About us

HQN’s Rent Income Excellence Network is the premier destination for the latest advice, guidance and best practice on everything concerning income management, rent collection and welfare reform.

About us

Here to help housing providers to maximise income collection, minimise arrears, support customers and sustain tenancies.

  • Compare your performance across a variety of key areas with quarterly benchmarking exercises.
  • Use our regularly updated self-assessment toolkits, covering subjects such as income management, financial inclusion and arrears collection
  • A dedicated website for best practice guidance and expert opinion
  • Access to ‘ask the members’ service and dedicated online forum to share best practice
  • Specialist support via our ‘ask the expert’ service
  • Regular best practice groups, free to all members, ideal for sharing best practice and creating an effective peer network
  • Advertise your job vacancies free of charge
  • Generous discounts on events and public training, plus related consultancy and accreditation
  • Monthly newsletter, which includes the latest income-related briefings, research and important member information
  • Join the Network’s WhatsApp group, a great place to network anytime, anywhere.

Meet the team

Our dedicated team has a wealth of experience in the sector, and vast knowledge of the issues and practices.

Kim Long

Kim Long Kim Long

Kim has worked in the housing sector for over 25 years with a keen eye on front line service provision, customer service and staff induction processes to develop a value driven culture, and leading approach towards tenant engagement.

With experience in several areas of housing management including lettings and neighbourhoods her heart lies in income collection, with a longstanding and firm belief that the provision of help, advice and early intervention, instead of reliance on enforcement, is key to sustainability and the reduction of arrears and evictions.

As Lead Associate Kim’s aim is to make RIEN a more dynamic platform, providing the sector with a way of highlighting best practice, to make a louder noise and demonstrating the value of the services it provides.

Specialism

  • Financial inclusion/ economic Inclusion and debt management
  • The development of front-line services to ensure outcomes of work can be monitored to provide demonstrable value for money
  • Influencing a culture/approach for collecting with care
  • In-depth understanding of our client group and the value and use that demographic information can provide.

 

Emma Owens

Emma Owens Emma Owens

Emma has spent most of her career in the housing sector, starting as a temp in a housing call centre back in 2004. Since then, she’s worked in a variety of roles, mostly within income teams. She’s worked for Curo for almost six years and is now head of the accounts team and the tenancy management team.

Curo was a pilot area for Universal Credit, so has been at the forefront of claimant experience, and has worked closely with the DWP, acting as a voice for customers to improve the service, as well as contribute to research.  
Her areas of interest are Universal Credit/welfare reform, money advice and the link between money and mental health, homelessness prevention, and collection with care.

Specialisms:

  • Universal Credit – as a pilot area she’s been heavily involved since the start of UC and has a wealth of experience in this area
  • Presenting – she’s done a lot of presenting around the subject of UC and pre-tenancy work and enjoys sharing the Curo experience.

Ilyas Lunat, BA (Hons), CIHM

Ilyas Lunat Ilyas Lunat, BA (Hons), CIHM

Ilyas has 22 years’ experience in social housing, most of these at a managerial level. He has specialist skills and knowledge in income collection and arrears, legal issues around income collection, housing benefit, and welfare reform. He has a particular focus on ensuring tenancy sustainment and has a proven track record of reducing arrears levels without the use of increased enforcement action or evictions. He also has experience of building strong partnerships with local authorities and the Courts Service to ensure maximum benefit for both the organisation and its tenants.

Additionally, he has previous experience of leading in the areas of customer services, lettings, and diversity. Having started his career as a housing officer in a small BME housing association, he has experience of managing both generic and specialist officers. During his time as a manager, he has also maintained high performance whilst the organisation undergoes major change. 

Specialisms

  • Cost effective rent collection
  • Tenancy sustainment
  • Having the right conversations with tenants
  • Welfare reform impact analysis.

Jasvinder Kaur

Jasvinder Kaur Jasvinder Kaur

Starting her housing work journey as a housing management trainee with Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council in 1985, Jaz gained extensive experience in housing management, progressing through the ranks to neighbourhood housing manager. She understands the unique issues that can occur in specific areas, developing solutions specific to neighbourhoods, as well as working in partnership with other service providers, eg, the police, NHS, schools, and training providers. 

Following the stock transfer to whg in 2003, Jaz has delivered financial inclusion initiatives to ensure tenancies are sustained and customers are provided support at the point of contact. This has included setting up an inhouse money advice service, budgeting accounts with Walsave local credit union, and working closely with all local providers, including Walsall Council. whg has successfully demonstrated that its income collection service is robust, adopting agile working, developing proactive arrears cases management, and embracing every opportunity to develop profiling tools available, and making sure it’s managing risk to the business and its customers.  

Leading on income collection and welfare reforms, Jaz takes a keen interest in legal changes, particularly in relation to the new approaches being taken by courts, pre-court protocol, and the new areas such as breathing space.

Specialisms

  • Welfare reform
  • Financial inclusion
  • Income collection.

Mark Henderson

Mark Henderson Mark Henderson

Mark has a long and distinguished career in social housing with over 40 years’ housing-related experience. He works as an associate with HQN, undertaking consultancy and research in a variety of areas for members across the UK.   

He was previously Director of Housing at Wolverhampton Homes, where he was influential in taking the ALMO to a three-star excellent rating.
His major interests are income collection and arrears recovery. He’s passionate about tenant involvement and engagement, tenant management organisations, anti-social behaviour, and all general housing management issues.

Specialism

  • Measuring and assessing performance
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Change management.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker Mark Walker

Mark is currently Optivo’s Director of Customer Accounts & Lettings, having been appointed in June 2021. Before that, Mark was Optivo’s Head of Income since 2018 when AmicusHorizon and Viridian Housing merged. Optivo has 44,000 homes across London, the South East, and the Midlands.

Over the last 22 years, Mark has worked in a variety of roles where great customer service and smart use of technology was used to create award-winning income and frontline teams. Mark has led on securing several HQN Income Management Accreditations.

Mark is passionate about providing outstanding levels of customer service and was previously Amicus Horizon’s customer experience manager, contributing towards a European Contact Centre Award win.

He’s also a regular facilitator on RIEN’s best practice groups, and often presents at events for the company.

Specialism

  • Employee engagement and motivation
  • Digitalization/automation
  • Technology to improve the service.

Matt Kelly

Matt Kelly Matt Kelly

Matt is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working within social housing. He’s skilled in coaching, strategic planning, stakeholder management, change management, and public policy. With nearly 20 years’ experience, he’s worked in a variety of departments and roles within social housing, mainly specialising in income management. Over the last two years his team at Ongo has halved current arrears, reduced former arrears by three quarters, and achieved an average UC debt balance amongst over 3,500 tenancies currently on UC of a credit position. He’s also a director and board member of Hull and East Yorkshire Credit Union.

His special interests include proactive prevention vs reactive working, changing the approach, and thinking outside the box.

Specialisms

  • Income collection
  • Rent first/ payments in advance
  • Psychology of debt/barriers to collection
  • Behavioural insights/data utilisation
  • Coaching
  • Universal Credit

Nichola Wright

Nichola Wright Nichola Wright

Nichola has worked in the housing sector since 2001, in a variety of operational and strategic roles for several organisations. In Nichola’s current role she leads Incommunities’ income and financial inclusion service, and has led her team to deliver sustained performance improvement and support for customers during the pandemic. Nichola introduced an arrears case pledge to bring about a solution-focussed approach to arrears case management and is developing Incommunities’ financial inclusion offer as part of the organisation’s vision of improving lives in communities. Nichola is also a member of Incommunities’ Domestic Abuse Steering Group. Prior to joining Incommunities in 2020, Nichola was Assistant Director of Customer Services for Calico Homes, where she led the delivery of neighbourhood and customer services. Nichola is a qualified workplace coach and a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Nichola is passionate about leading and developing teams to deliver customer service excellence and continual improvement. She has a particular interest in ensuring effective engagement with customers so they’re empowered to overcome hardship and financial exclusion; for example, through motivational interviewing and positive communication.

Nichola is committed to preventing and tackling domestic abuse – in particular, how victims and survivors who are also in debt can be supported.

Specialisms

  • Customer engagement
  • Domestic abuse
  • Customer service
  • Performance improvement

Motivating and developing teams

Richard Bampton

Richard Bampton Richard Bampton

Richard has worked in income collection for over 25 years, initially in the private sector before moving to A2Dominion (or A2 as it was then) in 2005. When he moved to A2Dominion he applied a commercial approach to income collection which has been instrumental in helping to consistently improve the service.

As head of income, he manages A2Dominion’s specialist income collection and tenancy sustainment teams. He’s the current chair of the G15 Income Group, and is a member of both the National Housing Federation’s National Welfare Reform Group and the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Professional Standards Committee.

Richard is also a board member of West Kensington & Gibbs Green Community Homes.

Richard’s interests are: anything to do with income collection and tenancy sustainment; strategy; planning for change; team structures; analysing data to understand performance and then implementing improvement; income-related training; and setting up residents new to the organisation the right way, so they have what they need for their home.

Specialisms

  • Leadership, improving joint working, projects/trials internal and external, developing staff, innovation (trials/pilots), business improvement, marginal gains
  • I have undertaken consultancy work for HQN on income collection previously and would be happy to undertake further work in this area

Sue Beasor

Sue Beasor Sue Beasor

Sue has worked in benefits for over 20 years. She’s worked at a senior level in a number of local authorities and has spent several years working closely with social housing providers. Sue is an HQN Associate and experienced trainer and consultant whose work includes delivering benefits and management training for local authority benefits services and social landlords, managing the implementation of legislation and organisational changes, and analysing the effects of welfare reforms, particularly how they impact on the social housing sector.

She has a keen interest in the effect of welfare reform on the social housing sector.

Specialism

  • Universal Credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Other social security benefits