|PGdebt technical bulletin 10|
PGdebt is not a statistics program ! This is not a good start, you may think...but the program has been designed as a tool to simplify debt case administration and statistics were added later as the need became known. PGdebt is not a massive database like some other debt programs, but each client has their own file. This means that complex queries of the type " How many single mums have debts over £5000.00 ? and live in Oxford" are not available, but the program does have the sort of stats that many debt advisers need, although the layout and format of these is fixed. Agencies that have special requirements can add their own stats lists, a common one is area of residence. There are no compulsory fields...you may completely ignore the stats sections without affecting anything else in PGdebt.
Please remember that PGdebt does not keep a
constant up to date tally of your stats of the type that would be available
with a big database. When you want your stats you must do a 'Stats Run' and the
latest stats will be calculated. These figures are retained by the program and
can be viewed at any time, but if something changes in any file, you should do
a fresh Stats Run. Most advisers only need stats figures every 3 months or so,
but you may do a stats run whenever you wish.
There are two places to add stats data to the client file.
Client stats go on the Client Window Statistics Tab and creditor stats are entered on the individual Creditor Window. The stats entry is selected from a drop down list which contains the stats codes. Certain other information is also used for stats, for instance the Age,Sex and Children figures come from the entries on the client details screen.
These are divided into 3 groups:
Standard stats, which are set up for you on installation. These are lists of alternatives of which only one is possible...i.e. a client can be either 'retired' or 'self employed', but not both !
User stats, which are the same as standard but your supervisor can set up the lists to meet special requirements.
Miscellaneous stats, which are lists which are not mutually exclusive...i.e. a client can be 'disabled' and 'bankrupt' at the same time, unlike previous lists. There are 4 misc. choices and they all choose from the same list.
These are chosen from a drop down list on the creditor address screen, on the left side.
The creditor database has a stats entry too, so you can, if you wish assign a debt category to a creditor in the database...this may or not be appropriate...it is up to you to decide.
The creditors name for stats is taken from the 'Agency name' field which is in a red box. It is possible for some creditors to have a variety of name in use...NatWest, Nat West, Nat Westminster etc. To avoid this, always try to fill in the creditor address by selecting it in the creditor database on the right, and clicking the 'use this address' button...this will keep consistent names.
Viewing the statistics
All stats output is commenced by clicking the Main menu 'statistics' item. This has a menu item 'View last stats run' and clicking on this brings up the statistics screen with the last stats run data on it. If you have never made a stats run it will be nonsense but otherwise your last stats will be there. Buttons at the top allow you to change the screen view and page through multi page reports. You can also print the screen and Close it.
The stats window is re-sizable, so set it to a good big size for easiest viewing.
New Stats run
To commence a new stats run, click the button with this caption at the top right. Answer the two safety messages that are there to make sure you do not inadvertently delete your last stats run ( you can run it again if you need to). Then the 'New Statistics Run' dialogue box appears...you may make a number of choices. All choices made will be remembered by the program. If you have a client file open, you will be asked to close it.
Make sure you have the correct directory. This is in the box at the top left and it should be set to your data directory, if it is not, then use the browse button to choose the correct data directory.
[If you cannot change this entry, the directories may be locked...ask the supervisor to unlock them from the Options/supervisor/files-paths screen...close down PGdebt...restart PGdebt and you will be able to change the directory for the stats run. Do not forget to relock the directories afterwards. You will not need to do this again, PGdebt will remember the directory.]
Set the file 'Start dates' for the run...if the date boxes are grey then un-check the check box which states 'Use all files' and set the dates. These dates are important. Each client file has a start date set automatically (though you can change this if you must) and this date affects the stats run. So a stats run for the period 1/1/00 to 31/12/00 will include all files which were started in 2000. If a file was started in 1999 and still open in 2000 it will not be included. This is to prevent a file appearing in the stats for two years and so doubling your workload on paper (!). PGdebt stats are for new files opened between the dates set, they are NOT a measure of current workload. To get your total stats for all start dates check the box to ignore the start dates and use all files.
NB. The figures used are those found in the current client file...so if a client started on 1/12/00 and 3 months later he gets a new debt. If you do the stats run for the year 2000 it will include the new debt even though it was entered in 2001. The figures are for current values of files which were started between the two dates.
You may also use active files, dormant files or both, and you can choose just one case worker or all.
When you have the set up as you wish, click the button 'Start/Add' and the run will commence. It may take 20-30 seconds depending on many factors, but when finished an information box appears offering you the chance to add stats from another directory. Generally the answer will always be NO...if you do have client files in more than one directory you can add them now, but this is generally NOT a recommended procedure. Click NO and the new stats data appears.
The statistics printouts
There are 4 stats printouts and you can jump between them using the choices box on the right. Some of the printouts can be sorted in 3 ways.
Debt Cats. This is a list of the Debt Categories which you set on the Creditor data page for each creditor.
Client Cats. This is a list of your client stats information.
Files Used. This is a list of all the files checked for this particular stats run and any problems found...so for instance if one debt does not have a category assigned to it, this list will enable you to go back to the client file and correct the problem.
Priority and Non Pri. These are lists with creditor names and total amount owed to them. If a name appears on this list with an asterisk, it means the red box was empty and the program has used the debt name from the FS screen. (The file would be listed in the Files Used list as having the agency name missing)
At the bottom are two boxes which allow you to merge two lines of the stats, so you could merge NatWest and Nat West using these, the choice is there to make the merge for this run only, or permanently. If you have entered the creditor name from the database as described above, you should rarely need to merge...if you find you are using it frequently, review your input procedures to use the database for all creditors
All the above lists only include those files with start dates falling between the two dates set at the start of the stats run. These figures will be retained until you do another stats run.
The Main menu statistics item also allows you to view the File List which is just a list of your client files with some information about each file. This list can be sorted several ways.
You can also print the entire creditor database, but take care...it may have 50 pages !!!
Customising the statistics setup
If required you can customise the PGdebt statistics, by changing, adding or deleting various categories or items that appear in the lists of choices. All changes are made on the Options/Supervisor/Statistics Screen and should be made only by the Supervisor. Unwise changes here can wreck your stats, take care. There are special requirements to be followed if you have PGdebt on more than one PC...make sure you follow these...see later.
Changing the lists
First select the list you need change from the column of choices on the left. The list items will appear in the central box. 3 options are available for each list so that you can Add, Modify or Delete a list item.
To add a new item just type it into the top box and click 'Add'...the new item will appear in the list
To modify an item, first select the item then change it by typing in the new version in the middle section and clicking on 'Modify'.
To delete an item, select it and click 'Delete'.
NB. It is
vital to understand the exact meaning of Modifying an item. If you select the
Debt Categories list and highlight the item 'Gas bill' you could perhaps modify
this to read 'Gas'. The essential meaning is the same and all previous
stats entries of 'Gas bill' will now be converted to 'Gas'...however if you had
gone about this by 'Deleteing' the 'Gas bill' entry and then 'Adding' a new
entry named 'Gas'... the effect would not be what you wanted as all previous
'Gas bill' entries would now be converted to 'Unknown category' as you have
deleted the reference to Gas bill.
The vital point is this...if you modify an entry, all previous references will be replaced with the new name, if you delete an entry, all previous references to this will be lost for ever and listed as 'Unknown category'...take great care !...only Supervisors should change these things and then only after careful thought.
Client 'User' stats lists
You can make up your own lists to go in these sections if you wish, the procedure is the same as above for the other lists, but you can also change the title of these lists. A common use for these is to record which location a client lives in.
There are 4 misc. sections but they all have the same list of choices...remember with misc. lists you can choose two items from the same list, this is not possible with the other stats lists.
The place to add new worker names is hidden away on the stats set up screen, as the procedure is exactly the same as above.
Stats if you run PGdebt on more than one PC
If your license permits, you can run PGdebt on several PCs (not networked)...this brings many problems, but it can be done with care. The most serious problem is related to stats. When you make changes to the stats setup by customising the lists as described above, these are recorded in a special file on the hard disc. This file must be identical, repeat identical, on every PC, if the stats are to work correctly.
It is not good enough to change 'Gas bill' to 'Gas' on one PC, then go around and do the same to the others...the file may not be changed in an identical manner.
There are several ways to deal with this:
1. If you do not use PGdebt for stats you can ignore this issue
2. If you do not make any changes to the stats setup, you will not change the stats control file and so you can ignore this ( changes to the worker names are permitted) This is the easiest option...PGdebt default stats are good enough for most bureaux.
3. You can synchronise the PCs to keep the stats control file the same on all of them. To do this you must assign one of the PCs to be the 'master' and make any stats setup changes on that one only whenever a change is made on the master, you then make a special 'synch disc' on the master and then take this to the other PCs in turn and synchronise the stats control file. This is not difficult, but it does need a proper, disciplined approach. Supervisors only should change the stats setup. There are other Technical Bulletins dealing with running more than one PC
To minimise problems with the PGdebt stats, please try to avoid tinkering with the stats setup. The default setup was designed for Citizens Advice Bureaux and is quite satisfactory for most users. If you do want to change the set up, proceed this care and keep changes to the minimum. Think twice before deleting an entry.