Portsmouth City Council is the largest social landlord in the area with responsibility for managing over 17,000 council owned and leasehold properties.
We support our customers to solve their problems and meet their responsibilities, which includes paying their rent. Despite the challenges of the various welfare reforms, in supporting our tenants to maximise their income, prioritise outgoings and resolve debt, our overall rent arrears have reduced by 60% in the past three years.
If you believe you can make a valuable, positive contribution to our team then please read below for more about the role. Please take the time to read 'how to apply' carefully to ensure your application is not disregarded. Do not send us a C.V.
What's in it for me?
The salary band for our Money Advisors is £23,398 to £27,668. You will be entitled to 26 days holiday per year (plus bank holidays). The Council also offers a generous Pension Scheme and other staff benefits including free eye tests, discounts at local venues and childcare vouchers!
We value our employees and want them to reach their full potential. Although there is an induction period, you will be expected to learn on the job with the full support of the management team and your peers. Additional training is available if appropriate and as necessary.
What is the job?
This is not a traditional Money Advisor role. Working within our approach you will not necessarily have responsibility for case holding or lead on Money Advice to tenants. Instead you will work as part of an area office team sharing your expertise in welfare benefits, debts and budgeting, developing the skills of others to deliver appropriate advice.
You will support and develop Housing Officers to assist them to deal with the common financial issues that our tenants face - equipping them with the skills they need to offer the right support and advice in relation to finances and debts in a sympathetic and non-judgmental manner. You will aim to ensure that tenants have all the information they need to make informed choices that allow them to cope financially, and develop tenants skills and confidence to manage their financial affairs independently into the future.
You will be involved in ensuring that appropriate robust financial statements (income and expenditure forms) are developed. In partnership with the Housing Officers you will look for opportunities to maximise income, including exploring work opportunities, completing manual calculations of benefit entitlement and checking benefit awards. You will provide support in pursuing relevant claims and appeals.
In identifying priority and non-priority debts you will explore where changes in spending can be made and will support Housing Officers to negotiate with creditors for payment plans to reduce debts owing; explore grants and schemes relating to fuel debt and poverty; and you will look for opportunities to make charity applications to help residents resolve their situation and maintain financial independence.
You will support the Housing Officer to explore all options available and when appropriate you will then take the lead on more complex matters, including administering DRO's and assisting with the Bankruptcy process.
This is a complex role and you will need to display empathy, understanding, confidence, patience and tenacity. This role will include visiting customers in their own home as well as office visits.
The role requires you to keep up to date with current legislation and welfare benefit changes as they happen, and be fully aware of welfare reform, as you will also provide training and briefing sessions to other housing staff. You will look to continually develop the Service, responding to changes in government policy having identified the potential effect of the change on residents and the organisation.
How to apply?
Please write to tell us how you meet the criteria for the role. You will need to demonstrate transferable skills from your current or previous employment against each of the points described in 'Who is the person?' Applicants will be shortlisted based on their ability to use good examples illustrating what they've done, why they've done it and how they went about it?
If you have any questions, or would like an informal discussion about the role, please call Nicola Clannachan on 023 9260 6201.
Who is the person?
Remember to demonstrate why you are suitable against each of the points below through descriptive examples from work / personal experience which clearly illustrate what you did and where appropriate the outcome achieved.
You need to:
1. Demonstrate a good working knowledge of welfare benefits preferably with experience of supporting and advocating for customers.
2. Have experience of supporting customers with budgeting advice and advising on priority and non-priority debts, you may hold a relevant qualification, though applications are also welcomed from those without formal qualifications.
3. Be approachable, supportive and non-judgemental, and able to foster positive working relationships with customers, colleagues and other professionals.
4. Be able to listen well and use effective questioning skills to drill down into the root causes of customers' problems.
5. Be competent at understanding complex information and relaying to customers in clear and simple terms to ensure the best outcome for the customer.
6. Have strong written and verbal communication skills to enable effective negotiation with creditors or other professionals where appropriate.
7. Have experience of developing others in performing effectively in their role, with the confidence to reflect with them on the quality of their interactions.
8. Be self-motivated with the ability to work without support and with a willingness to keep your knowledge up to date through your own research.
9. Have an understanding of the wider social issues that affect our tenants.
10. Be competent with using Microsoft software including: Excel, Word and Outlook and be able to use IT systems to keep clear, accurate, concise and methodical records.
11. Be flexible as you may be required to work from any of the 7 area housing offices to cover periods of sickness and annual leave. You may be required to carry out visits outside of normal working hours.
12. Ideally have a current driving licence and daily use of a vehicle; however this is not essential to the role.
There is no closing date. We will contact candidates as and when they have been shortlisted.
For more details & instructions on how to apply please see the attachments.