Tip #4: Create a caseload and accuracy plan with specific performance standards.
Your caseload and accuracy plan should provide a permanent distribution of caseloads so that staff are assigned a caseload and so that the distribution results in equal caseloads for each level of staff. The following plan also provides for a graduated caseload and accuracy plan for new employees to ramp up to a full caseload. The overall objective is to have matching, accurate data between PIC and your housing software, with no backlog in either PIC or the housing software.
Staff identified below are in Housing Specialist positions managing a caseload which they're assigned after initial lease-up through termination. They prepare the initial paperwork and data entry for moves, inspections, and rent reasonableness, but the activities for those functions are handled by other staff. Their primary responsibility is reexaminations and interim adjustments. They will also handle terminations.
The recommended annual caseload for experienced staff for reexaminations is 450. Since they don't have to handle moves, they're expected to handle up to 45 cases per month. The number of reexaminations per month may vary due to the geographical split of the caseload. Reexaminations should be assigned only to the reexamination staff, regardless of whether there's a reexamination in conjunction with a move.
This plan outlines at what point a newly hired staff person is expected to take on the full caseload.
Level 1: Initial Training Plan with Small Caseload
The first full month after hire date, the employee will be working on sample cases. During this period, they will receive additional classroom training and be paired with a more experienced staff person to assist them in completing their sample cases. Their "mentoring partner" (the more experienced staff person with whom they're paired) is allowed to assign them various duties to assist in processing their own caseload as a learning experience. These duties can include everything from observing an interview to copying paperwork. The training coordinator and the supervisor will also begin providing on-the-job training.
The new employee is assigned sample cases from a library of 30 cases. Test databases are set up for new employees to use. Each case will have housing software data entry, calculation, and forms to complete, so that the entire function is performed on each case. Answers to the case will be included. New employees work on these cases on their own, and may request assistance from the mentoring partner if they're having trouble completing the case and getting the correct answer. The employee must complete the 30 test cases at this level. Because they're for learning purposes, all cases must be completed with 100% accuracy.
Level 2: Caseload of 15
The employee will be at level 2, with a caseload of 15, for one month. During this time, the accuracy of the employee's cases will be monitored by the supervisor, and the employee will be provided with feedback and instructions on corrections where needed. An accuracy rate of 65% is required for cases completed this month. All cases will be quality-controlled prior to HAP payment.
The mentoring partner will still be available for assistance on cases, as will the training coordinator and the computer trainer (when they're not engaged in training activities). The employee will be encouraged to complete their own active cases and assist others with their cases, participate in training, or otherwise be effectively utilized with the supervisor's direction.
Level 3: Caseload of 30
The employee will be at level 3, with a caseload of 30, for one month. The same mentoring staff will be available to assist, but the assistance required should be minimal. An accuracy rate of 80% is required for cases completed this month. At least 50% of cases will be quality-controlled prior to HAP payment. The employee will be encouraged to complete their own cases and assist others with their cases, participate in training, or otherwise be effectively utilized with the supervisor's direction.
Level 4: Caseload of 45
After the completion of the three-month caseload schedule described above, the employee will be assigned a full caseload of 45 per month. A level of 95% accuracy at the submission of the case will be expected. An accuracy rate of 95% is required for cases completed this month. At least 50% of cases will be quality-controlled prior to HAP payment for the first month at this level. After the first month, the employee must retain at least an average of 95% accuracy.
If, in the supervisor's and employee's determination, the employee can handle an increased caseload during any period above, additional cases may be assigned to the employee. The employee may also act as a mentor to other new staff.
The employee will complete either a Housing Specialist class encompassing eligibility, rent calculations, and occupancy, or the employee may be assigned to complete online classes on these subjects. The employee must then achieve a passing score of 80% on the Housing Specialist test, either in the classroom or online, to continue employment. One test retake will be allowed within 45 days of the Housing Specialist test. This certification must be achieved by the end of level 2.
Caseload assignment will be done by the (specify a position here). Only supervisors will be allowed to change a caseload assignment and must justify any changes each month.
Regular cases will be distributed by zip codes by team. Within the team, the supervisor assigns cases with the objective of complying with caseload levels identified above, and with the goal in mind of achieving a nearly equal staff caseload within each level.
Backlog cases older than three months will generally be assigned to level 4 staff as needed, and will be nearly equally distributed to this group of staff. Backlog cases due within the prior three months will be assigned to level 3 staff and above as needed.
Cases in housing software but not PIC will be assigned to PIC staff or to the supervisor to resolve. A supervisor will be assigned the responsibility of ensuring that these cases are completed in a timely manner. The most likely reason for cases to be in this category is that "hold" codes have not been resolved. If the family is no longer on the program, there must be an End of Participation (EOP) entered in PIC. If the family has decided not to move and has stayed in the same unit, or if the family has moved to another unit, the "hold" code will be removed and any required updating to the record will be completed.
Correction of Quality-Controlled Cases
The employee is responsible for correcting all mistakes in his/her quality-controlled files within three business days after the notification of the errors.
Next: Achieving high performance in the HCV program: Tip #5
While serving as executive director of a Minnesota housing authority, Nan McKay started one of the nation’s first Section 8 programs. The agency was subsequently honored with a HUD award as one of 13 outstanding Section 8 programs in the country.
Founder and president of Nan McKay and Associates, she has devoted the past two years to redesigning NMA’s HCV Executive Management course, as well as rewriting the HCV Executive Management Master Book with Bill Caltabiano. The tips and systems described above are thoroughly explored in both, with many forms available on a CD.
Did you know that NMA is the only IACET-approved training and certification company serving the affordable housing industry? Read more on our website.