Coronavirus updates and information

icons relating to exiting lockdown


Keeping customers and staff safe while working in your home

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our primary focus has been on delivering essential services to customers, while keeping each other safe and reducing the risk of transmission. 

We remain focused on ensuring everything we do is done safely. Thank you for your support in helping us do this:

  • If you have developed Covid-19 symptoms, or had a confirmed case, within the last 7 days please contact us straight away so that we can update our records. We ask this to ensure we are protecting our staff and other customers and reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Please wear a face mask when a tradesperson or other GreenSquare staff member is working in your home.

When you contact us to report a repair, our contact centre staff will ask you some additional questions, and so will our operatives when they visit your home. When our operatives arrive at your home, they will be wearing uniform, gloves and a face mask. They will knock on your door and stand two metres back. Once they have all the necessary information, they may change their personal protective equipment to ensure it is more suitable for the task they have to do. We ask that you wear a face mask while the operative is inside your home.

We have comprehensive risk assessments in place that follow the government’s COVID-secure guidelines – and are observing the requirements of the UK government 'track and trace' procedure. This includes notifying customers in the event that a staff member with whom they have been in contact is self-isolating because of suspected or confirmed coronavirus. GreenSquare has no further liability in such circumstances, and it is for affected individuals to consider their civic duty to self-isolate in line with government guidelines.

Find out more about how we are keeping you and our staff safe while working in your home.

 

Gas service appointments

This short video explains how we will keep you, your family, and our staff safe during a gas service appointment.

 

Latest service update 

(updated 7 April 2021)

The cautious and gradual easing of national restrictions that began last month is focused initially on increasing options for social contact. While the government has outlined target dates for the easing of certain restrictions, these are not set in stone and are dependent on continued improvement in infection rates.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, we remain focused on providing essential services while keeping customers and colleagues safe and reducing the risk of spreading the virus. During the most recent lockdown we temporarily scaled back our repairs and maintenance service to the same ‘emergency-plus’ service we offered during the first lockdown between March and July last year.

Over recent weeks, there has been positive news of the reduction in infections and an ever-increasing number of people in our communities have been vaccinated. We know how important our repairs service is to you and we believe the risk of transmission has now reduced to a point where we can safely and confidently resume our normal full repairs service again from this week.

All new repair requests will be processed through our normal channels via our contact centre and delivered by our in-house team.

We are also working to clear the backlog of routine repairs held while we have been operating the 'emergency-plus' service. Due to the volume, we will be using contractors to support our in-house team in completing some of these repairs over the next few months. The contractors we’ll be using have worked for us for several years and we are confident of their quality and attention to customer service.

We appreciate your patience while we work hard to get things back to normal. If you have any questions you can send us a message using myGreenSquare or an email to info@greensquareaccord.co.uk or call our Customer Services team on 0300 111 7000.

 

Remember that we have produced a range of 'how to' guides to help you deal with various maintenance-related tasks in your home without a tradesperson needing to visit; view these here

 


 

In this section

 


 

 Customer service

Our current contact centre hours are Monday to Thursday 8am-5.30pm, Friday 8am-5pm. Remember you can get in touch with us using myGreenSquare, email, or phone (full details are on our 'Contact us' page). At other times calls will continue to be handled by our out-of-hours provider.

Our customer reception at Methuen Park, Chippenham, is closed until further notice.

 

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 Repairs and appointments

During lockdown, we prioritised essential health and safety-related work (including gas safety inspections and other compliance work) and services to our most vulnerable. This helped ensure we could target and use our resources in the most effective way.

Emergency repairs include (but aren’t limited to):

  • total loss of electricity
  • total loss of water supply
  • any loss of heating or hot water
  • any serious leaks in your home
  • any unsafe or insecure external window, door or lock.

Keeping you safe in your home remains our priority. We have recently updated the fire and electrical safety section on our website; please take the time to read this important information here.

We ask all customers requesting emergency repairs, or other essential visits, to please let us know if they are self-isolating or otherwise affected by coronavirus as we need to protect our colleagues too.

Find out how we are keeping you and our staff safe while working in your home.

 

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 Letting and viewing process

Once your local authority has nominated you for one of our properties, or you have made a successful bid through their choice-based letting system, we’ll contact you to complete an application and needs assessment over the phone.

We’ll ask you about your income and expenditure, and ask you some questions about your family’s needs. This is to make sure the property is suitable for you. We’ll ask you to send us copies of identification, and any immigration documents, for you and anyone 18 or over, who will be part of your household by email, text or post to check your right to rent. This is important as we cannot complete your application until we have all the information we need to do this.

Once we’ve completed the application process, and know the property is likely to be suitable for you, we’ll arrange a viewing.

Viewing your home

Your safety and that of our staff is extremely important. Our colleagues will be wearing masks and gloves and following social distancing (as per national guidelines). Please bear in mind we can allow only one person, or two if this will be a joint tenancy, to view the property.

Please don’t bring any children with you as our colleague at the property won’t be able to let you in. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for an occupational therapist to accompany you if needed, but this must be arranged in advance.

  • You will be asked three Covid-19 screening questions before we arrange an appointment with you to viewing.
  • We’ll give you a phone number to call to let us know you have arrived.
  • We’ll open doors before inviting you into the property but won’t accompany you inside. Please sanitise your hands before entering and try not to touch any surfaces unless this is essential.
  • When you have left the property the member of our team will phone you. They will answer any questions or queries you have and will let you know what should happen next.

Signing your tenancy

  • We’ll arrange an appointment with you to go through the documents over the phone. And we will email the documents needed for your sign-up appointment to you in advance.
  • Our housing officer/community officer/house manager will call you to go through the documents with you and any joint applicant. They will provide any additional information you might need.
  • Joint applicants both need to sign the tenancy agreement and return copies via email.
  • After your tenancy agreement is signed, we’ll give you the code to a key safe (and let you know where the safe is), where you will find a key to your new home.

Follow the link below to download this information for future reference:

Letting and viewing process (PDF)

 

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 Mutual exchange service

We are continuing to process mutual exchange applications, but this is kept under review. Some landlords have suspended their exchange service, so before sending an application to us, please check that the other landlord involved will process your application.

It’s important that you are happy with the home you want to move to. We will only carry out repairs that are our responsibility, so you will be accepting responsibility for the condition of the property yourself, after you exchange.

Changes you should be aware of before applying to exchange homes

  • You should check the latest government advice about moving home before deciding to apply for an exchange.
  • You must follow government guidelines when visiting or viewing someone's home as part of your exchange application.
  • We cannot accept an application to exchange if the other landlord involved has suspended their exchange service.
  • To keep customers and staff as safe as possible, we have suspended visits to customers' homes to complete property inspections. Instead, we will send you an inspection form to complete yourself. After the inspection form has been completed and returned to us, we will send you a copy to review.
  • If you are unsure about the property condition, layout or repairs needed, you should wait and apply again after restrictions have been lifted, and it's safe for us to carry out a property inspection.

 

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 Financial support

We know that these are frustrating and unsettling times for everyone.

If you are worried about financial difficulties, we encourage you to get in touch with us straight away – by either emailing us at info@greensquareaccord.co.uk or by sending us a message via myGreenSquare – so that we can offer help and support as soon as possible.

Government information to explain furlough and other benefits during this time can be accessed here: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support

 

 

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 Foodbanks

We know it’s a challenging time for everyone at the moment as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds. Foodbanks are community organisations aimed at supporting people who cannot afford the essentials in life.

Foodbanks work with referral agencies to provide food vouchers for people in crisis – please don't contact a foodbank directly yourself. Instead, in the first instance, please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, or your local council, to get a voucher for your local foodbank, and for further information about what to do next. If you're a regular user of a foodbank, please contact your usual voucher provider.

Once you have been issued with a voucher, you can exchange this for three days’ emergency food at your nearest foodbank centre. (If you are not given a voucher or voucher number, you will be given alternative guidance/instructions.)

Please be aware that foodbanks are making every effort to stay open during this crisis, but many are largely dependent on volunteers, so their service might also be affected at this time.  

If you can afford food but are unable to get it due to self-isolating or for another reason, please contact your local council or Citizens Advice.

 

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 Community groups, support and information

Communities across the country have risen to the challenges presented by the coronavirus to make sure people are supported through this very difficult time.

To find local community support in your area, please visit one of the following (we will continue to update this information if and when it changes):

Oxfordshire

Wiltshire

Swindon

Gloucestershire


If you are having difficulties managing essential items for your household including food or medication please let us know as we may be able to signpost or refer to organisations who can help.

The government is also providing additional support to those at increased risk from coronavirus. People at increased risk include those who are 70 or older, are pregnant or have a condition that may increase your risk from coronavirus including:

  •  lung conditions, such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis;
  •  heart disease, such as heart failure;
  •  chronic kidney disease;
  •  liver disease, such as hepatitis;
  •  conditions affecting the brain and nerves, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy;
  •  diabetes;
  •  problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you've had your spleen removed;
  •  a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy; and
  •  being very overweight (a BMI of 40 or above).

To register you should visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or if you do not have easy access to the internet please contact us on 0300 111 7000 and we can support you with this. Please note that you will need your NHS number to register.

 

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 Domestic abuse support

SafeLives have published a guide on staying safe to support victims of domestic abuse through this challenging time. Read it here.

Always call 999 if it's an emergency or you're in immediate danger.

Wiltshire

The Phoenix Project
Tel: 01225 775276
Email: helpdesk@splitz.org
Website: https://www.splitz.org

Gloucestershire

GDASS
Tel: 01452 726570
Email: support@gdass.org.uk
Website: https://www.gdass.org.uk

Oxfordshire

Domestic abuse support services in Oxfordshire

 

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 Working safely during Covid-19 – risk assessments

We have comprehensive risk assessments in place that follow the government’s COVID-secure guidelines – and are observing the requirements of the UK government 'track and trace' procedure. This includes notifying customers in the event that a staff member with whom they have been in contact is self-isolating because of suspected or confirmed coronavirus. GreenSquare has no further liability in such circumstances, and it is for affected individuals to consider their civic duty to self-isolate in line with government guidelines.

Our specific risk assessments can be viewed here.

 

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 GreenSquare's track and trace process

In response to the coronavirus pandemic GreenSquare has implemented a Covid-19 track and trace process to ensure we are meeting our duty of care obligations to our staff, customers and visitors at GreenSquare premises and properties under the Health and Safety Act 1974. We aim to quickly identify staff, customers and visitors who may have come into contact with a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19, during the course of our organisation’s activities, and advise them to follow the government’s current guidelines on self-isolation and testing.

We collect the following information when you access our premises or book an appointment at one of our properties:

  • name
  • location visited
  • date of visit and arrival time and departure time 
  • phone number

This information is already collected as part of our everyday activities including under our duty of care as an employer, our legal obligations as a landlord and, to fulfil contractual obligations. An exception is our requirement to collect contact numbers at our premises and log staff shifts. This data is retained for 21 days and then securely destroyed. It takes into account the 14-day incubation period, and the infectious period of the virus.

If you subsequently contact us to advise that you or your household have ‘suspected Covid-19 symptoms’ or a ‘positive test for Covid-19’ we will share this information with relevant parties in the GreenSquare Group. This is to identify any individuals who may have been in close contact with you to advise them to follow the Government’s guidelines on self- isolation and testing.

Current government guidance also requires us to contact our local Public Health England (PHE) health protection team to report more than one case of Covid-19 associated with our premises and some properties. If the local PHE health protection team subsequently declares an outbreak, we will be asked to record details of symptomatic staff and assist with identifying contacts including customers and visitors via the manual NHS Test and Trace service.

We will collect symptomatic staff details under Article 9(2)(b) of the GDPR and meet the additional Data Protection Act 2018 Schedule 1 requirement under (1) (a) with our legal duty of care obligations as an employer. Subsequent details will be shared with PHE for the performance of its official tasks carried out in the public interest.

We will only share customer and visitor information with the manual NHS Test and Trace service at their request. This is in the interests of the individual, the organisation, and the public health efforts to tackle Covid-19, to identify people who may have been exposed to Covid-19 for the purpose of contact tracing. We will only share the following information when requested by Test and Trace:

  • the name of the customer or visitor, or if it is a group of people, the name of one member of the group 
  • a contact phone number for the customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people 
  • date of visit and arrival time and departure time 

Test and Trace would at this point become responsible for compliance with data protection legislation.

If customers and visitors do not want their details to be shared with Test and Trace then please select ‘opt out’ on sign in sheets at premises or notify the contact centre or, relevant GreenSquare member of staff when booking an appointment.

 

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 Useful resources

GOV.UK – Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

NHS – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for everyone

Universal Credit – Coronavirus and claiming benefits

Citizens Advice – Free, confidential information and advice

 

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