We want to update all of our customers and those in our communities on our response to the Government’s announcement on Sunday 10 May where Boris Johnson outlined measures taking effect to encourage people to return to work.
You may have seen that the Mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region have written to the Prime Minister this week warning that the Government's change of coronavirus message comes "too early" for the North West. This is a sentiment that we share at One Manchester and so we want to explain what that means for different areas of the business.
Before this announcement, we had already decided that we would restart some services, so the following services are now in place:
- Our grounds maintenance service has resumed work in a limited way
- Along with conducting emergency repairs and gas safety checks, we have now resumed work on essential electrical safety checks
Yesterday (18 May) the government issued information about the measures that are in place to support social housing residents during the next phase towards reopening society. This information can be found on the government website here.
In order to ensure that the correct safety measures are in place to protect our colleagues, customers and communities, for the time being, all other services remain as they are, and we are not planning to resume any additional services for at least another few weeks. We will update our customers as soon as additional repairs services are safe to be resumed and we are working hard to make this possible in the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in. We ask that our customers please bear with us as safety must always come first.
Potential changes to services from June
We are working towards getting additional maintenance work underway, including external repairs to properties and increasing our empty homes work where this work can be carried out safely. In addition, the vast majority of development sites will have returned to site by the start of June and commercial lettings continue.
These services are being considered first as social distancing can be more easily maintained because human contact is limited, and the Government advise that the spread of the disease is much less likely outdoors.
In order to resume these additional services, we are reviewing our Quattro House facility and how we can improve on the current control measures to make it ‘Covid Safe’ if colleague numbers increase due to lock down easing. The government has issued guidance for all employers and we will be following that guidance and introducing additional measures to ensure that colleagues can access Quattro House safely. This will include risk assessments and the provision of additional PPE and is a significant undertaking, so resuming services won’t take place until the appropriate safety measures are in place at Quattro House.
Continuing to deliver services in new ways
Many services continue to be delivered by colleagues who can work from home, with some changes to how they are delivered, allowing for the fact that there is no face to face contact.
This has been going well in terms of keeping services running for our customers; for example, we have managed to continue our lettings service by offering virtual tours of properties and introducing a digital sign up process. Other services continue to be offered via telephone.
Government guidance remains that if you can work from home you should continue to do so, and One Manchester will remain operating in this way. This is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future and until this time our head office, Lovell House, and all other customer access points will remain closed.
How we’re supporting our customers
We want to reiterate that we are here to support you in any way we can. We’re currently calling all of our customers to find out how they are, and if they need support with anything. We’ve called over 3,000 people so far, and have helped them with their benefits, food support referrals and emergency support for medication.
You can find out all about the different support we’ve been providing, and how we’ve been helping our customers by checking out this document.
There is a dedicated support page on our website, where you can access advice on things such as money and benefits, utility bills, and employment and skills support.
If you are struggling, please contact us so that we can help and guide you to the support that is available. You can still get in touch with our contact centre using our web form, web chat or by calling 0330 355 1000.
Please keep checking this area of our website for all the latest information.