Contact During Office Closure

Important Update on Information to Service Users during the Coronavirus Pandemic
  • 16 Jun 2020

2nd June 2020

 

General Enquiries During Office Hours (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

Out of Hours Emergencies

By email – customerservices@ochilviewha.co.uk

By phone – 07857650038 or 07857650040 or 07857650042

Gas / Heating Emergency: call City Technical Services on 0333 202 0708

Other Emergency repairs: call The McDougall Group on 0333 123 1011

As we continue to adjust and respond to the unprecedented situation facing us as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, I would like to bring you up to date with some important aspects of the services which you receive from us.

As previously advised the Association is strictly adhering to government Covid – 19 guidance which means that all staff are working remotely from home.

Not surprisingly there has been some impact on the services provided although the majority of our tenant centred services have been able to be continued, albeit in a different non- face to face manner and we are now starting to slowly but surely (and cautiously and carefully) allocate our empty properties where successful applicants are keen (and able to) do so.

Property Services

On the property side of things several of the Associations services were temporarily suspended during the early phase of the pandemic although many of these have been able to be resumed over the past 3 or 4 weeks

Since my most recent update on 3rd April 2020 the following works have resumed:

- Gas servicing programme (where tenants are happy to allow access);

- Landscape maintenance service;

- Stair cleaning service.

We have also managed to introduce an alternative bulk uplift service.

Service users may note that a service may not be undertaken exactly as it was before, due to social distancing rules, and that some may be more focussed in terms of the work to accord with the requirements and/or restrictions resulting from Covid -19.

We would ask, therefore that service users respect the measures being adopted by our various contractors and should there be any questions on anything relating to the service to contact the Association directly rather than approaching the operatives on site.

Where the Association does resume any service, where this involves access to occupied properties, for example routine gas servicing, this is only able to proceed with the tenant’s consent and where this is not possible the situation will be recorded and the matter followed up as the circumstances allow.

Please be assured, however, that we do continue to provide an emergency repair service including any gas emergency repairs in order to protect the health and safety of our service users. 

Tenant / Service Users Communication

We understand that clear and regular communication with service users is vital and we have tried a range of methods for communicating a very fast-moving situation to service users. The speed of change has however, hampered the tried and tested method of sending letters as these couldn’t be prepared quickly enough to prevent information being out of date before it arrived on the doorstep.

Despite all the important information continuing to be placed on the Associations website and having increased our use of Facebook, we recognised that many service users are unfamiliar with such communication tools and for that reason we have telephoned tenants, initially those deemed vulnerable and then all others who we were not at the time engaging with us, to give them as much information as possible and also to check whether they required any assistance.

We hope that service users who received a call (some calls were unanswered) felt reassured that the Association remained “open” should they require to contact us for assistance.

Payment of Rent and Tenancy Support Services

We continue to appreciate the difficulties being faced by many tenants at this time and this can be seen by the significant increase in enquiries being made about universal credit.

Our Housing and Tenancy Sustainment staff continue to be on hand to assist anyone experiencing financial difficulties and to answer any questions on rent, housing benefit or universal credit.

However, I would also like to remind tenants that it is very important that they continue to pay their rent as normal and although we are unable to take payments at the office there continues to be various other ways that rent payments can be made. These are:

Direct Debit – please contact a member of staff and we will set this up for you

Online, through our payment’s agent www.allpay.net

At any Post Office or Paypoint. You will need your Ochil View “swipe card” to do this. You can find your nearest payment at https://consumer.paypoint.com/ 

By debit or credit card over the phone (see mobile telephone numbers above) (9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, except bank holidays):

By telephone. Call the allpay.net 24 - hour automated system on: 0844 557 8321 and have your card to hand. You will be guided through the process.

Other Information

Further information on COVID-19 and answers to many questions can be found on our Facebook page and website which are being updated regularly.

Useful information can also be found on the Scottish Housing Regulators website https://www.housingregulator.gov.scot/

In terms of when we may return to some degree of normality, including re-opening the office, this remains uncertain although we know that it will not be before Phase 3 of the governments “route map” for reopening society.

Unfortunately, despite knowing which phase of the “route map” is likely to apply to us, there is no timeframe for this and as a result we must continue to deliver our services “from home”.

In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and be assured that we are continuing to work as hard as possible to provide an effective service to all service users and to keep everyone informed as much as possible.

Yours sincerely

George Tainsh

Chief Executive