National Welsh Housing Association Rents campaign
The government’s proposal to pay housing benefit directly to social tenants, as part of the Universal Credit scheme, will represent a significant step-change for many tenants in the social housing sector. While under the existing system rent is paid straight to the landlord, the introduction of Universal Credit across Wales will see an increasing number of tenants required to manage this payment themselves.
As such, encouraging residents to switch to the ease and convenience of Direct Debit means that they can enjoy the peace-of-mind that payments won’t be forgotten, or missed. At the same time, for housing associations, processing automated payments is more efficient than the likes of cash and cheque transactions.
Bacs joined forces with Community Housing Cymru Group (CHC) – the membership body for housing associations in Wales – to develop a Direct Debit campaign to support CHC’s ‘Your Benefits are Changing’ (YBAC) initiative, set up to raise awareness of the welfare reform due to be implemented across Wales by 2016.
The campaign ran between 30 June and 1 December 2014 and saw 16 housing associations throughout Wales sign-up, with the aim of increasing the number of tenants paying by Direct Debit. As an incentive to switch payment method, a prize draw of £2,000 worth of shopping vouchers was up for grabs.
To help housing associations promote the campaign, Bacs supported the production of a range of materials drawing on their wealth of experience in campaign development and consumer understanding, creating leaflets, web assets and posters, as well as providing PR and social media support throughout the five month campaign period.
- Number of participating Welsh housing associations: 16
- Number of tenants targeted: 40,000
- Highest increase in Direct Debit sign up: 18.7%
- Highest campaign response rate: 8%
- Greatest uplift in campaign response rate vs 2013: 12%.
Stuart Ropke, Group Chief Executive at Community Housing Cymru Group, said:
“Working in partnership with Bacs really complemented our Your Benefits are Changing campaign – set up to raise awareness and provide advice and solutions to tenants affected by welfare reform.
“With the acceleration of Universal Credit into Wales, more and more tenants will be personally responsible for the payment of rent to their landlord, which will represent a considerable change for many. As a result this campaign enabled us to work with our members to promote Direct Debit as an easy and convenient way of managing these payments.”
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