Commencing immediately all new AP forms completed by CIH families must have a termination date, which should be 12 months in the future, i.e. the same date as the start date, but just one year later. To date, the practice has varied with some coordinators preferring to leave the AP open-ended, so that families can catch up on any missed payments. In one way, this makes sense, but we are facing a growing number of families who simply don’t cancel their APs and this creates a real problem when we are unable to (a) contact them to stop their APs and (b) return the overpaid funds.
We now have over 500 families who have overpaid and this is huge job trying to contact them and get them to stop their APs. One Taranaki family holds the record for overpayments – a whopping $1700! This family has continued to pay for more than three years after our subsidised internet connection ended.
We are going to have a blitz on contacting the families who have overpaid, starting with the 21 families who have overpaid by more than $500. I find it hard to think of any family who wouldn’t welcome a $500 cheque for Christmas!
For ease of reference, the “Code” field data for each CIH region is summarised below. The example is for 2degrees connections. “2DEG” should be replaced with a suitable abbreviation for other ISPs. This information is to be entered in the “Code” field of family automatic payment forms. The family lastname and firstname initial should be entered in the “Particulars” field (e.g. Henare, P). The CIH family number should be entered in the “Reference”field.
Coordinators should pre-enter these details in the AP forms BEFORE handing to families to ensure the information on the deposits is accurate. Without these details it is very difficult to match the payment to the family.
|Computers in Homes Region
|Auckland – Central
|Auckland – East
|Auckland – Mangere/Otahuhu
|Auckland – Manurewa/Papakura
|Auckland – Papatoetoe/Otara
|Auckland – West
|Central North Island
|Eastern Bay of Plenty
A question has been raised about which telephone service providers will accept monthly contributions towards the cost of an internet package. To date we have arrangements with the following providers:
We are happy to pursue a similar arrangement with other telephone providers, but coordinators need to be aware that not every provider will accept automatic direct debit top-ups (typically pre-pay providers). So before any promises are made, please check in with the national team to ensure this is an option.
A question has arisen about when we pay the internet subsidy ($20 per month) and when we don’t for families who already have an existing phone line and internet package.
Our principle is that we don’t offer the subsidy to families who are already paying for an internet package at the time of registration for Computers in Homes. Our programme is about helping families get an internet connection, not subsidising those who can already afford one.
This applies to families who have a fixed telephone line and wish to retain this. The lowest cost option is to simply purchase an internet package from their existing telephone service provider and our subsidy is intended to help the cover these additional costs for 12 months. Switching to UFB might be an even better deal, but that will be explored at our next coordinator hui).
Coordinators must be satisfied that families have signed up for the internet as a result of participating in Computers in Homes. A good benchmark is the date of registration – if they already have the internet before registering for Computers in homes, then that is a pretty good indicator that they are able to cover the costs. But any time after registration, we can provide the subsidy (we do need a copy of their telephone account showing the internet package has been added). Coordinators can also exercise discretion – if they feel the subsidy will make the difference to the family in terms of retaining the internet or getting into debt, they can offer the subsidy.
July has been a shocking month for transitioning our families to a permanent internet connection. We have recorded “NO RESPONSE” from nearly 40% of the 57 families reaching the end of their 12-month subsidised period. We have had a number of families where the Direct Debit form was not sent to 2degrees before the termination date and as a result their internet connection was terminated, even if we had prepaid a further month for the family. 2degrees is being swamped with requests from coordinators to re-connect families after their termination date.
So let’s be clear about our processes (including some new ones):
- Families are sent by physical post a letter with a partially completed Direct Debit form and reply paid envelope by around the 10th of the month prior to their service terminating; coordinators receive a .pdf copy of this letter and DD form by email.
- Families are expected to return the DD form no later than 10 days before the termination date (this is clearly set out in the letter). Families who do this will receive a full month credit ($65) on their 2degrees account to smooth the transition.
- Families who do not meet this requirement will have their internet connection suspended (hopefully, this will serve as a prompt for them to contract Kristina or the local coordinator and submit their DD form before the termination date).
- When the DD form is received by 2degrees, the account will be reactivated.
- Coordinators sending DD forms directly to 2degrees must record the date sent in the 12-month transition Google Sheet. A scanned copy of the DD from should be sent to 2degrees by email.
- If the DD form is not received by 2degrees BEFORE the termination date, the account will be cancelled.
- If the DD form is submitted after the termination date, 2degrees may (at their discretion) agree to reconnect the family, but this will incur a $99 reconnection fee. Families will not receive the $65 transition credit.
- Coordinators must take note of the dates and action summaries recorded by 2degrees in the green shaded columns. If any information is being added or changes made after the date recorded by 2degrees, then you must negotiate the change directly with 2degrees. We can not expect them to keep reviewing the google sheet information once the termination date has passed.
Coordinators will be aware of our current practice to make a one-month transition payment of $65 to 2degrees for all families that opt for the 2DEG DD-TU (Direct Debit Top-Up) scheme. This enables families to continue paying weekly ($15 instead of $10) for their internet connection, without incurring a sudden $65 Direct Debit hit on their bank account.
We continue to experience families who are somewhat tardy in responding to the deadline dates that we clearly set out in the 12-month reminder letter. Despite Kristina’s best efforts, supported by coordinators, many families are failing to lodge their Direct Debit form by the 12-month termination date and as a result, 2degrees sets their accounts to terminate.
Our practice has been to make the $65 payments each Tuesday for any families opting for the DD-T U option, but despite indicating this preference, many families are not following through and completing a Direct Debit form. Even though we have made a bridging payment, their accounts will still be terminated in the absence of a Direct Debit form.
So, as from this week, we will only be making transition payments after the Direct Debit form has been sent to 2degrees. Transition payments will not be made for families in situations where the direct debit form has been submitted after the termination date, as it is likely that the account will already have been terminated.
If there are special circumstances, Kristina must be advised no later than 3pm each Monday so that transition payments can be loaded on the Tuesday.
Coordinators will be seeing for the first time this month the new 2degrees charges, as advised at our last coordinator hui and in an earlier post on this blog, i.e. $65 (incl GST) per month. These are being applied to all new CIH family accounts from 1 April 2016.
What this means is that you will see $339.13 (excl GST) start to appear on your 2degrees invoices – this is calculated as follows:
$65/month (GST incl) = $56.52 (GST excl) x 6 months = $339.13 (excl GST)
Xero Item codes will be updated accordingly for the first 6 month payments.
Some coordinators have been confused by the difference between a sponsored internet connection with 2degrees and a custom one. To clarify:
Sponsored connection: this relates to families on our CIH Automatic Payment scheme, where we (2020) purchase internet connectivity in advance in 6-month blocks. We also refer to this as the subsidised period. This applies to all families for the first 12 months and for those families that we accept onto our Extension programme after the initial 12 months.
Custom connection: this relates to families who have reached the end of their sponsored (subsidised) period and migrate to become a regular 2degrees customer. They must submit a Direct Debit Authority form to 2degrees BEFORE the end of the sponsored period if they wish their service to continue uninterrupted.
Kristina has just send out the 12-month internet transition letters for June with Direct Debit and AP forms as well as a stamped address return envelope – all 83 of them! I have also sent an email copy of the letter to coordinators, so if you haven’t received one of these, you can just focus on your graduations and new internet sign-ups in June.
Just a reminder of how we expect things to work, noting that I did do an earlier post about this.
- By 10th of each month, Kristina sends out letters to all families reaching the end of their 12-month subsidised internet during the subsequent month, with copies to relevant coordinators.
- By 20th month, coordinators make contact with the families to ensure they have received the letter and find out if they need any help in completing the forms.
- The letters include a deadline date, which is 10 days before the 12-month expiry; we ask families to return the Direct Debit form to Kristina in the pre-paid envelope by this date and the good news is that some are doing this.
- Kristina then scans the DD form to 2degrees and records the date in the 12-month Internet Control Sheet.
- Kristina will then proceed to contact by phone any families who have not sent in their DD forms; she marks up the Notes column (AT) with the date and outcome of the contact. She may also request assistance from coordinators at this stage, but coordinators should not necessarily wait to be asked!
- Five days before the 12-month transition date, we ask families to lodge the revised AP form with their banks if they wish to continue paying weekly or fortnightly.
- If there has still been no contact with the family by this date, coordinators are asked to make every effort possible to intervene and try and contact the family – with a visit if necessary and practical. There are now only 5 days before the account will be terminated, so coordinators are welcome to start contacting families earlier if they like.
- The most critical element is to get the DD form to 2degrees BEFORE the transition date. Any coordinators sending these DD forms directly to 2degrees MUST record the date in the 12-month internet control sheet (column AV).
- We need a whole of team effort especially for families who have been good payers; it is really disappointing to see their internet service disconnected just because we can’t get the paperwork sorted!
Coordinators will recall Sylvia’s presentation on Toggl at our Nelson hui. I have been meaning to post the outcome from the discussion following her presentation about a sensible set of ‘project’ categories for you to use to monitor your lives and find out where all the time goes. It would also be really useful feedback for us when we try and scale the coordinator and delivery partner roles and develop new support roles. So if anyone has joined the Toggl world, please feel free to share your reports with us. I am not so interested in week-by-week reports as I know your workloads fluctuate wildly, but what would be good is a three or six month report.
The categories agreed were:
- Finance Related
- General Admin
- Media and Community Liaison
- Meetings (incl NCCG)
- Net Sign Ups
- Reporting (incl surveys)
- School Liaison (incl Graduations)
- Stepping UP
- Technical Admin (Ordering, fixing etc)
- Training Set Up