We’re making some changes to our front-line services. This is to protect customers and staff, in line with the latest government guidance around dealing with Coronavirus.
We’re working closely with our NHS colleagues, and other public sector organisations, to ensure that we can continue to support and help residents and businesses in our district.
We appreciate this is an extremely difficult time for everyone. The scale of the effects of this pandemic are being assessed each day for our district. Our plans are being updated constantly to deal with the emerging situation as it happens.
These changes will allow us to continue to deliver essential services and deploy staff where they are needed, whilst keeping residents safe and supported.
Customer contact centre
Our customer contact centre remains closed for walk-in visits – this includes face-to-face appointments for Planning Surgeries and Housing Options surgeries. These will be replaced by specific appointments for priority customers. Where possible, customer enquiries will be by phone but for homeless customers some face to face meetings may still be required. There is no walk-in service at the Civic Centre.
Community Centres are closed for day-to-day use, including laundries. Sheltered housing schemes have closed communal areas.
Housing tenancy services have stopped all non-essential home visits and have limited visits to essential tenancy contact sign-ups and viewings, with a delay until a property is completed. Tenancy transfers applications are on hold until the emergency situation ends.
Where these essential face to face visits, meetings and appointments are going ahead there’ll be hygiene measures in place to reduce any risk to staff and residents.
We have around 900 tenants who are in vulnerable groups. We’re contacting them directly to let them now about these changes and to share the help that is available to them.
Our housing repairs team is carrying out emergency repairs only and our contractors are continuing to carry out gas and electrical inspection and servicing. These teams will check with tenants they are not isolating or have symptoms.
The proposed box takeback scheme for the old recycling boxes is on hold. The new wheelie bin service will begin as planned at the start of April.
Lifeline support service
The Lifeline team has suspended home visits but will contact customers by telephone and also offer help with shopping and prescriptions (charged at normal rate). The Ryecare out-of-hours service will prioritise essential calls.
All environmental health, enforcement, rent and anti-social behaviour inspections and visits will stop apart from emergencies. Revenue and benefits appointments will take place over the phone and property inspector visits will be limited.