Housing Benefits and Housing needs Officers
PURPOSE OF THE JOB: • To perform all functions within the Benefits and Housing Needs Service namely the processing of Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Discretionary Housing Payments, welfare reform support including discretionary schemes, homelessness prevention and advice, homeless assessment, housing register applications, lettings of housing, housing supply and procurement, management and maintenance of temporary accommodation, financial monitoring and maintenance, payments, complaints, members and mayoral enquiries and FOI requests. • To deliver an efficient, high quality and customer-focussed service for a diverse client group including high numbers of vulnerable and disadvantaged households. • To mentor both new members of staff and staff from other areas in legislation, practice, procedures, performance of duties and guidance on complex case work. • To protect the public purse and assets of the Council by identifying and preventing fraud and error in all duties. • To apply the relevant legislation, procedures, caselaw, guidance, audit recommendations, to conduct rigorous, robust and accurate assessments. • To identify holistic and cost effective solutions through casework and joint working with other services, stakeholders, partners and agencies. • To assist with the development of initiatives to meet all aims of the service, including increasing supply of properties, contract management and monitoring, mobility and re-location, with pan- London and regional partners where necessary. • To work co-operatively across the Benefits and Housing Needs Service to promote an effective, efficient and holistic service to residents in the borough. • To offer support and advice to customers and signpost to partners. • To conduct visits to customers and properties to fully carry out statutory and corporate duties, including residency checks and assisting vulnerable members of the community. • To have and maintain a detailed working knowledge of law, practice, council policy and guidance relating to either: o Housing Benefit o Council Tax Benefit and Council Tax Reduction o Housing o EEC/EEA o Asylum and Immigration o Welfare Reform o Family and Matrimonial o Tenancy o Lettings o Regeneration o Mortgage arrears Benefits advice o Debt and money management o Income maximisation o County Court o Civil remedies o Possession proceedings o Security of tenure o Disrepair o Family mediation o Discretionary schemes o East London sub-region and Pan London region o Standing orders and finance accounting o Procurement • Administration, management and accuracy of the Council's Housing Register. • Lettings of social housing and related initiatives. • Timely assessment of medical questionnaires to inform the appropriate priority of Housing Register applicants, the lettings of properties and appropriate Temporary accommodation. • Housing procurement and supply. To monitor the acquisition of properties and framework contract performance of partners in the provision of a range of properties from the private rented sector. • Management and maintenance of temporary accommodation ensuring health and safety requirements are met at all times. Resettlement and move on to settled accommodation. • Extensive knowledge and substantial experience of at least one of the following disciplines: o Homeless assessments and reviews; o Homeless prevention and housing advice; o Temporary Accommodation management, maintenance, income collection and financial monitoring and payments; o Housing Supply and procurement; o Lettings, Allocations and the Housing Register; o Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction schemes; o Discretionary payments and Local Welfare Support; And the legislation, regulations, policy, guidance, and practice associated with these disciplines. • Ability to manage conflicting priorities in a pressurised working environment that are subject to frequently changing circumstances in order to achieve targets within challenging timescales. • Good organisational skills and the ability to prioritise your workload to deliver to tight deadlines, targets and performance standards. • Excellent verbal and written communication and presentation skills and the ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences including partner services and agencies and the ability to explain complex legislative in simple language. Ability to represent the Council at court.