(updated 11 January 2021)
We have made changes to the way we work and the services we can offer during the national lockdown announced on 4 January.
While the current restrictions do not prevent our tradespeople from working in customers' homes, we have made the decision to minimise the visits we make to help keep customers and colleagues safe and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. We remain focused on ensuring that everything we do is done safely.
From 5 January, we will now temporarily scale back our repairs and maintenance service to the same ‘emergency-plus’ service we offered during the first lockdown between March and July last year.
The emergency repairs we will attend to include, but are not limited to:
We will continue to carry out all necessary compliance or health and safety-related work such as gas and electrical safety checks.
We had already announced a narrowing of our repairs and maintenance service to routine repairs only, meaning improvement and major works would be on hold until further notice.
Our contact centre will continue to take your requests for non-emergency repairs and improvement works; however, such jobs will be 'held' for scheduling at a later date when restrictions are eased. Our tradespeople will continue to work in empty homes (voids) due to the limited social contact and the importance of preparing properties for letting.
Customers who currently have an appointment for a non-emergency repair will be contacted and advised their appointment will not go ahead and that we will get in touch again to re-book once the current restrictions have been lifted.
Our housing officers and other Neighbourhoods team colleagues will not be carrying out non-essential home visits for now. Property viewings will continue, in line with the risk assessed process already in place, and virtual sign-ups are also unaffected by the latest changes. And while 55+ and Extra Care colleagues will continue with essential health and safety checks around the buildings, any visits to customers' homes will be limited to emergencies.
Our routine in-person surveyor inspections are on hold at this time but urgent/emergency inspections will still take place as required. We are now able to carry out surveyor inspections via video call; please let us know if you are happy for a video call inspection when you get in touch. If you would prefer to wait for an in-person inspection we can take details and contact you at a later date to confirm an appointment when restrictions are lifted.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.
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. More will be added in the coming weeks.
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:
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.
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.
This short video explains how we will keep you, your family, and our staff safe during a gas service appointment.
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.
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):
Since 24 August, customers have been able to report non-emergency repairs using myGreenSquare, email, or phone to our contact centre. Please note that our target for completing responsive repairs has been extended to 90 days due to the current situation.
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.
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.
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.
Follow the link below to download this information for future reference:
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 email@example.com 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
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.
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):
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:
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 01249 465 465 and we can support you with this. Please note that you will need your NHS number to register.
Always call 999 if it's an emergency or you're in immediate danger.
We are 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.
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:
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:
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.