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Virtual arrears surgeries opened

Virtual arrears surgeries opened

To make sure frontline staff working for Adullam Homes in a range of locations including Congleton, Birmingham, Bolton, Bury, Buxton, Denbighshire and Leicester are fully up to date with how to handle arrears, the Association’s Central Rents & Charges Team has introduced virtual surgeries.

In line with a statement made by the National Housing Federation in April which pledged: “No one will be evicted from a housing association home as a result of financial hardship caused by coronavirus”, Adullam adapted its rent escalation process across operations/housing teams, making staff training on the subject more important than ever.

Queries about arrears are often raised with the Central Rents Team and COVID-19 has generated a new business need.

As a result, Income Services Manager Andrew Edwards is offering online surgeries to update existing staff, provide arrears policy training to new staff and to answer questions from anyone.

Teams or individuals request an “appointment” and are then offered a time slot. They can ask for a specific question to be answered, or area to be covered, and they can take part as a mixed group, a team, or on a one-to-one basis, the latter being particularly appropriate for new starters.

Andrew has delivered similar sessions in the past, but mainly by phone; the extended availability and experience of using the latest technology including Microsoft Teams and Zoom throughout the organisation means he can now provide the training more easily and effectively.

Several of the surgeries have already been held and the feedback positive.

Commenting, Andrew said: “As the Service Manager I’m always looking for new ways to deliver training to ensure frontline staff remain up to date and don’t feel they are working in isolation, so going online was an opportunity to develop this further.

“Adullam Homes is a forward-thinking organisation that cares for its staff; these new online sessions are part of that and also help the Central Rents & Charges Team fulfil its remit to deliver arrears training to the Association.”

The virtual surgeries will now be a permanent offering, even after lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions end.

 Image shows pre-COVID-19 face-to-face training.