Throughout the coronavirus pandemic our number one priority has been your safety. Now is not the time to lose that focus, and we’re determined not to.
We’re currently reintroducing services that had to be stopped or changed during the height of the pandemic. But we’re doing that gradually to ensure that our customers, and our people, are as safe as they can be throughout. And, of course, we’re still keeping a very close eye on government guidance when we’re reintroducing services.
The situation, and the guidance, is still changing regularly. So please bear with us during this period of change. I can assure you we’re working hard to get this right for everyone.
We’ll be using the experience gained from carrying out safety critical work on homes throughout the lockdown period.
Our gas engineers are a great example of the commitment to ensure your safety. They’ve completed more than 3,900 essential gas safety checks during the pandemic; adapting how they work and introducing extra personal protective equipment wherever necessary.
We’ve already reintroduced lots of work that we can do outside too. Our £138m home improvement programme is now underway again, for example.
From Monday, July 6 we’ll be reintroducing non-essential home repairs too. At first, we’ll only be working to clear the backlog of repairs that have been reported during the earlier stages of lockdown.
This is the biggest service we provide for our customers, so it would be wrong to say that there won’t be some logistical challenges. We also know that some supplies of materials will not quite be back to normal yet, so some of our repairs might still take longer than we’d all like.
We’re acutely aware that the world around us has changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Lots of us are living in very different circumstances than we were in February. Despite the lockdown, we’ve been able to work by telephone, email and video call to deliver a lot of support and advice to our customers. We’ve given nearly 1,000 customers advice on how to manage their money during the pandemic, we’ve helped to recover more than £390,000 in unclaimed benefits for our tenants, and we’ve supported 34 customers through domestic abuse issues. All despite our offices being closed throughout.
While we’re making the changes necessary to adapt to this different world, we’re determined to ensure that you, our customers, are at the heart of everything we do. During the coronavirus pandemic so far, our people have made nearly 10,500 calls to customers to check on their welfare. It has been one of the biggest success stories we’ve seen, and you’ve told us how much you value the approach. We’re looking at what we can learn from that success and how it can help us shape the services we provide in future.
Finally, its important to remember that government guidance on social distancing is still in place, alongside other measures to limit the potential for coronavirus to spread in our communities. If you’re in any doubt about what the latest guidance is, check www.nhs.uk.