HCA

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the Government’s housing, land and regeneration agency, and the regulator of social housing providers in England.

HCA are responsible for the Government’s house building initiatives including high profile schemes such as Help to Buy and the Affordable Homes programme.

STCS have worked with HCA as a Strategic Development Partner for over 16 years, working alongside their in-house IT department on the development and support of a suite of bespoke software systems. A selection of the work we have undertaken is detailed below.

System to record and report all aspects of the many varied types of projects managed by HCA, including expenditure, income, outputs, milestones and risks.  A system used by over 700 users, throughout the country, and more recently also by the Greater London Authority.

For over 16 years we have been developing and supporting this system, after having taken over from a previous supplier who developed the initial system.  This has included several major technical upgrades, as well as significant redevelopment of the system to adapt it to meet the Agency’s requirements for its ever-changing roles and responsibilities.  The contract has grown from a small 4-day a month support contract for a single system to one that is developing and supporting a suite of systems, regularly generating a turnover of between £1m-£1.5m.  This work is based at the customer’s site, with STCS leading a team including a mixture of STCS staff, contractors and the customers own staff.  Sharing business knowledge and technical expertise throughout the team, managing the workload and regular reporting to the customer.

tasks / roles

  • Knowledge transfer
  • Training end users and HCA IT development staff
  • Requirements Analysis
  • System Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Database Administration
  • Database health checks
  • Database upgrades
  • Application Server upgrades
  • Project Management
  • Contract Management
  • Migration to .net

key technologies

  • Oracle Forms 4 – 11
  • Oracle Reports 3 – 11
  • Oracle Database 7 – 11.2
  • Business Object 6 – XIr3
  • NET MVC
  • HP-UX10 server, migrated to Windows Server

Design, development and support of a Finance system to record over £6.5bn of investments made by the HCA to third parties under various government funding programmes.  Recording key information for each investment and integrating with HCA’s other systems, to perform numerous complex calculations for the entire lifetime of each investment, allowing for many varied contractual rules, and producing both accounting and legal views of the information.

The system is primarily used by the Portfolio Management and Finance teams to calculate interest, maintain investment balance data, make accounting adjustments, and produce statements.   In many regards it can be likened to a system for managing bank accounts.

tasks / roles

  • Requirements Analysis
  • System Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Database Administration
  • Database health checks
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • NET MVC
  • Government Digital Standards (GDS)
  • Oracle Database 11.2
  • Business Object XIr3
  • Microsoft IIS

Design and development of a .net framework providing a platform for delivery of new systems for HCA’s partners.  Following STCS’s delivery of HCA’s first successful .net product, succeeding where other suppliers had failed, the framework was then made available for new HCA-only internal systems.

tasks / roles

  • Requirements Analysis
  • System Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Oracle Database 11.2
  • Entity framework

Design and development of a system to allow HCA’s partners to submit regular updates about progress of their development schemes, including details about costs, income, outputs, risks, and milestones.   This information is then vetted and used to feed into other systems such as PCS and IRS.

tasks / roles

  • Requirements Analysis
  • System Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Oracle Database 11.2
  • Entity framework

After initially processing Excel spreadsheets containing Expressions of Interest from partners for government funding, HCA agreed with STCS’s assessment of the risks involved in managing over £6.5bn funding via spreadsheets.  This project entailed the design and development of a web-based system for submitting enquiries and applications for funding, along with supporting documentation via attachments, configured to support multiple high-profile programmes of funding and other support.

tasks / roles

  • Requirements Analysis
  • System Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Entity framework
  • Oracle Forms 11g
  • Business Objects Xlr3

Design and Development of a system to track and value over £9.75bn in recoverable investments in approximately 100,000 small home equity loans. The cash flow and profit and loss for these assets, as they are disposed of, or equity percentage changes due to staircasing (where the home owner buys back a portion of the HCA equity), also has to be accounted for, potentially for many years into the future.

This involves complex calculations for assessing the fair value with adjustments set based upon the area, type of property, developer, when it was purchased, how much deposit paid, loan to value, etc.

tasks / roles

  • Requirements Analysis
  • System Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Entity framework
  • Oracle Database 11.2
  • Business Objects Xlr3

Design and Development of a system to generate and manage ‘Papers’ submitted to Meetings of project boards and other committees, for decisions regarding approval of proposals.

tasks / roles

  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Entity framework
  • Oracle Database 11.2
  • Business Objects Xlr3

Design and Development of a system to record potential projects for disposal of Public Sector Land, and to assess these based upon costs and benefits.     Integration with other systems such as the HCA’s Land Management Tools (a spatial data and mapping system) and PCS.

tasks / roles

  • Requirements Analysis
  • System Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Entity framework
  • Oracle Database 11.2
  • Business Objects Xlr3

Providing SQL Server Reporting Services training to HCA Working Service Desk to allow them to deliver reports for the Service Desk using SQL Server.  Development of reports and providing guidance with delivery of other reports.

tasks / roles

  • Training and Mentoring
  • Development
  • 3rd-line support

key technologies

  • SQL Server
  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

System to collate data from several systems to provide Programme and Directorate level information for monthly analysis and reporting and for budget management.

STCS have been developing and supporting this system for over 8 years.

tasks / roles

  • Training end users
  • Requirements Gathering
  • Solution Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Database Administration
  • Database health checks and performance tuning
  • Database upgrades
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • Oracle Forms 6 – 11
  • Oracle Reports 3 – 11
  • Oracle Database 9 – 11.2
  • Business Object 6  – XIr3

Collating data from HCA’s many systems to allow cross agency, integrated reporting and to provide consistency between systems.

tasks / roles

  • Requirements Analysis
  • Solution Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Database Administration
  • Database health checks and performance tuning
  • Database upgrades
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • Oracle Database 9 – 11r2
  • Oracle SQL and PL/SQL
  • Lotus Notes SQL Client
  • Domino Web Access
  • XML / XLT
  • ODBC
  • SQL Server

Provision of Business Objects reporting facilities for many of HCA’s systems to allow cross agency, integrated reporting.

tasks / roles

  • Requirements Analysis
  • Solution Design
  • System Development
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-line support
  • Business Objects Installation and upgrades
  • Business Objects Administration
  • Project Management

key technologies

  • Business Objects 5 – XIr3
  • Oracle Database 9 – 11r2
  • SQL Server
  • Apache Tomcat