The Government has re-introduced a range of measures in response to the emergence of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19. Face coverings are now required in a wide range of indoor public spaces and people who can work from home are strongly encouraged to do so. Everyone is also being further encouraged to take sensible personal precautions and get vaccinated or take up the offer of a booster.
In light of these developments we have reviewed our approach to helping to keep our customers and staff safe. At this point we are not changing how we work as we continue to comply with government regulations and guidance. We take our responsibility for the well-being of our staff and customers very seriously and so if the situation changes as more is known about the new variant, we will continue to adapt our working practices as necessary to play our part in helping to manage the pandemic.
Here is the latest version of our Covid-19 frequently asked questions. If you have any other specific concerns or questions, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
What should I do to avoid catching coronavirus?
We recommend that you continue to follow official medical and health advice and recommendations provided by the Government, NHS and other reliable sources of health information.
While we recognise that it is a matter of personal choice, we are also encouraging our staff and customers to get vaccinated (including booster shots where appropriate) both for their own protection and to help protect others. Staff who can will also be working from home from Monday 13 December until further notice.
We also suggest that you keep an eye on responsible news sources, such as the BBC and official government websites, to stay up-to-date on developments as it is clear that Covid-19 remains a risk.
Getting vaccinated, reducing the amount of contact you have with people (particularly in poorly ventilated spaces) wearing face masks and hand washing still seem to the most effective ways of reducing your risk of catching the virus.
Will repairs, services and improvements still take place in my home?
Yes. Our repairs service and our planned works service (eg boiler replacements and updates to kitchens/bathrooms) have been operating normally throughout most of 2021 and will continue to do so unless we are forced to make further changes if, for example, many staff have to self-isolate through being in contact with someone infected with the virus. We will let customers know through our website and social media channels if this happens.
We are asking our staff and customers to follow government guidelines and requirements around wearing face coverings and social distancing during home visits. We recognise that even with the changes that came into force at the end of November, people still have choices about the protection measures they take but we are encouraging everyone to be sensible and respectful when interacting with our employees. We continue to follow the latest government guidance on repairs and other similar work being carried out in the home.
Please follow the guidance below if you have an appointment with a Futures team member or contractor:
- If you have an appointment with someone from Futures, or one of our contractors, that must take place in person, please wear a face covering and stay at least two metres (the height of an average door) apart from them during the visit. This is particularly helpful when the appointment is indoors.
- If one of our operatives has to visit your home, please allow them to use your facilities to wash their hands when they arrive and before leaving.
- Please leave the room when our operatives are working in your home, to help with social distancing.
- Please tell our customer services team before your appointment if you or anyone in your family has symptoms of Covid-19, are self-isolating, or if you are in a high risk or vulnerable group.
You will also be asked a series of Covid-19 related questions before an operative enters your home, and they may give you further advice based on your answers.
If our employees feel that they are being put at risk by the behaviour of anyone in the household while they are present they have the right to stop working and leave. And if you feel that one of our team members may have behaved in a way that could put you at risk of catching Covid-19 please let our customer contact team know.
If I have tested positive or am ill due to coronavirus, will you still come out to do repairs at my home?
Yes but we will only do ‘priority’ or ‘fast’ repairs if a member of the household has tested positive for coronavirus. We ask you to give this information as soon as possible so that we can ensure that our operatives have full PPE and can take precautions to keep themselves safe. We will ask you to isolate in a different room while the work takes place. We will also carry out repairs in a home where household members are shielding for health reasons.
Am I at risk of catching coronavirus from your staff visiting me?
Any Futures team member who shows signs of possible infection with coronavirus, or has tested positive for the virus, is instructed to self-isolate and not come into work. We are also encouraging any employee who thinks they may have the virus to be tested. Where home visits are necessary, we will carry out a full risk assessment and our operatives will wear PPE.
We are as confident as we can be that we are effectively controlling any potential risk of our employees passing on (or catching) the virus during home visits and you can also play a part in that by wearing a face covering and keeping socially distanced.
If you are self-isolating or anxious about letting anyone into your home you can rearrange a repairs appointment by contacting our customer services team but if you do this and our advice to you is that this is an emergency that needs to be resolved, this will be entirely at your own risk. If the repair poses a risk to life or the property, we may have to undertake the repair.
If you have an appointment for a gas service, you are legally required to allow us access to your home. This is for your own safety and in line with government guidance. If we are not able to gain access to your home on multiple occasions, we may have to consider legal action.
If you think that one of our team members has not followed the correct procedures or put you at risk, please let us know.
What will happen if Futures has to close down due to coronavirus?
We don’t see this as a significant risk based on the current situation. We have continued to work effectively since the start of the pandemic through multiple national lockdowns and have well developed systems to manage any similar future disruptions.
If I am sick and can’t pay my rent, or can’t afford to as I am out of work because of the pandemic, will my home be at risk?
Like other housing associations, our underlying policy is that nobody will be evicted as a result of hardship caused by the coronavirus outbreak. We would encourage any customers with money or work worries to use our money and employment advice services.
If I have special needs or someone in my family does, will you treat our repairs as urgent?
The safety and well-being of our customers and our staff is our number one priority. If you feel that you or a member of your household are at high risk of harm due to a repair need, please make our contact centre team aware of this.
Are home moves continuing as normal?
Yes. We simply recommend sensible social distancing and other precautions at any face-to-face meetings that are necessary as part of house moves.
How does the new guidance around face coverings affect the supported living schemes?
All customers in our supported living schemes are being asked to continue wearing a face covering in communal areas, unless exempt for medical reasons, as well as following the usual advice around hand washing and social distancing.
Our staff have been provided with appropriate PPE.
What will happen with community centres and communal lounges?
Community Centres will still be reopening fully before Christmas. If you want to book one of our community centres you will have to sign an agreement first and make sure that all appropriate measures are in place before and during their event. Please keep an eye on our website for updates as the situation is changing rapidly in response to the new Omicron variant. Communal lounges remain closed.