CORONAVIRUS FAQS

A number of customers have contacted us with a wide range of questions and concerns. We have tried to respond to the questions you have been asking in the section below. We will continue to update and add to these as and when we receive any further information. We are continuing to provide regular updates to the services we are providing here.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Absoloutely. Our contact centre team is working from home and happily taking your calls, but it would really help us if you could use one of our digital channels:

If you need to call us, you can on 0345 678 0555. Our lines are open between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday and between 8am and 12 noon on Saturday. Please bear with us if it takes longer to get through, we are dealing with a high volume of calls.

Absolutely, but to follow the government’s guidelines for social distancing, our customer partners and income teams are working from home. Don’t worry, these important teams can still be contacted by telephone, and our contact centre team will be happy to arrange a call-back for you.

Our top priority is keeping you safe. That means, in line with government advice, we need to work differently. Wherever possible, our teams are all working from home.

  • Our repairs service is emergency only, but we are re-starting some of our void (empty homes) repairs, lift maintenance and some grounds maintenance from 27 April. We will also accept some non-emergency repairs orders which will be logged so we can prioritise what work needs doing, but we won’t be making appointments with customers until we come out of lockdown. We will also look to re-introduce a fly-tipping service and rubbish removal service, but this depends on our contractors being able to dispose of items safely, either in storage or because council tips begin to open.
  • The repair types we class as an emergency are listed on page 10 of our Repairs Handbook. We will treat 'no hot water' as an emergency in the current situation as good sanitation will help reduce the risk of the virus being spread further.
  • Where we normally provide a cleaning service, such as in our independent living schemes, we will continue with this as it is critical in reducing the risk of the virus spreading.
  • We are now re-starting some of our grounds maintenance services, subject to contractors having the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). The services may vary from area to area but we are planning to re-start grass cutting (where cuttings can be properly disposed of), litter picking, weeding and plant control, health and safety (such as anything affecting pathways, control of shrubs and flower beds, tree works and pruning.

The latest updates on our services are available here

We will continue to deliver the following customer safety works:

  • Gas safety checks
  • Weekly fire alarm panel tests
  • Weekly flush of water systems in independent living schemes (by Accent keyworkers)
  • Weekly emergency lighting tests (when attending to fire alarm panel tests)
  • Warden call servicing in communal areas only
  • Fire risk assessments at high-risk schemes only and emergency remedial works (all schemes)

We are working really hard to deliver the best service possible. However, because the work our contractors can actually carry out is still limited, the repair types we class as emergency may change as the crisis continues. The repairs we currently class as an 'emergency' and those we will continue doing to ensure you are safe are:

  • Total loss of water or burst water main
  • Leaking water or heating pipe, tank or cistern (that cannot be contained)
  • Flooding or severe storm damage
  • Total loss of electrical supply or unsafe electrical fittings
  • Breaches of security to external ground floor doors and windows
  • Gas leak or blocked flue
  • Blocked main drains, soil pipe or sole toilet
  • Loss of heating (31 October – 1 May only)
  • Loss of hot water
  • Failure of lift (if this is the only lift available)
  • Failure of Warden alarm/call system
  • Fire damage
  • Door entry system failure (if no access available)
  • Loose or detached bannister or hand rail
  • Severe roof leak
  • Loss of keys (maybe rechargeable) if only one access to property

We will contact you so we can understand if we need to take any certain measures to carry out the repair safely. In line with current government guidance, this may mean that our contractors wearing gloves, mask and other personal protective equipment and keeping to social distancing.

You are not currently able to report repairs via MyAccount. If you think your repair is an emergency, please call us on 0345 678 0555.

While this national emergency continues, no Accent resident will lose their home because they cannot pay their rent. We are here to make sure people stay in their homes, and we will offer all the support you need to make sure this happens.

If you are worried because your circumstances have changed, please get in touch as soon as possible so we can help. We have specially trained colleagues who can help you. Contact us on 0345 678 0555 get in touch via email or use the live chat service via MyAccount.

Housing Systems (a trusted information company we use) has published detailed FAQs (frequently asked questions) on its website. We hope you find this information useful, but it isn’t a statement of law and can’t be relied upon. It may also change.

Although we are re-starting some non-emergency work where it is safe to do so (in our empty homes for example and outside on our estates), we are still following government guidance for non-essential movement to help stop the virus spreading further.

We are working hard to deliver the services we can, but we need to act responsibly to keep our top priority of protecting the safety of our customers and our colleagues, and helping the NHS save lives.

We will continue to monitor the situation daily, and keep you updated with what services may re-start when, at the time when the government tells us this is safe to do.

From 27 April 2020, we have re-started some of our grounds maintenance services include things such as grass cutting, litter picking and weeding.

The actual service may vary from area to area, as our contractors will have to follow certain conditions, such as making sure they have the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The work will also need to be carried out in line with government guidelines for social distancing.

We would love to be able to predict how long the crisis will take to pass, but we simply don’t know. We are working in line with the government’s restrictions on ‘non-essential’ movement, and we will continue to monitor the situation daily to make sure we are doing all we can to provide the best service possible. Rest assured, as soon as we are able to restore all our services we will. For now though, we need to act responsibly and play our part in helping the country fight the Coronavirus.

Independent Living Schemes

Absoloutely. Our contact centre team is working from home and happily taking your calls, but it would really help us if you could use one of our digital channels:

If you need to call us, you can on 0345 678 0555. Our lines are open between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday and between 8am and 12 noon on Saturday. Please bear with us if it takes longer to get through, we are dealing with a high volume of calls.

Absolutely, but to follow the government’s guidelines for social distancing, our customer partners and income teams are working from home. Don’t worry, these important teams can still be contacted by telephone, and our contact centre team will be happy to arrange a call-back for you.

No, in line with government advice, anyone who doesn’t live with you in your home should not be coming to visit, so we have closed our schemes to everyone except essential visitors. By essential visitors we mean our scheme managers for emergency checks, emergency services, carers and our emergency repair contractors.

If, however, your carer is a family member, they can visit to help you.

Yes, carers should have the personal, protective equipment (PPE) they need to care for you, so they can still come to your home as normal. 

You can choose to stop your carer coming if you are worried about the risk of infection.

If your carer doesn’t come for any reason, please contact your scheme manager. Your scheme manager will let the care agency and the local safeguarding team know your carer hasn’t come and point you in the direction of the support agencies who are working as normal to help people.

If you are not self-isolating, and have no symptoms of the virus, (a persistent cough and a raised temperature), you may use the laundry and communal lavatories, which we have kept open. If you have had symptoms, or think you have had the virus, you may use the laundry and lavatories, but only after the recommended isolation period end, plus a further three days.  

However, if you are still showing symptoms, regardless of the length of time you have been in self-isolation, you must continue to stay away from the communal laundry and lavatories as you could still spread the virus. Self-isolation starts from the first day you are showing any symptoms.

To follow the government’s guidelines for social distancing, and to avoid larger numbers of people gathering, we have closed all our communal lounges and stopped all social activities until the crisis passes. There are posters up in the scheme explaining why we have done this with a reminder of the government guidelines you should be following.

The communal gardens are still open for fresh air and exercise, but we are asking that only two residents use the garden at any one time. The government’s recommendation for exercise is currently for one hour a day, so please be fair to other residents and only spend the recommended hour in the garden (or less) so everyone has a chance to use it.

Even if you are showing symptoms, there is no way of knowing whether you actually have the virus or not for certain unless you have been admitted to hospital and tested. The symptoms to look out for are:

  • A high temperature – you don’t need a thermometer, you will feel hot to touch on your chest or back.
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. (If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

If you are worried you have symptoms, please isolate yourself immediately and use the 111 service at www.nhs.uk. If you cannot do this, please call 111. If you feel very ill and feel you are in danger, please call 999 for the emergency services and let your scheme manager know.

If you don’t live by yourself, and one of you has symptoms, then you must both stay at home for 14 days, or until your symptoms have cleared. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the home becomes ill.

No, the government’s advice is for everyone to stay at home to help stop the spread of the virus and help the NHS help people who are ill. The police have been given special powers to ask people to return home and issue fines if these guidelines are not being followed. The only reason for you to leave your home is to use the laundry or communal lavatory, and the only reason to leave the scheme should be for essential shopping, medicine or the allowed daily exercise close to home.

Although anyone can catch and carry the virus, if you are over 70, you are classed as someone most at risk from developing the most serious conditions of the virus. Because of this, the government is recommending you should stay in isolation for 12 weeks.

12 weeks is a long time for anyone to be in isolation, so we would encourage you to ask for help from your family and friends with online shopping and any other necessary supplies. If you have no support you can call on, please contact your scheme manager. Your scheme manager will be able to point you in the right direction of the support agencies who are working hard to help people who have no-one to help them through the crisis.

Yes, we providing extra cleaning routines in our schemes and paying particular attention to what are known as touch points – handrails, door handles etc.

To reduce the risk of the virus spreading, we have arranged for all communal areas to be deep cleaned in addition to the normal cleaning schedule. We will also remind all residents that they have a responsibility to help keep themselves, and everyone else in the scheme, as safe as possible and they should be following the guidelines for self-isolation and social distancing. Because the crisis is so serious, and everyone is at risk, if residents do not follow the guidelines, we will speak to them individually to make sure they understand the seriousness of not following them, and what we may need to do if residents continue not to follow them.

We will be here to support you. If your scheme manager isn’t available to carry out the safety tests, we will arrange for someone else to do them. These tests are very important, so they will be done. Our scheme managers can also work from home, like many Accent staff are doing at present, and welfare and other calls can be made from home. Our absolute priority will always be to keep you and your neighbours as safe as possible. We will keep you informed about any other changes we need to make.

Not while the crisis continues as we have cancelled all non-essential home and scheme visits for our customer partners. All our staff are still working and can be contacted as normal if you need to speak to them, but they are working from home.

Our contact centre open hours are still from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 12pm on Saturdays, but our team are working from home so our offices are currently closed. Please bear in mind our scheme managers are only available during office hours as normal.

The government and NHS have set up an NHS volunteers programme to help vulnerable people who might be on their own, or who have no support. If you are fit and healthy, and would like to help other people in your community, please register for the scheme at https://www.goodsamapp.org/nhs


Links to further help, advice and services on our website

Self-Isolating Form

If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, or are feeling unwell current government advice is that you should self-isolate for two weeks. Please let us know if you are currently self-isolating by completing this form:

Google translate Google translate
click to choose
Colour contrast Contrast
default
high
Font size Text size
down
default
up
svg_logocutout svgsvgsvgsvgsvgsvgsvgsvgsvgsvg