Are you interested in joining our expanding Housing Options Team at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council?
Do you want a role helping some of our most vulnerable residents in housing need and making a real difference to people’s lives?
If you answered yes, the post we’re seeking to fill could be for you.
We’re looking to recruit two full-time and one part-time Housing Options Advisors, to provide a professional customer orientated service to people experiencing housing difficulties, including offering a full range of advice on housing options and effective casework to prevent and relieve homelessness, in discharge of the Council’s statutory homelessness duties under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996.
You will be working as part of a housing options casework team alongside other colleagues in the wider Housing Options Team responsible for housing allocations, management of temporary accommodation, our rough sleeper initiative programme and enabling affordable housing delivery.
This is a career graded post and candidates will be assessed against both the essential criteria requirements for both Grade F and Grade G detailed in the Person Specification.
Candidates will only be considered as appointable to the Grade G position if they fulfil the essential criteria requirements, as detailed below, for both Grade F and Grade G.
Candidates who are only able to demonstrate that they meet the Grade F requirements, will have the opportunity to progress to a Grade G through training and develop in post and upon being able to demonstrate they meet the Grade G requirements.
Interview customers and carry out statutory assessments and enquiries into the applicant’s housing circumstances, accommodation and support needs, in line with the Councils’ statutory duties under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) and relevant case law, whilst remaining empathetic to the needs of the customer.
Carry a caseload of homelessness prevention and relief cases and develop, update and review Personalised Housing Plans for customers. This Plan will ensure that the Council is taking reasonable steps to prevent or relieve homelessness or the threat of homelessness.
To advise clients on full range of options to solve their housing problem, including negotiating with private sector landlords helping to resolve rent arrears and loss of tenancies; conciliating between family members and friends to prevent exclusions; identifying suitable move-on options including support with accessing the private rented sector; supporting victims of domestic abuse to make their home secure or supporting them into fleeing their home; or supporting rough sleepers from the street through housing pathways.
Write and issue legally sound and robust statutory S184 homelessness decision letters, which are subject to statutory review proceedings and county court appeal.
Carry out income and expenditure assessments to access affordable housing options; the affordability for homelessness prevention loans; identifying any income maximisation opportunities or welfare benefit entitlement; and assisting with applications for discretionary housing payments.
Support the Council’s strategic objective of reducing the expenditure on temporary accommodation by exploring all options for temporary accommodation arrangements and working with other teams and agencies to help customers move on to appropriate permanent housing.
Develop effective working relationships with colleagues both within Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and external partners, service users, landlords as well as voluntary and other housing organisations.
Be the team lead in specific areas such as domestic abuse, ex-offender, care leavers, mental health or substance misuse.
You should have experience of working in a front-line housing environment and be able to provide a full range of advice on housing options to prevent and relieve homelessness, including being able to make legally robust statutory decisions.
Educated to A Level (or equivalent) at grades A to C, or equivalent grading, or demonstrable experience of working within housing options and homelessness.
Excellent understanding of Housing legislation including the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002, and the Homelessness Reduction Act.
A good understanding of the welfare benefit system and welfare reform changes.
Excellent influencing and negotiation skills - for example, when working with landlords to prevent evictions.
Ability to work in a team and develop effective and supportive relationships with colleagues.
This post is subject to a satisfactory DBS Check.
In return we offer you:
Financial: An attractive basic salary within a clear pay structure with the opportunity to influence your own annual salary increase based on your contribution to the role and organisation.
Holiday Entitlement: Grade F: 22 days annual leave (increasing to 27 days after 5 years continuous Local Government service) plus an additional day in December and bank holidays. Grade G: 24 days annual leave (increasing to 27 days after 5 years continuous Local Government service) plus an additional day in December and bank holidays.
Employee Assistance Programme: The Council has partnered with Health Assured to provide staff with access to EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) to assist in balancing everyday life with the requirement of work and home.
Pensions: Membership of the Local Government (CARE – Career Average (Revalued Earnings) Pension Scheme.
Flexibility: The Council operates a hybrid working model with opportunities to work from home and in an office environment, and a flexible working policy subject to the business needs being met.
Personal Development: Invaluable training opportunities for continuing professional development.
Take a look here at all the additional benefits that we offer.
To find out more take a look at the Job Description and Person Specification below. Applicants must be able to demonstrate all essential requirements as listed in the job profile.
For an informal discussion about this post, you can contact Stuart Clifton, Housing Services Manager, on 01892 554608 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Our competency framework describes what's expected from our employees in terms of attitudes and behaviors. To view our core competencies, click here
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Interview Date: Wednesday, 14 December 2022