Full Rent Accounting module launched by Locata

Locata will be launching a full Rent Account module in November, giving officers a single integrated system for the step-by-step management for rent accounting.

The system is being built to work alongside Coventry’s new Locata Choice Based Lettings system and is expected to be live by early November.

The system integrates with our various Locata Pro housing modules, working across a common database and interfaces smoothly with Housing Management Systems and online form processors.

The new module has been eagerly anticipated by many Locata customers and is expected to be rolled out to several housing schemes before the New Year.

Features include:

  • Integration with Finance and Housing Benefit Systems
  • Global rents set up
  • Arrears handling
  • Automated rent statements
  • Loans
  • Reconciliations

The system makes extensive use of automated, staff programmable tasks and questions and workflow processing.

This approach to rent accounting ensures all reminders, alerts and targets can be delivered, with the ability to process account payments, credits and debits alongside arrears management and invoicing.


Proof of ID & Validation

Locata has also launched a new enhancement to its letting systems processes that allow housing officers to verify identity documents quickly and accurately.

We are working with our partner Trust ID to allow fast and accurate checks of driving licenses, identity cards, passports and visas.


The Proof of ID & Validation process allows officers to check the customers ID at point of offer.

This can be done by checking it as “pre-verified” or passing it to Trust ID for validation in real time to check the ID is valid.

Now that we have uploaded Proofs of ID on the journal, officers can use them in the process. When the “offer” button is clicked a pop up will display asking the officer to select the household member and type of ID.

At the offer point a message will be returned saying that the Photo ID was submitted from the journal and was either valid or not.

The officer that submits the request for the proof checks is also sent an email to indicate if the check was successful or not.

If it was valid the officer can continue with the offer. There is a “show details” button which allows a detailed report to be viewed or if “view” is clicked, an image of the ID will appear.


You can find out more about how the enhancement works on our Help Site, which you can view by clicking here.

Alternatively, contact Locata directly and we will be happy to tell you more about this or any of our new modules. Email info@locata.org.uk

NHC welcomes the GEM Programme to work with members

At the NHC, we are acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities for the North of England – in particular, the opportunities presented by the Levelling Up agenda and decarbonisation of housing stock. It is essential that the North’s communities and economy can thrive, with everyone having access to good quality housing and the skills they need to take advantage of employment opportunities. We will need the next generation of housing professionals to implement the changes that will continue to improve our built environment for all, and part of that will be helping to visualise the cities of the future. We’ve seen rapid changes to our towns and cities – changes only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic – so this is a timely opportunity for people with a future in the housing sector to learn and understand more about what lies ahead for the places they live, work and socialise.

As a result, we recently held a conference for the GEM Programme on the 20th of September surrounding how the GEMs can make 15-minute communities within our member areas of Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Sunderland, Birghouse and Castleford. The GEMs will now be working on this project in collaboration with our members from these areas and will present their recommendations on the 4th of November as part of the morning sessions of our flagship event- The Northern Housing Summit. In the meantime, we are incredibly excited to see the progress GEMs make in figuring out how to revolutionise our northern towns and cities.

Book your place at the NHC Northern Housing Summit here.

‘No place left behind’ report sets out levelling-up plan

The Commission on Prosperity and Community Placemaking published its final report last week, setting out a plan for levelling-up at neighbourhood level. The Commission, convened by the influential Create Streets Foundation, called for investment in the physical and social fabric of left-behind places.

Chaired by Toby Lloyd, former special advisor to Prime Minister, Theresa May, and supported by NHC members Karbon Homes, Livin and RBH, the Commission called for a new Community Right to Buy giving communities the power to buy empty or derelict buildings, and for dedicated ‘improvement districts’ to reinvent town centres and residential neighbourhoods – all backed up by a £2bn Community Wealth Fund to support the most left behind places to develop their own solutions.

The Commission also called for ‘urgent action’ to kickstart the retrofit of homes in left-behind places. Noting that The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, the Confederation of British Industry, the National Housing Federation and the Northern Housing Consortium, have all called on the Government to bring forward the £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund at the next Spending Review, so that it can be used to build retrofitting skills, capacity and supply chains. This will then underpin decarbonisation of the nation’s housing stock across all tenures, delivering cost savings at scale.’ The Commission recommended that the £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is launched immediately.

Local Government capacity was also considered by the Commission. Noting NHC evidence on the disproportionate reductions in local government housing capacity in the North since 2010/11, the Commission called for Government to ‘guarantee local authorities in left behind places ten years of core revenue funding certainty’.

Commenting, NHC Executive Director for Policy and Public Affairs, Brian Robson, said:

“With the Spending Review due next month, this influential report couldn’t have launched at a better time. We’re delighted to see the Commission pick up on NHC evidence, and warmly endorse their recommendations on retrofit and local authority revenue funding.”

Paul Fiddaman, Commissioner, Chief Executive of Karbon Homes and Chair of the Northern Housing Consortium said:

“We want to see greater investment in communities that have been left behind for far too long, with residents at the heart of a new programme of regeneration designed to transform these areas into thriving neighbourhoods. The decarbonisation agenda, in particular, brings an opportunity to not only improve the quality and energy efficiency of homes in these neighbourhoods but also to bring new skills and job opportunities to people living there.”

Gareth Swarbrick, Commissioner and CEO of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing said:

“I’m delighted to have been part of the Commission and to help shape the recommendations in this report. We have seen as a mutual housing society that some of the most meaningful and lasting changes are those led by communities themselves – and there are some great examples of this within the report. That’s why we need long-term, flexible regeneration funding to support those communities understanding that what works best might be different in every neighbourhood.”

The Commission’s report can be downloaded here.

Reshuffle: Who’s in and who’s out of Boris Johnson’s housing team?

The rumoured reshuffle came to fruition this month, with Boris Johnson looking to “unite and level up the whole country” starting with a shake-up of his top team. This has also included a rebranding of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to showcase the Government’s commitment to the levelling up mission in the department’s title.

Enter the new Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities…

Michael Gove MP has replaced Robert Jenrick MP as Secretary of State, inheriting a range of housing policy issues to address including building safety, renters’ reform, net zero homes, planning reform, and local government capacity. Gove and the new Department will also take on the new responsibility to deliver the levelling up agenda, potentially signifying a ramping-up of activity around the concept. On appointment, Gove said his team will focus on “delivering for those overlooked families and undervalued communities across the United Kingdom”.

Gove has never held the housing brief since entering the Cabinet in 2010, but he was Shadow Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government between 2005 and 2007 and during his bid for the Conservative leadership in 2016 Gove said:

“We need a national ambition to build hundreds of thousands of new homes a year, both private and socially-rented – led by someone who will not take no for an answer and who will push for diggers in the ground and homes for all come what may.”

The NHC will be looking out for what these ambitions will mean for the North as Gove develops his approach.

Neil O’Brien MP will also be focussing on the levelling up agenda as he becomes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. O’Brien was previously Boris Johnson’s levelling up adviser and worked on the development of the Northern Powerhouse strategy as an adviser to George Osborne. He authored a report about levelling up last year, published by think tank Onward, in which he argues for an end to the 80:20 rule and a rebalancing of Affordable Homes Programme investment.

Yorkshire-born Andy Haldane, former Bank of England chief economist, has been appointed as head of the Government’s new levelling up taskforce. He takes up the role as a six-month secondment from his position as Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Arts. Haldane has said he looks forward to helping the Government “design and deliver an economy that works for every part of the UK”. He will report jointly to Gove and Johnson.

The levelling up white paper is expected to be published this Autumn to articulate the Government’s plans.

Kemi Badenoch MP has also joined the Department as Minister of State from her previous role as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. Badenoch also remains Minister for Equalities at the Foreign Office.

Danny Kruger MP has announced on Twitter that he has been appointed as Gove’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, this is yet to be confirmed by the Department at the time of writing. Kruger led a government-commissioned review of civil society last year as a response to the “volunteering and community spirit” seen during the first lockdown of the pandemic.

Christopher Pincher MP (Minister of State for Housing), Eddie Hughes MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing and Rough Sleeping) and Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State) all remain in their posts in the newly named department. Luke Hall MP, previously Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government at MHCLG, has returned to the backbenches.

Over at BEIS where the responsibilities for energy efficiency, clean heat and fuel poverty lie, Kwasi Kwarteng MP remains Secretary of State, and Lord Callanan (Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility), who attended a roundtable with some NHC members recently, also remains in post. Berwick-upon-Tweed MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been moved from her role at BEIS to become Secretary of State for International Trade. Greg Hands MP, previously Minister of State for Trade Policy, has taken up Trevelyan’s role at BEIS.

Another Northern MP involved in the reshuffle is Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, who has been appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Clarke was previously a Minister at MHCLG before his resignation in September 2020. Clarke is also a former Vice Chair of the APPG for Housing in the North (2017-2019) of which the NHC acts as Secretariat.

The NHC will be watching the new Department closely to see how they bring together housing in the North with the levelling up agenda – we have already reached out to the new team to arrange to discuss our members’ priorities with them. We will keep you updated with our engagement.

Members can hear directly from both Kwasi Kwarteng MP and Eddie Hughes MP at the Northern Housing Summit 2021 in November.

You can see the full ministerial list across government departments here.

Northern Housing Consortium Heads to Milan (Online) for Pre-COP26 Event

The Northern Housing Consortium will head to Milan this week, albeit virtually, to showcase the Social Housing Tenants’ Jury at All4Climate – Italy 2021.

The series of events forms part of Italy’s work in their role as joint-Presidents of COP26, the United Nations climate summit taking place in Glasgow this November. Convened by the Italian Ministry for Ecological Transition, All4Climate aims to bring together climate champions around the world to foster proactive dialogue on the challenges of the climate crisis and deliver on the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

As part of the official program of roundtables, the NHC and partners involved in the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury will hold a meeting offering a first look at the project which placed tenants at the centre of answering the question “how can tenants’, landlords, and others work together to tackle climate change in our homes and neighbourhoods”.

Over the last ten weeks the Jury, a collection of 30 residents reflecting the diversity of the social housing sector, have heard from experts and discussed together a broad range of climate and retrofit issues to produce a series of recommendations to the sector. It is anticipated that these recommendations will put forward tenant views on renewable heating technology, the cost of retrofit and managing disruption, education and communication, and tackling climate change at a neighbourhood level.

Given All4Climate’s focus on young people and driving ambition, younger members of the Jury will join attendees to discuss their experience of the project. All are welcome to join the conversation and we hope the session will be of interest to both officers and residents looking to better understand how we can bring together the climate and tenant engagement agendas.

To complete the session, like-minded organisations will join those from the Jury project to discuss their work empowering young people to have their voice heard in their local areas. Increasing the agency of young people to tackle inequality, address the climate crisis, and build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.

The event is free to attend and you an register your attendance here:


More information on the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury, including recordings of presentations given by expert commentators, can be found here:


All4Climate – Italy 2021 is convened by the Italian Ministry for Ecological Transition in collaboration with the World Bank Group’s Connect4Climate and with the participation of the Lombardy Region and the Municipality of Milan. All4Climate aims to foster proactive dialogue on the challenges of the climate crisis and deliver on the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

More information on All4Climate can be found here:




Tackling and Preventing Homelessness – The role of the sector

By Molly Bishop, Strategic Lead for Homelessness, GMCA

As perfect storms go, we are in the middle of a pretty big one when it comes to tackling homelessness. The compound impacts of lifting protective COVID-19 policies relating to furlough, Universal Credit and Local Housing Allowance, deepening of Local Authorities’ lucky-dip bidding relationship with Central Government, and dare I say it, Brexit, are staking up against low-income households maintaining the essentials of a healthy life with a safe and suitable place to call home.

It is at this pivotal moment that the report of the Sir Bob Kerslake Commission on ‘Everyone In’ lands. It asks what went well through the COVID-19 response to rough sleeping and what we need to next to take the next steps towards ending it. The recommendations are well considered and necessarily broad ranging. They are aimed at Central and Local Government, as well as the wider Homelessness Sector, Housing and Health Providers. It poses big questions for the coming Comprehensive Spending Review and the numerous public service transformations taking place, not least the creation on Integrated Care Systems and Reducing Re-offending reforms. We will hear directly from Sir Kerslake on the findings and essential next steps to continue to progress our work to end rough sleeping at the NHC Annual Northern Homelessness Seminar on Tuesday 5th October.

We will also have the chance to look the best practise for Housing Providers to play their part in tackling and preventing homelessness. David Bogle from Homes for Cathy will be leading a session on the key commitments that bring Housing Providers to the forefront of this work and the successes that have already been seen in his own organisation, Hightown Housing, and beyond.

With homelessness and the risk of homelessness rising, and the gains to reduce rough sleeping looking increasingly shaky, the conversation on the 5th of October is not one to be missed!

Full details of the seminar and to book your place click here.


NHC Business Improvement Services

As we move to a new phase of post lockdown working, many organisations are looking to learn the lessons from the lockdown period. Many of the initiatives and changes to ways of working adopted to deliver services at the height of the pandemic are now part of the way we operate.

Our Business Improvement Services team can help you evaluate service delivery, look at what’s working (and what isn’t) and embed the changes made. We can assist across a range of services and working practices including

  • Voids and allocations
  • Repairs and Maintenance
  • Asset management
  • Effects of hybrid/ remote working
  • Change management

If you are interested, please contact our Head of Business Improvement, Nigel Johnston on 0191 566 1007 or by email nigel.johnston@northern-consortium.org.uk