Barnet Homes has been adapting to the COVID-19 emergency situation and realigning services to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable residents.
Our main Customer Contact Centre remains open. We moved to an emergency and urgent-only repairs service from 23 March 2020 in order to support those who need it most. We are now accepting requests for routine repairs, though wait times may be longer.
Customer Contact Centre: We have begun using a new system for our Contact Centre, and have recorded a large increase in call quality. After a dip in call volumes, we have now seen call levels return to normal. With an increase in staff members working remotely, calls may not always be as stable as we would like. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
We are experiencing technical issues with the customer portal, which are being investigated by our software supplier. As a result, we are not currently accepting any new sign-ups to the customer portal.
Anyone previously signed up should still have access, but if they cannot, we will keep a log of their details for when the issue is resolved. However, this means that in the meantime, they will unfortunately not be unable to access their online account.
We apologise for the inconvenience this may be causing and endeavor to have a resolution or alternative solution in place as soon as we can.
Housing Options: The service’s face-to-face reception has closed, with contact moved to phone/online. Members of the public will not be able to enter Barnet House. The service is working with partner organisations to support and provide accommodation for those who are street homeless during this period. While the service is no longer running an open reception, there will still be an element of face-to-face contact for individual circumstances.
If you are dropping off keys, please call 020 8359 4785 in advance. You will need to drop your keys off through our letterbox, but there is also some paperwork which needs to be completed.
Major Works and Adaptations: Teams are continuing as normal as much as possible, but are working with contractors to assess each programme on a daily basis. Where residents are self-isolating, we will respect their requests and not enter their homes. There are some sites where work has stopped or will stop altogether, but we will contact residents individually in these cases.
Electrical works: Compliance inspections are carrying on as normal, and teams are working to complete inspections which had been temporarily postponed during lockdown.
Gas Safety: Our gas servicing programme is continuing as normal, but we are increasingly seeing some residents not wishing to allow access and are keeping this under close review.
Fire safety: Our fire risk assessment programme is carrying on as normal at the moment and we are considering reallocating some fire safety actions to third-party contractors to ensure they are completed on time.
Repairs and Maintenance and Void Property refurbishment: We are still prioritising emergency and urgent repairs. These include repairs which affect the security of your property, total loss of electricity, gas or water, total loss of heating, serious water leaks that cannot be contained, blocked toilets or any leaks involving foul waste.
From 1 June, we are accepting reports of routine repairs from residents. However, waiting times will be considerably longer than usual. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
The void service is operating, but is facing some material supply issues, as suppliers have stopped services, or offer collection-only services. Some suppliers are beginning to offer pre-order and delivery services, meaning we can maintain operations.
Lifts: Services are operating as normal, with all passenger lifts being serviced and repaired. Stairlifts are not currently being serviced, but emergency repairs are taking place.
Rent: Resources have been realigned to focus on repayment arrangements and supporting residents through this difficult period. Customers have been encouraged to pay their rent via the automated telephone line. No new possession orders are being taken, and evictions have been suspended. The team is also providing increased welfare benefits advice to those who need it. Our Rental Income Team have now moved to a new telephony system and have seen an increase in call quality and stability.
Leasehold: Resources have been realigned to focus on priority tasks and supporting our Customer Contact Centres. Leaseholders are continuing to be supported where necessary, and communicated to regularly.
Anti-Social Behaviour: High priority case management is continuing, but officers will only attend emergencies situations.
Neighbourhood management: The team have prioritised the most essential work and are planning for future changes to support the Customer Contact Centres.
Community Centres: Based on government advice it is likely that these will be closed to comply with social distancing measures.
Environmental services (Caretaking, Grounds Maintenance and Bulk Refuse): Our caretaking service has moved to operate an essential-only service, with caretakers focusing on cleaning the external areas of the estates and a reduced service on the internal areas of the blocks. Caretakers will carry out Health and safety checks when they visit the estate and ensure any urgent cleaning matters are dealt with. Grounds Maintenance will only be cutting grass ensuring it does not become too tall and unmanageable. All other Grounds maintenance duties will be suspended until further notice. Grounds Maintenance staff will focus on supporting the caretaking and bulk refuse collection teams when required. The Bulk Refuse Service is currently operating at a full-service capacity, but is being supported by caretakers. This may change should staff levels change and operatives are re-deployed.
Sheltered Housing and Floating Support: Staff are supporting vulnerable residents, especially around the provision of food and medicine.
Our community: We are leading on a COVID-19 Community Task Force, combining public and 3rd sector organisations. We will be focusing efforts on working with the most vulnerable in our community, especially those aged over 70, who we are calling individually. We are also writing directly to the most vulnerable in our community.
BOOST & Welfare Reform Taskforce: Operating a phone and email-only service but experiencing higher levels of demand which are being managed.