11th March 2020
Corona Virus Update
Please see below for Auckland Home Solutions CIC current Position Statement on Corona Virus:
V1.0 – 10th March 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Information for organisations we work in partnership with
Position @ 10th March 2020
Coronavirus is likely to affect Auckland Home Solutions C.I.C. (AHS) directly or indirectly at some point. Whilst we do not know the level of impact at this stage, nevertheless, measures put in place now will help us to be more resilient to any future crisis, whether or not this is related to Coronavirus. Work is ongoing with our teams to enable us to continue to offer high quality as the situation develops.
There is no evidence that people with disabilities who are otherwise healthy – and who do not, for instance, have respiratory problems – are at greater risk of dying from, or with, Coronavirus. Nevertheless, they may find it more difficult to cope with the symptoms. People with compromised immunity are well-versed in hygiene routines, including asking people with any symptoms of any virus to stay away and practising good hand-washing hygiene. As far as we can tell at this stage, the same procedures apply for COVID-19. We also recognise that Support Providers ability to provide support may become compromised should significant numbers of staff become unwell.
The Government yesterday held another COBRA meeting to discuss the UK approach. There was no change: their approach is still at the containment stage, meaning business as usual, no need to close offices etc, but everyone should put in place good hygiene measures.
Based on this advice:
• Our office is open for business as usual, with additional hygiene measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. All our staff have been briefed and are kept updated with Government and NHS advice.
• We recognise that staff may be required to work from home (if they are well), either on Government advice or to look after children if schools are closed. Our IT and Communications systems fully support Virtual Office operations, so there should be no recognisable change to services.
• All our staff have been briefed on what to do if they become unwell. We will continue to operate business as usual for core functions as far as possible – we are able to reduce Housing Officer site visits and draw upon this resource to support other parts of the business.
• We work in partnership with Care and Support Providers to deliver services. We highly value their opinion and rely on them to provide us with key information if they feel there is a heightened risk at any of the properties we manage, i.e. any special measures we must follow to protect anyone who would be at greater risk should they become unwell, or if any tenant or member of support staff has become unwell as a result or contracting the virus, or is selfisolating as a precaution. Continued communication between Support Workers and Housing Officers is essential. Our Housing Officers have been asked to contact all Support Provider Scheme Managers to discuss any additional precautions we need to undertake and to make sure we have up to date telephone and email contacts should we need to restrict visits.
• There may be occasions when emergency repairs are needed in a property where people are quarantined. We will work with the Support Provider to ensure we can undertake work as safely as possible. We may only undertake temporary repairs to minimise any risk of infection or to minimise any disruption for people who may be unwell. We may ask Support Workers to assist with sanitising areas prior to maintenance staff or contractors working in that area.
• In line with Government advice, our staff have been advised to wash their hands regularly, particularly on entering and on leaving any premises. This is not always possible, so we will provide staff with sanitizing gel (subject to availability). We are working with our contractors to ensure they follow similar procedures. We welcome any encouragement from Support Workers to ensure all of our staff or contractors working on our behalf follow good hygiene practises.
• We acknowledge that the situation may worsen. We will continue to monitor and follow Government advice. We are likely to reduce or temporarily stop visits by Housing Officers and rely on other forms of communication. Should our ability to undertake repairs be compromised (due to workforce issues or our tenants needing to self-isolate), our priority will be to ensure essential repairs which pose more significant risks to tenants are undertaken. We recognise that each of our tenants has different needs and so an ‘ordinary’ repair in one property may constitute an ‘essential’ repair in another.
• We work with contractors who are SME’s and so rely on steady cashflow. We have measures in place to minimise any disruption to invoices being paid.
Should you have any comments, queries or concerns about any of the above, please discuss this with your usual point of contact within AHS or with myself directly.
CAROLYN R WOOD
Chief Operating Officer