Mayor Stephen Keary and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy at the Hap shared services centre
THE Housing Assistance Payments (Hap) shared services centre in Limerick is set to deal with more than €400m in transactions in 2018, it’s first full year of operation for all local authorities in Ireland.
The shared service centre is run by Limerick City and County Council on behalf of the 31 local authorities across the country along with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.
Since its inception in 2014, the number of financial transactions managed has risen from just over €600,000 in 2014 to 31,228 active HAP tenancies amounting to over €230 million last year.
That figure is expected to rise to around €400 million this year and is on course to reach its target of 84,000 tenancies and a financial turnover of just under €1 billion per annum by 2021.
The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy has visited the offices in Limerick to officially open the Shared Services Centre.
Eoghan Prendergast, Director of the Shared Services Centre said: “The Housing Assistance Payment scheme is one of the key elements of the government’s policy on social housing, and we are proud to be running this national service.”
“We are constantly growing and hoping to use technology to help us provide an even better service to the public and other stakeholders. We currently employ 55 people but this will rise in line with the continuing growth of HAP.”
The shared service centre located to The Granary in October 2015, and now occupies two floors of the 230-year-old building.
In 2015, the phase 1 redevelopment was completed; the Design Team was led by Carr Associates Architects, Limerick and the Contractors were O'Connor Maintenance, Limerick. This phase of project won the Fit Out Project of the Year at the Irish Building and Design Awards 2016.
Phase 2 of the Granary redevelopment was completed in 2017. The Design Team was led by MCORM Architects, Dublin, the Project Manager was AECOM, Dublin and the Contractor was Flynn Management & Contractors, Limerick.
The redevelopment has resulted in office space for 100 employees, in the heart of Limerick City Centre. Currently the Shared Services Centre employs 55 people.
As part of the continuous drive to achieve efficiencies in the delivery of the HAP scheme, the centre is in the final stages of a Proof of Concept project to identify Robotic Process Automation (RPA). The project is jointly funded by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is the first of its kind in the local authority sector, and one of the first in the wider public sector.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.
By using RPA, The Shared Services Centre will achieve greater financial and operational efficiencies, free up HAP SSC staff to focus on direct/ personal interaction with the various stakeholders, as well as automating repetitive transactions.