Updated Guide to Restarting Services and clarification from government on mutual exchanges
Information regarding restarting RSL services.
The Social Housing Resilience Group (SHRG) Guide to Restarting Services has been updated to reflect the Scottish Government’s announcements on 30 July.
The changes are as follows:
- Updates to section on re-opening offices (p4)
- Updates to example routemap (p5)
- Additional link to guidance on individual risk assessment (p6)
- Additional links to guidance on homeworking and guidance for call centres and contact centres (p8)
Given the further extensions to the expected dates for re-opening of offices for non-essential business, the SHRG wishes to provide further advice on housing offices and, in particular, on what activities may be classed as ‘essential’ rather than ‘non-essential’.
While social housing providers will make their own decisions with regard to the re-opening of offices, recognising local circumstances, the services to be provided and the number staff required to perform essential tasks, the SHRG proposes that, in considering the timing of the reopening of local housing offices, social landlords will urgently want to consider which services and activities are essential, as long as the current public health guidance on physical distancing and hygiene are implemented. These services may include:
- Lettings activity
- Tenancy sustainment and homelessness prevention work with existing tenants, including arrears-related work and welfare rights work
- Dealing with anti-social behaviour
- Tackling the backlog of routine repairs.
Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and the resumption of any such activities will require appropriate risk assessments and health and safety measures as outlined in the rest of this guide.
Any reopening of offices to support the provision of services that are considered essential by landlords does not necessarily mean that the office should be opened to visitors. The timing of reopening offices to visitors is a separate matter and, like determining which services are essential, is for each landlord to decide.
Clarification from Scottish Government regarding mutual exchanges
The Scottish Government issued Moving Home Guidance on 29 June 2020 which included moving home as part of a mutual exchange, a link to this guidance can be found here. The Scottish Government said it has always been clear that bringing empty properties back into use is a priority during the pandemic in order to provide safe and secure accommodation to those in emergency housing need. The Moving Home Guidance provides guidance on all types of house moves that can now take place, including mutual exchanges.
The government said it is up to each social landlord to determine which allocations and house moves can take place, taking into account the safety of all the processes involved, the public health guidance in place and the arrangements required to move house.