Policy in Practice’s analysis estimates that the average hit faced by low income households, on top of existing pressures they already face, will be over £40 per week by 2020. More households are now ‘can’t pay’s rather than ‘won’t pay’s.
Income collection teams have a responsibility to help both their clients and their customers, both of whom are feeling the pinch. As an ethical enforcement agency, Phoenix recognises that they can support people by helping them to better understand their financial position and find ways to increase income and lower expenditure, prior to enforcement action.
Using Policy in Practice’s Benefit and Budgeting Calculator they are bringing welfare support together, around the customer. Early results after 4 months are extremely promising.
Listen back to learn how Phoenix has achieved:
- 12% improvement in early engagement rates
- 7% improvement in answer rates to initial outbound calls
- 14% increase in early stage payment arrangements
- 37% reduction in payment instalment defaults
- 48% decrease in complaints relating to payment term flexibility and charges
Guest speaker Carole Kenney from Phoenix talked about how they work closely with local authority clients to improve collection processes, intervene early to help those struggling with payments, prevent further charges and reduce collection costs.
View the webinar
We needed to look at people's circumstances before giving more flexible payment arrangements which meant we had to make decisions about what people could afford to pay. It was very difficult for staff to be objective and consistent in their approach, which wasn't very fair for the customer. This also made it difficult for us to explain our reasoning to our clients.
I decided Policy in Practice's Benefit and Budgeting Calculator was something we really needed. It's enabled us to provide a consistent approach to assessing affordability. We've been able to give our customers an online tool which lets them take control of their finances and liaise with us electronically, without the awkwardness or challenge sometimes faced in person.
The differences with this calculator, compared to others on the market, are the income assessment features that give the built in ability to maximise benefits and see the impact of working extra hours. The Universal Credit calendar feature helps us to flex payments based on fluctuating income.