Elmbridge Rentstart is a local charity established to assist single people and childless couples on low income to access accommodation in the private rented sector. In addition to helping clients to get a roof over their heads, Elmbridge Rentstart also tries to ensure tenants have the best chance of maintaining a trouble free tenancy by offering ongoing tenancy support services for the duration of the lease. Since 2001 the charity have helped well over two thousand people in need.
Elmbridge Rentstart requested a Tech Surgery from CITA looking for a review of its historical use of IT, recent logistical and system changes and potential sharing of approaches with another similar charity (Spelthorne Rentstart) to determine whether there were any improvements that could be proposed to meet its long-term goals.
CITA volunteer Henry Harris provided support around identifying clear communication paths and agreements with all providers of IT, working in partnership with Spelthorne Rentstart to ensure that the database met the charity’s short term operational needs and identifying high-level long-term system goals that would guide the use of current IT, including a reworked client database. Henry additionally provided advice around producing a repeatable, layered and regularly exercised business continuity plan and a comprehensive audit of the whole IT infrastructure in order to facilitate future decisions.
In Elmbridge Rentstart’s words:
“We are extremely grateful for Henry’s expertise following the sudden loss of our computer system. He was able to securely extract all our data, maintaining its integrity and create for us a new system using Microsoft Access that replicated our previous system. He helped us to rapidly be up and running on a new efficient and effective computer system ensuring minimal disruption to the running of our charity. This was of huge assistance to us and solved what would have been a very costly problem. Henry’s work with us has enabled us to focus on identifying our future business needs and to clarify the direction that we should take with our procedures and computer systems.”
“This service gave us, a small but growing organisation, the opportunity to take a step back and really identify our growing needs.”
Helen Watson, Chief Executive, Elmbridge Rentstart