UPDATED: 31 July 2020
*** Spike in Coronavirus cases in Oldham – We are monitoring the situation in Oldham, where we have a number of properties. We are currently operating an ’emergency plus’ repairs service in the Oldham borough, meaning that only emergency and critical repairs will be carried out. If you require an emergency repair but someone in your household is showing symptoms of Covid-19, please let us know so we can take extra safety measures.
While we continue to monitor Government advice closely, Jigsaw Group is entering a recovery phase with full services re‐establishing in line with the relaxation of Government restrictions.
On 23 March 2020, the Government announced a lockdown with travel to and from work only if absolutely necessary because of the coronavirus. Our offices closed on 24 March 2020. On 16 April 2020 the Government extended the lockdown by three weeks and whilst there have been other relaxations of the lockdown since, the message from the Government remains to work from home where possible.
All our employees have been asked to stay at home unless they:
- are site‐based and work in supported or extra care schemes;
- undertake fire safety, electrical checks or gas servicing in general needs properties;
- undertake void works or carry out emergency repairs;
- are unable to work effectively from home and safe-working in an office can be facilitated.
Your safety and the safety of our employees remains our priority. As we are working to re-establish the full range of our services, we may still not achieve our usual service standards. We wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused.
From 18 May 2020, and as an extension to the ‘emergency plus’ service, we started undertaking all urgent repairs. From 22 June 2020, we recommence taking routine repair requests from tenants, making appointments from the end of June to allow time to mobilise. Where it is safe to do so, we are also undertaking external repairs that do not require our technicians to enter the property.
Our call centre staff are equipped to work from home and receive calls from residents making inbound calls.
When requesting a repair please advise us if you or anybody in household is shielding / vulnerable etc. In households where someone is isolating due to having COVID – 19 symptoms or has been advised to shield we will only carry out repairs to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household. In these cases our operative will wear PPE including face mask and gloves.
What to expect when we attend a repair or maintenance appointment:
- Upon arrival our operative will display their official identification but a distance of at least 2 metres.
- They will ask you to confirm that everyone in the house is currently feeling well
- Please ensure that you and other members of your household maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres from the operative at all times. If this can’t be achieved the repair may not be able to be completed.
- Please ensure that children and pets are removed from the area of repair.
- Please open doors and windows in the area of repair if possible.
- Please do not offer our operative tea, coffee or other refreshments.
- Please do not hand or pass anything to the operative.
- You may notice that our operative washes their hands more than you might normally expect. Don’t be alarmed, this is in line with current Government guidelines.
- You may notice that our operative washes or wipes down an object or surface before handling, again don’t be alarmed, this is in line with current Government guidelines.
- If our operative needs to discuss aspects of the repair with you they may ask to speak to you outside of the property.
- If your repair requires more than one visit we will send the same operative where this is achievable.
- For most routine tasks (where none of the household has symptoms of COVID – 19 or is shielding) our operatives are not required to wear face masks, again this is in line with current Government workplace guidelines.
Gas and electrical safety checks
Following the Government’s advice our gas and electrical safety checks are continuing and we will contact you to make an appointment if your home is due a visit. We understand that many of our residents may be anxious of allowing our engineers to enter their homes during the pandemic, however, we can assure you that these essential checks are to ensure the continued safety of you and your family. Our operatives will only be required to enter rooms where your appliances are present and will ensure social distance is maintained at all times.
Rent payment and money advice
If you have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak and are struggling to pay your rent, we’re here to help. Please call our Connect contact service, who can arrange for you to speak to our expert money advice team. If you are one of our customers who pays their own rent, you can also expect to receive a call from a member of our team to discuss rent payment. This includes setting up new payment methods for cash payers who are self‐isolating, accepting lower payments when a tenant is unsure of their future income, issuing foodbank vouchers, signposting to debt advice, completing grant applications and making further referrals for food provision to local private and volunteer agencies. If you haven’t already, we would encourage you to register for our online services.
Following the Government’s advice on social distancing, we have made some changes to the way we carry out grounds maintenance during the current coronavirus (Covid-19) situation. As always, our main priority is the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff.
We reintroduced our grounds maintenance service in May. We have made some temporary changes to the way we carry out grounds maintenance. In the short term this means that we will focus on grass cutting and when it is possible our staff will spend more time on site to ensure the grounds are brought back up to the usual high
Coronavirus community support
We have pulled together a list of community support services which you may find helpful if you are in need during the Coronavirus outbreak. They include foodbanks and delivery services, mental health support, general advice and local Facebook groups you can join. Please visit our Group member websites for more information.
Our tenancy safety team can be contacted, via Connect, to discuss any problems with nuisance or noise that you may be experiencing.
Independent Living and Supported Housing Schemes
We carried out a business‐wide review of all our independent living and supported schemes to increase cleaning regimes in line with government guidance. We have provided advice to residents on how to protect themselves through proper hygiene. We have liaised with the care teams who work in our buildings and commissioned by local authorities to ensure continued care provision to our residents. We have closed communal lounges, taped off communal areas that cannot be secured and closed lavatories that are normally accessible to all residents and visitors. We have also asked residents to observe social distancing guidelines and not to invite external visitors into their schemes, although this is not something we can enforce as we have no legal powers to do so and our schemes are not staffed 24/7.
Many of our supported housing schemes have on‐site staff providing a 24 hour service. We are continuing to run these services, albeit on some occasions with reduced staffing levels. We will utilise teams from across all services to maintain as many supported housing services as possible, both 24 hour and visiting support. We are starting to mobilise some of our outreach services such as Housing First to support complex clients, following government guidance on social distancing.
Where it is possible to do so safely, our operatives will be working on refurbishing our current empty homes to enable them to be ready for when new tenants are able to move in.
We continued to let newly built properties handed over by developers from the beginning of the pandemic and worked with local authority homelessness services to let properties to those in greatest need.
In May we commenced letting all properties in the general needs category with a new digital letting process that maintains social distancing between employees and incoming tenants. We will work with you in the best way possible, while adhering to the latest measures in place on safe distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.
All our events across the neighbourhoods where we work, are cancelled with immediate effect. Please check our website for future updates on Neighbourhood activity. We wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Offices and Customer Hubs closed
While our offices remain closed to the public, we are taking the necessary measures to allow a limited number of employees to return where it is safe to do so. Our employees have been asked to stay and work from home unless they:
- are site-based and work in independent living, supported schemes or extra care schemes
- carry out fire safety checks in general needs properties
- carry out emergency repairs; or
- they work for statutory services we provide;
- are unable to work effectively from home and safe-working in an office can be facilitated.
Our employees will use phone and video-conferencing to communicate with customers, colleagues and partners where possible. Please do not visit our offices. If you have an urgent need to contact us during this time, please call us or chat with us on our website.
We will keep these arrangements under constant review as we are monitoring developments very closely. For more information, please see the Group’s Coronavirus Position Statement here.
While the lockdown has required us to scale back some services, we have been re-directing our efforts to other areas, where we could make a difference. We have been contacting by phone over 7,400 tenants, who may be more vulnerable to a serious illness if contracting coronavirus. It is reassuring to hear that many of the residents we spoke with are coping well during the lockdown. Those calls have also enabled us to put some people in touch with local services that can provide much needed assistance. Through Jigsaw Foundation, we have also funded foodbanks with more than £25,000.
Please regularly check our website as we will be publishing further guidance taking account of advice from central Government and Public Health England.
Thank you for working with us during these challenging times. Stay alert and follow the official government advice for the public here.
Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has any of the following:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.