Officer warns tenants could face issues with rent payments if Sheffield Council's ancient computer system is not replaced

Tenants could face problems paying their rent and getting rehoused unless a 22-year-old computer system at Sheffield Council is replaced, an officer has warned.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:45 pm
Council tenants should get better service when an ancient IT system is replaced

A core system used by the council’s housing and neighbourhoods service needs urgently replacing, at a projected cost of £9.3m.

Officer James Ford said other councils had upgraded their systems at least once in the last 20 years.

In a report, he says: “The system, first implemented in 1999, has been declared end of life by the current supplier and we have no choice but replace this soon.

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“We have identified several other systems that have grown up around or have been purchased to complement this system over the years and we now have fragile collection of systems that without costly and temporary rewiring become defunct.

“This means we cannot just replace the system like for like, in fact our modelling suggests it would be more complicated, costly and in the longer-term unsustainable to do so.”

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The council says customer data is fragmented across more than 20 systems.

A new improved network would save money and make it easier for both customers and staff to use.

A modern self-service system would allow tenants to check rent online and report issues, and in doing so, freeing up time for staff to deal with more complex enquiries.

The council would be able to send text message reminders about appointments and rent balance alerts and teams could also work with customers on estates without having to wait to return to the office.