Coronavirus - our services for customers

Last updated: 7 April 2021

We’re pleased to share that we are now able to increase our services to you, whilst continuing to make sure that we keep everyone in your home and our colleagues safe.

We’ve carried out risk assessment to make sure that we comply with the government’s guidance on managing risk and being ‘COVID-secure’ and we have consulted with customers to ensure that the steps we are putting in place takes a safety first approach.

We are now trying to provide as full a service as we possibly can but we may have to deliver some of our services differently to ensure that you, our residents and our colleagues can remain safe.

We want to thank all of our customers for their continued understanding whilst we are continuing to work through the current COVID-19 pandemic.

We will continue to communicate and update the information here about our services, what you can expect and how we will support you to stay safe.

See below for the changes we are making to our services.

We are here should you need to contact us however our face-to-face contact with customers will still be limited in line with the government guidance. There are several ways you can get in touch.

Great Places customers – The quickest way to get in touch with us is via Chatabot, our new digital assistant. If Chatabot can’t answer your query, it will put you through to our friendly customer service team on Live Chat during office hours or contact the team to get back to you as soon as they can.

Look to the bottom right of the screen and click on the Ask Chatabot tab to start your chat.

You can also contact us through our customer self-serve portal

You can also email us at cat@greatplaces.org.uk for all general enquiries and repairs@greatplaces.org.uk to report a repair.

You can also call our Customer Hub on 0300 123 1966.

Equity Region customers* - you can get in touch with us by calling our Customer Solutions Team on 0300 123 4460 or emailing us at customersolutions@greatplaces.org.uk.

*If you were an Equity customer prior to 1 April 2020, you are now part of the Equity Region.

We understand that this has been one of the more difficult delays for you during the lockdown period, but as of Monday 12 April, we restarted our full repairs service. 

Click here to report a repair

How we will keep customers safe

Our colleagues who are working to deliver services in your home will ensure they follow all of the Government guidance to keep you safe.

Once your repair appointment has been confirmed, prior to the repair operative attending your property, they will call you to carry out a telephone assessment to confirm there are no changes to any circumstances to the health of all residents within your home.

On arrival at the property the repair operative will also make a final check with you to confirm if you have been unwell/other residents in the property have been unwell or are shielding. The doorstep check is a final precautionary measure to protect the health and wellbeing of customers and colleagues. Whilst this may appear intrusive it is necessary to make sure we can deliver your service safely.

All of our colleagues who visit your home to carry out a repair will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and will follow a strict cleaning regime including sanitising their hands and using antibacterial wipes to clean the working area of the repair and their tools and equipment.

If you’re unwell but your repair is an emergency, we’ll put special measures in place to get your repair done. If for any reason this isn’t possible, we’ll talk to you about whether there’s another way we might be able to gain access and resolve the issue.

What you must do to keep our colleagues safe

When we carry out any repairs in your property the repairs operative will advise you to:

  • Make sure that you keep a 2 metres distance whilst they carry out the repairs in your home
  • Make sure the area where the repair is being carried out is well ventilated – open windows and doors
  • Make sure that all internal doors in your home remain open, to minimise contact with door handles
  • Make sure all residents in your home move to another room, as far away as possible from the room where the repair is being carried out

Remember it is really important that you keep a 2 metre distance from our colleagues at all times, stay in a different room from where our colleague is working and if possible wear a face covering.

Please follow the latest government guidelines regarding the number of guests in your property. If we are due to attend your home and the safety of our colleagues is at any risk then our colleagues will not enter your property and your visit will be cancelled. 

The safety of our customers is a top priority. When it comes to gas safety, it's a legal requirement that an annual gas safety check is carried out in each of our properties and that your gas appliances are serviced regularly and checked once a year.

The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that in accordance with Public Health England guidance, our obligation to carry out an annual gas safety check at all of our properties has not been relaxed and we are still required to complete this essential work.

Therefore if you are due to have your annual gas safety check, we will be writing to you shortly to inform you of our plans to carry out this essential work.

We want to reassure you that any work carried out in your home, either by ourselves or by our contractor, will be done following government guidelines. This means they will implement social distancing keeping 2 metres apart and will also wear personal protective equipment where required. All engineers that visit your property will be taking all the necessary precautions whilst working in your home in order to keep you and them safe.

We have delivered a full caretaking and cleaning service at our blocks and schemes, working to Public Health England guidance throughout the pandemic. In addition we also increased our level of cleaning service at some Independence & Wellbeing schemes to reduce the risk to customers. Our caretaking and cleaning service continues to maintain their schedule across all of our blocks and schemes, to help prevent the spread of infection.

Our Grounds Maintenance contractors are delivering services across our neighbourhoods and will continue to maintain their maintenance schedule. They are adopting the social distancing requirements outlined by the Government to ensure customer and colleague safety. We ask that you also respect social distancing measures and remain in your home whilst any works are undertaken.

 

We are working to rehouse new customers and support existing customers to move home, although moves should be carefully considered to ensure the risk of infection is minimised.

We are continuing to work with local authorities and other partners in prioritising the allocation of properties and supporting those with the greatest rehousing needs.

This could include:

  • supporting victims of domestic abuse and people fleeing other forms of violence
  • preventing severe overcrowding
  • facilitating move-on from temporary accommodation
  • facilitating discharge from hospital to free-up bed space for others requiring care
  • supporting those living in unsafe accommodation, or without settled accommodation, which poses a risk to their health

We are continually reviewing our processes to ensure that where possible moves can be facilitated using digital and non-contact means. There are some activities which require access to customers homes, for example mutual exchange visits and we have suspended these until the lockdown is lifted. 

You can also contact our Customer Hub on 0300 123 1966 or speak to your Neighbourhood Services Manager for more information.

 

Our planned investment programme of works to customer homes is continuing. We have reviewed all of the guidelines issued by the Government and Public Health England and we want to reassure customers that all work undertaken will be carried out safely.

If you are due to receive investment works in the near future we will contact you to inform you of our plans and the safety measure we will be putting in place.

The current situation across the country will be affecting many of our customers in different ways and making sure you have a safe place to live is a priority to us. Your situation may have changed, you may have applied for Universal Credit for the first time or you may have been furloughed, no matter what your circumstances are if your circumstances have changed and you need help and support, please get in touch to see how we can help you.

We appreciate that this is a very difficult time for everyone and the current situation may impact your ability to pay your rent. We can assure you that you will not be evicted if you are negatively affected by Coronavirus but if you are unable to pay your rent you should get in touch with us as soon as you can, we are here to help.

If you are in receipt of benefits or still working, you will be expected to pay your rent as normal. We understand that each of our customers’ personal circumstances are different; so we have put together some frequently asked questions to assist you.

Click here to find out more.

The health and wellbeing of all our customers is our priority, even more so for those most vulnerable and our resources will continue to be directed to supporting these customers.

If you live at one of our Independent Living sites we will continue with our daily welfare checks and maintain the cleaning of contact areas.  All health and safety check will continue to be carried out along with any emergency and routine repairs required.

If you have a Tunstall system installed in your home, this is available 24 hours a day for any emergency you may have.

To help protect you and your neighbours we strongly advise that you follow government guidance by not inviting any visitors to your home unless they are delivering food and essential household items, medication or personal care.

We will continue to contact you to check you are able to access the essential goods and services that you need and should you have any problems we will work with you to put a suitable plan in place.

The Government has set out what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn, and when, and we want to reassure all customers that all our colleagues have the appropriate PPE to carry out their roles safely. Please don’t worry if you see any colleagues wearing varying levels of PPE, as this is all in line with our full risk assessments and the Government’s guidance. If you have any concerns, please feel free to ask our colleagues, whilst maintaining social distancing rules.

We will continue to carry out health and safety related checks, such as:

  • Health and safety inspections of corridors and communal areas
  • Weekly fire alarm and emergency lighting tests
  • Testing of water systems
  • Warden call servicing (where appropriate)
  • Gas safety checks

Remember you can help to protect yourself, your community and Great Places colleagues by following the government guidance. Please make sure you practice social distancing and keep a two metre distance between yourselves and anyone outside of your household. Remember:

  • Do not gather at the doors
  • Do not gather in the corridors or communal areas
  • If you have a communal lift, only one person in the lift unless direct family members

Respect our colleagues and make sure you give two metres distance.