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Partick Housing Association Improves Efficiency and Services via TaskCentre Automation

TaskCentre extends the capabilities of Aareon QL and reduces waiting list from 4500 people to under 400 active applications within a year

Orbis Software today announced that Partick Housing Association, an innovative Scottish social housing provider based in the West End of Glasgow, has automated a wide-range of business processes and extended the capabilities of its housing management system (Aareon QL) as a result of deploying TaskCentre.

“TaskCentre changes the way that we work across the business as a whole,” explained Elaine Lewty, ICT Manager, Partick Housing Association. “It takes pressure off the IT team, puts more information into the business and improves staff processes. I’m surprised that we managed without it for so long.”

Partick Housing Association has been using Aareon QL since 2007 to manage all the key processes that a modern housing organisation requires. However, to further improve efficiency and its service, the Association realised it needed to automate a number of processes.

“We knew we wanted to introduce some form of automation in order to replace time-consuming data checking and generally work more efficiently. Instead of manually performing tasks we now look to TaskCentre to see if we make our processes smarter,” explained Elaine Lewty.

“TaskCentre is always in the background monitoring what is going on. It takes that onus away from the staff. With TaskCentre in place, we’re not relying on someone to manually check the system. It has saved a massive amount of time and means we can be proactive instead of reacting to things that happen after the event.”

TaskCentre is being used to automate a wide-range of financial management processes ranging from Direct Debit reviews to rent arrears.

“We perform a routine Direct Debit review and use TaskCentre to query the database and notify us if a tenant needs to adjust their payment,” explained Elaine Lewty. “Likewise with Arrears Reviews. TaskCentre is set up to automatically send a tenant a letter or SMS if they are over £250 or £500 in arrears. If the amount is more than this, it will notify us to do take appropriate action.”

Partick Housing Association uses a third party company, Impact, to take and manage payments. In order to make the transfer of data secure and as smooth as possible, it uses the Secure FTP function of TaskCentre to automatically send through the details of tenants, payments, balances, etc.

“We also use TaskCentre to look for duplicate housing benefit references. Data checking is extremely important and one of the main processes that we have automated,” explained Elaine Lewty.

“Probably the biggest task we addressed was managing and reviewing our house waiting list. Initially we had something like 4500 people on our waiting list and it used to take two of our staff two days a month to go through the list, cross-reference applications and issue letters. That is now handled by TaskCentre via SSRS Reporting. Since we’ve been doing this, our waiting list has been reduced from 4500 people to 393 active applications.”

Partick Housing Association has also applied TaskCentre to monitor the database regarding the implementation of annual rent increases.

“During the previous year we must have spent about two days going through the information, querying the database and then going back to find it. Whereas now it’s set up as an automated data check. If something is not right it’s identified and fixed,” said Elaine Lewty.

Effective communication with contractors and tenants is another important aspect of Partick Housing Association’s work. Repairs appointments, gas boiler servicing, existence of asbestos etc. etc. all need to be communicated.

TaskCentre has been set up to generate and distribute a letter or SMS for when a gas check is due, along with a date and time that an engineer will visit. To date, this has completely eradicated the need for the Association to carry out forced entries.

“Another thing we use if for is logging and managing anti-social behaviour and complaints. It’s about making sure the process is running as it should,” said Elaine Lewty.

About Partick Housing Association

Partick Housing Association is a leading, innovative, Scottish social housing provider, based in the West End of Glasgow. It was founded in 1975 by a community tenants’ association and local community group, Partick Society, to tackle sub-standard housing in the area. Partick Housing Association is proud of its role in saving tenements from demolition and remodelling commercial and public buildings to create more local housing and new businesses to sustain a diverse and cohesive community. It is an active developer of new homes for social and mid-market rent, shared equity and shared ownership. It works in partnership with other housing providers, statutory bodies, community agencies and contractors to provide new homes, sustain tenancies and support economic and social regeneration.

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