Automated Letter Production and System Updating of Housing Benefit Suspension and Cancellation letters

 

The Client

Our client is one of the UK’s leading providers of social housing in the North West providing homes for 20,000 people in 14,000 homes with an annual turnover of £61,000,000.

Their business focus is to develop a superior organisation by building on existing strengths to provide high quality community services and continued investment in their local area.

Business Requirements

High quality communication to residents is a key business requirement and the client has identified that written communication plays a significant role in effective income recovery particularly with regard to the in house printing and mailing of Housing Benefit Suspension and Cancellation letters.

The current practice was extremely time consuming and very labour intensive and involved manually reading the local Council weekly report so they could identify housing benefit suspension and cancellations. This process took around 32 hours each week and prevented key colleagues from focussing on their primary roles.

Once the report had been read letters were manually created (suspension or cancellation letters), printed, collated, enclosed and franked. Once this was completed their MIS had to be manually updated to reflect the HB status.

This was painfully slow and costly in terms of lost productivity and income recovery actions.

The GPS Solution

Following careful discussions our client selected GPS to provide an automated solution. The main challenge was to write bespoke programming to enable automated recognition of HB suspension and cancellation letters from their supplied pdf document, to then automate the output of various letter types and mail them.

Additionally GPS were required to strip out specific data fields from the output letters and securely send them via secure file transfer protocol (sftp) in a unique xml format so the client could automate the updating of the housing management system to identify which letters had been sent and to whom.

The solution was achieved by working in conjunction with the clients IT services team to ensure installation of the required sftp clients and the Clarity Mail print driver on network servers to enable them to mail the letters.

Client Benefits

The client now has an automated process in place to process weekly files and output letters and mail them with no manual intervention. The client has identified the following key benefits following migration to an out-sourced print and mail service.

Brand consistency – all documents submitted have total consistency of material and print quality.

Staff time – the current process saves an estimated 32 colleague hours every week. The client has gained 1,664 hours that can now be devoted to improving income recovery.

Cost benefits – the GPS solution provides a faster, more economical automated solution that requires no manual input. Letters are printed and mailed at less than 50% of the cost of internal letter production and much more quickly too whilst providing the client with fully updated records of all letters mailed.

A previously tedious, time consuming, labour intensive process is now fully automated and vastly improved with an estimated internal cost saving of £18,000 per annum.