Rent Arrears and Recovery Officer

Sutton Council
Full Time
£30,699 - £33,351 (£34,341 unconsolidated maximum)
Per annum
27 days

30/11/2022, 23:55

week commencing 05th December 2022

Joining us, you get to work for not just one high performing London Borough, but two.

Sutton and Kingston councils have a shared finance service serving both authorities. Some teams and some roles are more focussed on one Council than the other, but working in the shared service you get opportunities to learn from a wider pool of activities and two different political bodies. These roles specifically support and deliver services to Kingston Council and Kingston residents only.

There are some really exciting things happening in both Sutton and Kingston. We are developing the London Cancer Hub, a world leading cancer research and treatment hub that will bring together professionals from across different sectors to identify and test new treatments and therapies. We are undertaking the largest housing regeneration programme ever delivered in Kingston, building new energy efficient housing that will transform some of our oldest Council owned housing. Both boroughs have publicly committed to doing what they can to tackle the climate emergency and are investing in new technologies and societal change that will help bring carbon emissions down and improve our climate impact.

Sutton is a well connected attractive part of London that has a reputation for excellent schools, green and leafy open spaces, and a history that drives a thriving heritage and culture offer through our museums and libraries. The Council is controlled by a long established Liberal Democrat Administration and has high ambitions set out in its corporate plan “Ambitious for Sutton”, that will ensure Sutton remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. The Council plays a leading role in a number of local partnerships and places great emphasis on engaging effectively with its residents, listening to local voices and making their message heard across London Government. 

Kingston is a beautiful Royal borough with a historic setting on the banks of the Thames with excellent schools and a bustling retail centre, all surrounded by open green spaces such as RIchmond Park and Bushey Park, former recreation grounds for Tudor kings and queens. The Council is controlled by a Liberal Democrat Administration and has a corporate plan “Making Kingston Better Together” that sets out a vision to be a vibrant, diverse and inclusive borough where residents are active, empowered, engaged and able to remain independent and resilient. The Council engages with residents through a number of forums and events through the year, and like Sutton plays a leading role in developing the South West Region of London.

In this role you will administer, collect and recover Housing Rent, and Temporary accommodation charges. You will support the team and deliver against our statutory responsibilities.

The purpose of this role and the team is to work within the Shared Finance Service to:

  • Prevent rent arrears from escalating in line with the Council's rent collection policies and procedures in an effort to prevent serious debt and homelessness.
  • Identify where tenants may be experiencing difficulty in meeting their commitment to pay rent (and other such bills as council tax) and be able to provide debt counselling and advice or referral to the Financial Inclusion Team. 
  • To refer tenants to internal and external support agencies, where appropriate, to ensure that the tenancy can be sustained and the tenant is supported throughout.
  • To work proactively and contribute ideas to improve income maximisation for the council and for individual tenants. 
  • To make regular and early contact with all tenants in arrears through home visits, telephone calls, office interviews etc; sometimes outside regular working hours. 
  • Negotiate repayment arrangements with tenants and take corrective action where such agreements are not maintained. 
  • To prepare and serve Notices of Seeking Possession and, in the cases of introductory tenants to determine the appropriateness of the service of Notice of Possession Proceedings and ensure all pre-court protocol is followed. 
  • To attend any Court Hearings as necessary in the absence of the Rent Arrears Recovery Lead 
  • To liaise with Kingston Councils Housing department, Adult Social Care and Financial Inclusion to work towards the prevention of escalating arrears and homelessness. 

The shared finance service has an ambition to ‘add value and inspire success’. We offer a supportive working environment and expect all staff to proactively demonstrate our ‘Inspire’ values – Integrity, Nurturing, Smart, People-focussed, Innovative, Responsible and Enterprising.

We work flexibly in both Sutton and Kingston offices (this team is based in our Kingston Offices), and support working at home or flexible working patterns that enable you to tailor your working life to everything else in your life. We provide the equipment and tools to enable you to work flexibly, and in return ask you to use that flexibility to be creative and ambitious in the services we deliver.

This is a busy, varied and exciting role and although the ideal candidate will come from a social housing background with experience of working with Housing Rent Recovery in a customer-focused environment, we are open and would like encourage applications from people with transferable skills.

For candidates with strong customer service skills and experience in a customer-facing role, an eagerness to learn, we are always keen to grow and develop talent and encourage applications from those who have the interest to pursue a career in Finance within the Council.

As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential and will offer you a supportive, friendly and collaborative environment to grow and develop your career and skills. We’re constantly striving to improve our ways of working so putting your ideas across - however big or small - will be fully encouraged and supported by your colleagues and our dynamic and experienced management team.

In addition, we offer a modern and flexible working environment for our staff, supported by our IT infrastructure, including Google Chromebooks and Google Apps.

Employees have access to a wide range of benefits, some of which include:

  • Generous annual leave entitlement plus bank holidays (pro-rata if part-time working hours apply)
  • Flexi-time (Please note, this applies to roles at grades 1-9 only)
  • Comprehensive learning and development programme
  • Local and national discounts for shopping, eating out and leisure activities
  • Interest free season ticket loans
  • Local Government Pension Scheme
  • Car parking scheme
  • Bicycle loan facilities and cycle to work scheme
  • Zip car scheme
  • Free eye tests and contribution towards glasses
  • Confidential wellbeing and counselling support
  • Subsidised gym membership

Please apply online outlining what skills, abilities and experience you can bring which makes you an ideal candidate for this role. Please ensure you refer to the requirements outlined in the job profile when completing your application.

To support our diversity agenda and reduce the risk of bias in our recruitment activities, our short listing process completely anonymises personal information that can identify job applicants e.g. name, title etc. Our hiring managers review and short list applications based on the information provided as part of your application as to how well you meet the requirements and criteria for the role, as outlined in the job profile.

The closing date is given as a guide. We reserve the right to close this vacancy once a sufficient number of applications has been received. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you complete and submit your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

We pride ourselves on being a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Borough and we aim to create a workforce which reflects the community we serve - the key highlights from our recent Equalities Workforce Report can be seen here. We are respectful of difference and realise the positive value of diversity in our workforce. We welcome and encourage job applications from people of all backgrounds and particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates and disabled candidates, as these groups are currently under-represented in our workforce. As part of our Disability Confident Committed status, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum/essential criteria for the role.

We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, and inclusive staff networks who help drive our diversity agenda.

The UK has introduced a new points-based immigration system affecting EU and Non-EU workers and sponsorship requirements. We advise checking the GOV.UK website for right to work guidance.

Important Information - Criminal Records
This post is exempted under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and as such appointment to this post will be conditional upon the receipt of a satisfactory result to a check of police records via Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).