskirk and Skelmersdale and Up Holland urban districts along with part of West Lancashire Rural District and part of the former Wigan Rural District.

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