Case Study

Case Study | MRI Housing Jigsaw: Blaby District Council

Blaby District Council began using the MRI Housing Jigsaw Homelessness solution to help them manage their legal responsibilities following the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) coming into force in April 2018. Following this, Blaby implemented the free ALERT Duty to Refer module, as well as our flexible Housing Register and Allocation service. They now support around 800 applicants through the Register and manage on average, 160 active homeless cases.

Blaby’s Housing Options Service is divided into a Triage Team and a Homeless Team. The Triage team use MRI Social Housing’s Allocation system to advertise available properties from their registered providers. Both teams use MRI’s Homelessness Reduction module; the Triage Team to do initial assessments of homeless applications and once assessed as having a homelessness need, these cases are passed through to the Homeless Team who will then do a full assessment. MRI’s Duty to Refer ALERT module is also used by the Homeless team to process any referrals received.

David Meany, Homelessness and Housing Systems Team Leader at Blaby District Council explains why they opted for the Housing Jigsaw solution:

“We wanted a system that would be an all-in-one solution, allowing us to administer the HRA compliantly with an integrated Housing Register and Duty to Refer module, all within the same place. The reliability is the major difference to both us and our applicants. The suite of letters is of better quality and the in-built checklists allow us to be confident in our decision making.”

Homelessness Reduction

The Homelessness Reduction module contains key legislation and guidance, incorporated into the solution in order to ensure that Housing Options teams remain compliant with the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA). David explains how this impacts his team’s processes:

“The step-by-step process of MRI’s Homelessness Reduction solution has allowed us to stay compliant within the HRA. The use of flowcharts, charting where the customer is in the process and the decision checklists allows us to make sure correct decisions have been made. It’s also very useful having prompts to ensure the correct letters are issued and mandatory Government H-CLIC sections are completed.”

Housing Register, Advertise and Allocations

The Housing Register and Allocation modules work together and have been developed to ensure that the right people are housed in the right properties. For David and his team:

“The Housing Register allows us to fully assess a person’s housing and bedroom need. This data is then used to allow the customer to bid on the appropriate properties for their requirements. The system allows us to advertise properties to the right people with the use of the labels feature and this ensures the right people will bid on the right property. The use of the supplementary questions feature has saved us a significant amount of time.”

Customer Portal

The Housing Jigsaw suite also includes a customer portal, which allows customers to access their Personalised Housing Plan online, make amendments, attach documents and send notifications to their housing officer. David and his team have found that:

“The portal allows the customer to login and access all aspects of their account. It is a more interactive experience for the customer than we previously had. The use of uploads allows for a much quicker process than for example, a customer sending in a copy of a document by post.”

“The instant uploading of documents and letters to be immediately viewable to ourselves or the applicant,” is one of the key features for David and his team. Alongside this,“The fact that it is one system, one log on and the system is very reliable and responsive. It keeps us compliant and is constantly being updated. User friendly dashboard charts and widgets also allow us to see at a glance what our current statuses are.”

All Housing Jigsaw modules sit under one umbrella, which means that Blaby District Council can ensure a fully joined-up process for housing and homelessness cases. David explains the benefits:

“Housing Jigsaw has provided us with an all-in-one system, which allows us to administer our housing register, advertise properties and carry out our duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act compliantly. The system is user-friendly and has improved our back-office processes.”

The system ensures that processes within Blaby’s Housing Options Service are streamlined, with David going so far as to say that, “We have no doubt that there have been time and costs savings made.”

Implementation and Support

Alongside the intuitive, interactive and user-friendly software modules that make up Housing Jigsaw, a tailored implementation and support period accompanies the system. David describes Blaby’s experience:

“The implementation went very well; it was well structured, and we had weekly meetings mainly via phone conference, but with occasional face-to-face meetings, which allowed us to have constructive discussions and make positive progress on any issues identified.”

Beyond implementation, MRI Social Housing are on-hand to support with use of the software:

“The regular releases are positive and generally are an improvement on the system. The customer relationship is good as there is regular communication between us and MRI. We would recommend Housing Jigsaw, as the system is compliant, reliable and user-friendly.  The overall service is good and we can see it is a constantly improving system.”

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