Update on our services: 23 February

The Prime Minister’s announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown and the continuing success of the vaccination roll-out brings with it some much-needed optimism and marks a turning point in Covid restrictions being lifted.

As an end to lockdown draws closer, the Government has said that they’re aiming to remove restrictions in a cautious way which means we hopefully won’t see a return to lockdown – something that I’m sure we’d all welcome. It’s natural too, that some of us may feel nervous about the end of the strictest measures of lockdown, but there has also been encouraging news from scientists about the vaccine and the effect it has on reducing hospital admissions.

We’re encouraging everyone to have the vaccine when offered the opportunity and while we recognise it’s a matter of individual choice, we want everyone to be in the best position to make an informed decision. We recognise that customers from BAME communities may have particular barriers or concerns and additional information - including vaccine resources in different languages - can be found here. Please take some time to find out the facts from official and reliable sources. A good place to start reading is the NHS guide.

As the vaccine roll out gathers pace, we will start asking customers whether they are vaccinated or not. This is particularly relevant when you need to see someone face to face or where services are being delivered in your home. We’ve put together some Frequently Asked Questions help you understand why we’re interested in this information, which you can read here.

While we inch closer to something more like our ‘normal’ lives, I want to assure you that we are continuing to offer our full repairs service to customers where it is safe to do so.  However, it will be inevitable that some of our non-emergency repairs will take longer than usual to complete due to colleagues and contractors being off with Covid related symptoms or those needing to self-isolate. This means that we will be prioritising emergency and urgent repairs and given this, other repair work is likely to take longer than usual. If your repair is not urgent and you can delay your call, this will certainly help us to prioritise those in most need.

We also appreciate that Covid may have had an impact on your finances and you may be worried about your rent payments. We want to reassure you that if you are unable to make a rent payment because you are now on reduced hours, or you have lost your job because of the coronavirus, you will not lose your home.  Please talk to us if you are struggling so that we can work with you to agree a flexible payment arrangement that considers your individual circumstances.

The pandemic has been an extremely difficult time for all of us and no doubt we will still have some challenges ahead. But, with the news that we may soon be able to see family and friends again, it does finally feel like there is light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel. In the meantime, please continue to follow the guidelines being issued by the Government and together we can help control the virus and prevent the spread.

Nicholas Harris

Find out more

We’re working hard to continue delivering services throughout the coronavirus pandemic and to support our customers – in particular those who most need our help. There’s more information on our dedicated page, with details of where to find support as well as info on our current service levels.

We’ll keep our services under constant review, and, as we have throughout the course of the pandemic, we will be guided by government advice in order to ensure we’re keeping our colleagues, customers and contractors safe. In the meantime, a full list of what is permitted is available on the Government website.