Case Study

Sefton Council

The Metropolitan Borough of Sefton in Merseyside is located to the south-west of Maghull and to the north east of Great Crosby. Serving some 274,000 citizens, it is ranked 52nd in the list of English districts by population and has around 3700 licensable HMO’s from a mixture of mandatory, selective and additional licensing schemes.


Sefton Council has a statutory requirement to administer and process Mandatory (HMO) licenses and was also seeking to introduce Additional (HMO) and Selective licensing for the private rented sector. The council was keen to explore the market for a cloud-based solution to replace the legacy Flare software provided by Civica™.

Essential requirements for the new software included:

  • Citizen online applications with data validation.
  • Cloud based. No software installation required by citizens or council officers.
  • Citizen dashboard. Portfolio landlords and letting agents must manage their applications and licenses online.
  • Fit and proper persons process.
  • Integration with the local Gazetteer, the national LLPG Database and Companies House.
  • Evidence upload and validation.
  • Online payments integration with Civica™ Icon with integrated pricing and discount matrix.
  • Role based officer dashboards available via web browser.
  • Officer application workflows and workload prioritisation tools.
  • Full document production and representation management.
  • License conditions and tasks with reminder and notifications.
  • Bespoke management reports.


Through a competitive tendering process Rocktime was awarded a five-year contract to configure and install its verso™ Enterprise Edition software which would fulfil the council’s essential requirements and offer a significant reduction in the costs and administration of the council’s licenses schemes. The contract was awarded to Rocktime after it’s delivery team demonstrated their abilities to deliver not only on cost and quality, but also Rocktime’s deep technical knowledge of the private rented sector market.

Working closely with the team at Sefton council, Rocktime configured verso™ to allow online applications for the councils mandatory, selective and additional schemes. verso™ was also configured to automate the councils Temporary Exemption Notices, license variations and renewals. Being cloud-based, verso™ allows council officers to take full advantage of remote working. Requiring only a browser and an internet connection, council officers can now process and issue licences wherever they are working from. We configured verso™ to allow as much automation as possible, this in turn will allow officers to benefit from a reduced admin workload as factors such as evidence reminders, representations, stakeholder signoff and third-party validation are all handled by the software. Council officers no longer need to prepare and distribute license packs to stakeholders and licensees and this also is completely automated by verso™.


The solution went live on the 1st March 2018, with client delivery taking place a full month earlier allowing extensive client testing prior to launch. The result of which is that there has been no post launch bugs or issues, and more importantly no compromise to the council’s reputation during this transitional phase to its licensing process.

The system has been praised extensively not only by the councils licensing officers for its successful rollout, but also by local landlords who have used the software to apply for or renew their HMO licenses.

I cannot recommend Martin, David and the Project Team at Rocktime highly enough. Our experiences with them throughout the full development process to the implementation of the verso™ system to manage our Selective, Mandatory (HMO) and Additional (HMO) licensing schemes was flawless. Such a helpful and experienced team from start to finish, achieving our extremely challenging timescale. One landlord who submitted an application on the first day has summed up our experience by saying “May I congratulate the team that put this application process together the software gets a 10 out of 10 from me.”

Housing Licensing Development Officer
Sefton Council

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