The major problem as identified by the Casterbridge City Council housing director John Reynolds is the long manual procedures currently used in the processing and allocation of council houses. The manual method makes the process too cumbersome, and in most cases houses are allocated in a haphazard manner, without due process, leading to unfair allocations. This problem can be solved by computerization of the application, processing, and allocation process through the use of Soft System Methodology (SSM) to ensure efficient administration and fair allocations based on the needs.
Rich Picture: Casterbridge City Council
The rich picture below comprehensively indicate the issues in the case study, which include four housing areas, Casterbridge officers with faster computer systems installed, factors to consider when processing new applications, and rating of the eligibility to ensure that the most deserving applicants are considered. Efficient management of allocation process, efficient response to the needs of the current tenants and proper maintenance of the facilities results in the satisfaction of the tenants as indicated by a think bubble in Area C. Ineligible applicants are also given a fair chance to appeal, so that their applications are re-evaluated. This picture also portrays departmentalization where different departments such as area housing officers, direct works manager, maintenance activities.
SSM being a universal approach will help Casterbridge solve the current challenging house application and allocation activities, to ensure that deserving applicants are awarded houses. This method follows a comprehensive seven steps that assists in identifying the shortcomings and the root definitions that must be considered before making the decisions on computerization of the application and allocation process. The seven steps in SSM include; (1) identifying the problem situation, which in this case is the slow manual and hazardous allocation process; (2) brainstorming on the present problem situation and to recognize the magnitude of the challenge, which may include deserving applicants missing houses or being allocated houses that do not meet their needs; (3) formulating root definitions (the key success factors) of current problem. This is achieved through specific use of criteria known as that CATWOE that involves; clients who give their view on what they need, actors that include all the implementers in the different departments as stipulated in the rich picture, transformation process that include the spectra of assessment and the rating degrees. The synonym also includes Weltanschauung (Worldview), owners who make allocations in this case being the area housing officers under leadership of the director, and the environmental constraints (Williams, 2005). The fourth step involves building conceptual models of personnel activity systems that allows the Casterbridge management to develop a pictorial process representing the evaluation processes of applications. SSM in the fifth stem allows comparing the models with the real world, (6) outline desirable and feasible changes in the allocation process, and (7) making a comprehensive decision and the computerization strictly implemented. This method through its seven steps helps the stakeholders focus on the problem and how to identify appropriate solutions.
Casual Loop Modelling
Using Causal loop design to solve the inefficient manual procedure in processing and unfairly allocating houses starts by identifying the key success drivers of the process, which has the potential to achieve the primary task. The primary task for Casterbridge City Council housing director John Reynolds as communicated in the memorandum is efficient process that will ensure fair allocation of council houses to the applicants, with consideration to their special needs. The success drivers identified using CLD influences the allocation policies made by Casterbridge. Key success drivers in this case study include departmentalization, four assessment spectra, five degrees of rating, efficient handling of current tenants issues and proper maintenance of the housing facilities. CLD helps all the stakeholders comprehend the crucial dynamics of the applications; evaluation of the applications and allocation tasks to ensure that efficient process is adopted that delivers quality service.