Local Government

Housing Benefits

Rent Increases

Problem Statement

When a landlord or housing association increases or decreases their rent, the tenants housing benefits must be recalculated manually by Brent council. A summary of these rent changes are received via Excel spreadsheet. There are around 15,000 changes to be processed, each taking 3-5 minutes and most of these are received around April meaning a high, seasonal workload – requiring extra human resourcing and overtime commitments.

Process Overview

An Excel spreadsheet is sent to Brent Council by a Landlord, usually a housing association, containing all items to be worked. Using data from the spreadsheet, the case is searched for and opened in Northgate and a process is followed to create a new rent period with the new value of rent and excluding any ineligible charges. Northgate will then calculate the new Housing Benefit which can be accepted or investigated further if there was an issue with the calculation.

15,000 – 20,000 items require processing each year, taking around 5 minutes each.

Systems: MS Excel, Northgate


The manual process was followed closely for the automated solution, only creating loops so that similar tasks can be done one after another instead of the whole process end to end, again.

Solution would process cases in just 25% of the time it would take a human, at around 45 seconds per case.