Coronavirus updates and information

icons relating to exiting lockdown

We are really pleased to have been able to restart all services, in line with the latest government guidance. 

(View details of how we've restored services in the latest service update)

Our offices and Chippenham reception remain closed.

 

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. And we remain focused on ensuring everything we do is done safely.

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.

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.

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

 


 

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.

Since 24 August, customers have been able to report non-emergency repairs using myGreenSquare, email, or phone to our contact centre.

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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 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@greensquaregroup.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

 

 

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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

 

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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 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.

 

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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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