Hackney Council

Enhance and expand the Manage Arrears MVP for rent and service charge accounts

5 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 1 large

6 Completed applications

6 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Monday 24 February 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 2 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 9 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Enhance and expand a Beta Service for rent and service charge arrears teams.
Latest start date
Wednesday 1 April 2020
Expected contract length
3-4 months
Organisation the work is for
Hackney Council
Budget range
£200,000 + VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
Manage Arrears is continuously onboarding additional caseworkers from various teams. The architecture of the service needs to be extended to support multiple groups through the further development of additional features to reduce their reliance on legacy systems and provide a better service to residents. Service Charge caseworkers require system parity with what is currently available for Rents. This would include a prioritisation algorithm and processes for automated communication. Rent teams also require additional communications to be automated, the ability to view legacy documents and have a user need to add and edit agreements and other fields that are currently read-only.
Problem to be solved
Manage Arrears is part of the wider programme of work to replace Universal Housing and to create simple, intuitive services that people prefer to use. Hackney seeks to improve its coordination and efficiency in managing arrears across business areas with the aim of reducing overall arrears liability, maximising benefit from its social housing stock. As a council we want to help residents to maximise benefits, access support, and to manage their money.

The vision for Mange Arrears is to create a simple service for residents and Caseworkers that is easy to use and improves arrears management and collection.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Caseworker, I need…

● to understand which tenancies are highest priority so I know how best to allocate my time;
● the latest balance and details of arrears cases so that I can decide what action to take on the case;
● the system to automate low arrears cases so that I can optimise my time;
● the ability to understand a resident’s vulnerabilities so that I can to set up realistic agreements to help them better manage their debts

As a Tenant or Leaseholder, I want…

● effective arrears texts, emails and printed letters so that I understand my options and what is expected of me;
● to be notified as early as possible of my arrears status so that I can take action accordingly.
Early market engagement
Business Case: This link contains details of the full business case and further information for this phase of work.

Service Standard Assessments: Our service has undergone three prior service standard assessments during the early phases. The following links include the key findings and recommendations of each:

Beta Service Standard Assessment (Jan 2020)

Beta Service Standard Assessment (June 2019)

Beta Service Standard assessment (October 2018)

Github: We also code openly and our coding repository can be found on Github.
Any work that’s already been done
Many functions have been delivered in previous phases for use by Rent Arrears and Service Charge teams. We have created a service that can send SMS, letters, and emails through Gov Notify. Letters can also be downloaded and printed manually. It includes an algorithm that classifies cases by their required actions. During the latest phase roles, permissions and patches were the additional features implemented. The system uses a micro-service architecture in AWS, accessing data stored in a legacy system (Universal Housing). To-date the system has focused largely on Rent caseworkers features.
Existing team
Head of Service (Product Owner)
Delivery Manager, with extensive knowledge of the Manage Arrears beta service
Business Analyst / Workflow Consultant, with extensive knowledge of existing arrears process and system, as well as the new beta service
Collection team leaders, responsible for managing the rent arrears process
Collection team leaders, responsible for managing the leasehold arrears process
Service Manager, responsible for quality and incident management on the live Beta service
Separate teams building a mobile working solution for Housing Officers, account management service for leaseholders and tenants, repairs booking system and an API platform team.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Initially London Borough of Hackney offices
Working arrangements
The internal team will work with third-party developers and will be onsite at London borough of Hackney Offices for 4 days a week ensuring engagement with subject matter experts and ICT thus building broader interaction with the style of working (eg through show and tells)
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Have experience of working to the GDS service design manual
  • Have built a service that has passed a Government Digital Service standard assessment
  • Combine user research, service design and developer expertise
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Have experience designing services for a wide range of digital skills and confidence
  • Ability to support development of REST APIs to Hackney’s standards
  • Experience of developing design patterns that can be re-used for other services
  • Experience of using analytics and user research to prioritise a backlog of improvements
  • Experience integrating with gov.uk Notify API
  • Experience of containerisation using Heroku / AWS
  • Experience using Github
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Be prepared to share risk and/or reward with the council if the service is attractive to other authorities
  • Provide opportunities for people seeking ways into work in Hackney (eg through an apprentice working on the project)
  • Experience of working with Dynamics 365
  • Have experience working with social housing providers
  • Have experience working with Civica’s Universal Housing product

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Understanding of user needs
  • Quality of the technical solution
  • Clarity of approach
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure, including skills, experiences and relevance of individuals
  • Experience from a similar project
  • Estimated time-frame for the work
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Work openly
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Are you open to .NET and Umbraco?
Manage Arrears uses .NET for one of its APIs and Ruby on Rails for the other. The front end is built in Ruby on Rails.
2. Is there an incumbent supplier?
There is no incumbent supplier.
3. Can you please confirm if there is an incumbent that has already completed the Alpha stage?
Prototyping took place within the earlier Discovery phase. The product is now in Beta. There is no incumbent supplier currently in place.
4. Will the front-end continue to Ruby Rails or are the council open to new platforms?
The front-end will continue to be Ruby Rails for this phase of work.
5. Do you have product backlog items for the Manage Arrears work?
Yes, we do have product backlog items see the link below. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hEIYSMIuiGjH00aEjuELNYkdTzEGAZsC1SjcVOd-2jQ/edit?usp=sharing
6. Do you have a product backlog defined for the existing service?
Yes, we do have a product backlog defined for the existing service.
7. Is the contract deemed to be outside IR35?
We are expecting to appoint a company to achieve an outcome not a set of individuals to perform tasks under direction so IR35 rules are not relevant.