Universal Credit represents the biggest challenge ever faced by the social housing sector. Voicescape Ltd, a Salford-based software business that helps landlords build sustainable tenancies, has acquired Collaborative Change, a Lancashire-based behaviour insights consultancy to bring a solution to the market.
Following the acquisition, Voicescape has now become the only company in the UK to offer a sophisticated data analysis system that gives social landlords a clear picture of tenant behaviour during the switch to Universal Credit.
This interactive profiling software helps social landlords monitor and manage Universal Credit risk by predicting future behaviours, quantifying risk and helping drive evidence-based responses. This risk-based approach will allow landlords to pro-actively prioritise those tenants who are most likely to struggle. This means increased protection against debt and a more secure tenancy for the tenant, whilst reducing the cost of collection for the landlord.
Collaborative Change undertook extensive research to build statistical models that generate more robust estimates and predictions of UC impact. The study found that many providers’ own estimates were prone to significant inaccuracy, resulting in business-critical decisions being made on misleading information. The initial study was built through a collaboration with five registered social landlords from around the UK who collectively had 48,000 tenants and 1.3 million rent transactions. The analysis revealed an £60k-£130k increase in arrears per thousand tenants. And these figures are predicted to increase dramatically in the next three years. The research was used as the foundation for a range of diagnostic tools and the full UC Real software application, with a total of 10 landlords signing up with the first 6 months.
John Doyle, Managing Director and Founder at Voicescape said: “Universal Credit has changed the landscape for all social landlords and thrown up a host of new operational and logistical challenges for the sector. As social landlords don’t get the rent from their tenants paid to them automatically, and the onus is now on the tenant to pay it themselves, collecting the rent can be more of a challenge. Collaborative Change has developed a rigorous approach to evidence and data science which complements our existing technology. We can now optimise existing products for our current and future clients, but more importantly allow us to plug a significant gap in the social hosing sector through the development of a range of evidence-based tools based on predictive analytics.”
Behavioural Insight Specialist and co-founder of Collaborative Change, Steven Johnson, said: The impact of the roll out of Universal Credit on social housing providers and the balances of their tenants cannot be underestimated. Our technology can help to manage this situation and minimise the financial risk to the organisation. It’s fantastic to join forces with Voicescape to offer what is essentially a ‘plug and play’ software service offering real time risk analysis to social landlords that face new challenges of collecting rent due to the introduction of Universal Credit. Housing providers are typically only 9% of the way through the number of Universal Credit claimants they will have to deal with between now and March 2022, so this is an enormous challenge we’re trying to help tackle.”
For more information on Voicescape’s innovative software solutions for the social housing sector visit www.voicescape.co.uk or call 0161 259 1122