Arrears Officer - Tower Hamlets Council
To manage a portfolio and proactively prevent and collect rent, service charges, non-residential and sundry debts from current and former tenants, providing monthly performance reports to the Team Leader. Identify residents with vulnerabilities whilst using discretion to ensure that enforcement action is balanced with expert advice and support.
To maximise all revenue streams to improve collection rates and minimise the levels of debt. To monitor the arrears cases and ensure that prompt action is taken, meet deadlines, including liaison with tenants, advice/support agencies and benefits. Instigate legal proceedings and represent THH at county court.
To work closely and flexibly with all staff in Rents, Neighbourhoods and Finance. To provide an excellent level of customer service, use innovation to reduce arrears and deliver improvements for tenants and license holders.
To actively promote to tenants the range of payment methods available. To identify vulnerability needs and facilitate tenants’ access to the relevant third sector support services, using tact, persuasion and sensitivity to ensure where possible tenancy sustainment.
To provide expert advice and information to tenants in respect of interventions for reducing and preventing arrears and welfare benefit entitlements. Handle incoming calls whilst completing escalation and other tasks.
To identify initiatives to continuously improve the service. Sharing knowledge and providing feedback to Team leaders and tenants.
To participate in the delivery of the team action plans and update these on a regular basis. To take appropriate action to ensure that targets are met. To suggest, develop and implement new practices that improve the service.
To represent THH at rent surgeries, consultation meetings, case conferences, home visits or any other meetings concerning complex rent and benefit matters. These may be during office hours, evenings and Saturdays.
To take an active role as a Neighbourhood friend and provide monthly updates on work carried out as a virtual friend.
To take responsibility and a pro-active approach to own professional development.
To take responsibility for providing quality information to tenants and staff including responses on complaints. Tailoring communications and creating innovative solutions for tenants ensuring tenancy sustainment.
To prepare and submit applications to the County Court and to produce witness statements, whilst adhering to the pre-action protocol to seek and enforce judgement. Attend Court to represent THH as necessary.
To co-ordinate, manage and attend evictions, possession and stay hearings. To ensure attendance of relevant internal/external agencies Inc. Police, locksmiths, bailiffs, etc. Ultimately attempting to prevent significant financial loss whilst protecting the reputation of THH.
To effectively manage duties by prioritising, organising and planning in order to meet deadlines and targets.
Carry out other reasonable ad hoc duties to support the Directorate which are commensurate with the expectation of the post as directed by the line manager or the Head of Service.
Education and Experience
- Experience of undertaking frontline rent accounts activities.
- Experience of working in a challenging collections environment.
- Experience of working in a performance driven environment.
- Experience of making applications and issuing proceedings in the County Court.
- Experience of representing an organisation during legal proceedings.
- Experience of working in customer-focused organisations.
- Experience of working with residents to improve services.
- Experience of using IT including Microsoft Office® products, particularly Word, Excel, Outlook, BOXI Northgate and Comino
- Experience of Housing Management.
A good standard of education, at least 5 GCSE’s (grade A - C).
- Knowledge of a range of debt enforcement legislation/ & good practice as well as income recovery techniques suitable for different tenancies in accordance with legislation.
- An understanding of the welfare and benefits system
- Knowledge of advising on debt and/or organisations that can assist individuals in debt.