Coronavirus customer update

Coronavirus update – 27 March

As concerns continue about the spread of coronavirus, we wanted to highlight the current advice being given which affects our services and let you know what we will be doing as an organisation.

We will continue to monitor the situation and update you regularly via this page.

It is now very clear that we are all living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

We are determined to help you, our customers, through this difficult period. We are available when you need us and will do everything we can, especially to help those who are more vulnerable at this time.

These are the three priority steps we are taking to support you:

– We will continue an emergency repairs service, making use of the very best safe-working practices. We are following Government guidance and are confident that we will be able to complete emergency repairs to keep you safe in your home.
– We will extend our core Contact Centre hours from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. This will make it easier for you to speak to us when it is convenient for you. Whilst most of us are now at home, we know many customers are still working very hard in the NHS and elsewhere to tackle this crisis. As always, we are available 24/7 for emergencies.
– We will continue to provide key services. Some services usually provided face to face will increasingly happen online or by phone. Our office staff are working from home using new technologies and are still available.

Contacting us

Our Contact Centre is operating as normal but all our offices are closed to customers until further notice.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or concerns, we will do our best to help. You can contact us by telephone on the usual number, 0300 555 0600, email us at customerservices@onward.co.uk or through our social media channels.

Keeping you safe

We are following government guidelines and are able to complete emergency repairs and vital safety checks, such as servicing gas appliances. We can do this in a way that is safe for you and your household and for our operatives.

If you are self-isolating, please inform us immediately and we will make appropriate arrangements. Where we can, we will delay, but in an emergency, we will be able to make your home safe.

The latest update on our repairs service 

– We will continue an emergency repairs service, making use of the very best safe-working practices to protect you in your own home.
– Any non-emergency repairs will be suspended for the time being.
– We are following Government guidance and are confident that we will be able to complete emergency repairs to keep you safe in your home.

What if I have an emergency repair and I, or someone living in my household, is self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms?

We will aim to carry out the emergency repair if possible. However, please follow a few simple steps to help keep everyone safe:

– Remain at least two metres away from any worker, or ideally in another room, with the door closed.
– Windows and doors should be opened to ventilate the area.
– Wipe down door handles and surfaces before the operative comes into your home.
– The operative will wear protective gloves and use certified hand sanitizer before and after the visit. They will remove any materials used from your home.
– If you are unable to follow social distancing instruction, our operative will be required to remove themselves from the property.

What if I have an appointment already booked in the next 3 weeks?

– All non-emergency repairs have been suspended for the time being and we will let you know when this position changes.
– You will need to re-book your appointment when we have resumed normal services. We will post regular updates here, so please make sure you are checking regularly.

What about other types of building work such as new kitchens and bathrooms, doors and window installations?

We have decided to pause planned maintenance work in customers’ homes, including kitchen and bathroom installations, window and door fitting and central heating works.

If work has already begun in your home, then the work will be completed to a satisfactory standard to ensure your safety. We will seek to resume work at the earliest opportunity and will let you know when this is confirmed.

What financial support is available?

We understand that the current situation will put pressure on household finances for many. The help available is changing daily, so if you are in any doubt about your ability to pay rent, the best thing to do is to pick up the phone and call us to discuss your circumstances. We will listen and do our best to help you find a way through.

We have a dedicated team on hand to provide guidance and support. The team are accessible via our Contact Centre on 0300 555 0600.

Alternatively, you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau and Welfare Rights Service, or access the latest Government advice about financial support at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
You may also find some useful information through the following links:
www.gov.uk/universal-credit
www.entitledto.co.uk
www.ofgem.gov.uk/coronavirus

Will grounds maintenance works continue?

We have decided to pause the delivery of services that do not pose an immediate risk to safety e.g. grass cutting. However, to keep you safe, we will continue to carry out essential tree works and inspections.

We will continue to provide a communal cleaning services for as long as we can and will prioritise those buildings with more vulnerable residents.

Whilst we will be unable to respond to incidents of tipping or rubbish clearance, due to local tip closures, we will have teams on call to respond to serious environmental problems that arise.

As always if you have any enquiries please contact us on 0300 555 0600.

We hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and well during this difficult time.

For our most up-to-date information, please visit www.onward.co.uk/coronavirus.

Read our further FAQs and advice here