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Current Good Practice

The housing sector has responded well to the challenges of the current Covid-19 pandemic. This section comprises a collection of some of the best examples of how housing providers have quickly adapted and responded to the need of tenants, staff and the wider community by re-thinking existing services, developing new procedures, embracing digital technology and working in partnership with other organisations.

You can also submit your own examples for this section using the 'Submit Here' button and submission form above. 

Shared Examples

Click on each description below to find out about the specific example

Category: Allocating Homes

Description: The Scottish Government and COSLA have produced non-statutory guidance for local authorities, social landlords and private rented sector landlords to help them meet duties and legal requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes a screening questionnaire, based on an example provided by the Wheatley Group, used to establish any risks when allocating properties to prospective tenants during the pandemic. It also includes a contactless lettings protocol, developed by CIH and a Welsh housing association.

Additional Information
COVID-19 Allocations Advice and Information for the Housing Sector

Source
Scottish Government & COSLA

 

Category: Safety Compliance

Description: ALACHO and Public Health Scotland have produced guidance and FAQs on safe working in void properties during the COVID-19 outbreak. This provides operational advice for use in designing and operating safe working procedures for returning both furnished and unfurnished voids to a lettable standard 

Additional information and resources​: Safe working in void properties during the Covid-19 outbreak 

Source: ALACHO and Public Health Scotland 

Category: Safety Compliance

Description: The Social Housing Resilience Group have produced a Guide to Restarting Services for the housing sector, focussing on re-opening housing offices and resuming visits to tenants. The guide contains extensive checklists regarding what your organisation needs to consider, ideas you can implement, useful links and examples, and a practical journey mapping tool that can be used to test re-designed services.

Additional information and resources​: Guide to Restarting Services

Source: Social Housing Resilience Group

Category: Communication with Tenants

Description: At Trust we have drafted and issued this guidance on the new Test & Protect programme to all our tenants who live in staffed developments to reduce the spread in the community by identifying cases of Covid-19.

Additional information and resources​: Test and Process Guidance

Source: Trust Housing Association

Category: Allocating Homes and Communication with Tenants

Description: Ardenglen Housing Association have created a Youtube version of the tenancy agreement with audio for prospective tenants to view before signing. This has helped us continue to let to homeless applicants during lockdown, minimising the risk to tenants and staff.  

Additional information and resources​: Youtube Tenancy Agreement

Source: Ardenglen Housing Association

Category: Allocating Homes

Description: Link Housing Association have developed a simple sign up process that can be used while social distancing rules in place. Both incoming tenants and staff are comfortable with the process and Link HA and the tenant has a signed copy of the agreement on the day of sign up

Additional information and resources​: Allocations and Viewing Covid-19 Procedure

Source: Link Housing Association

Category: Allocating Homes

Description: Sanctuary Housing have developed a virtual viewing of properties process for potential tenants and a new sign up process following recent events and guidance published by Scottish Government.

Additional information and resources​: 

Viewing Process

Sign Up Process

Source: Sanctuary Housing 

Category: Communication with tenants

Description: 

A TIS, tenant study aimed to find solutions, and support housing organisations to deliver fit-for-purpose, strategic plans for long-term digital engagement.

Additional Information: Digital Engagement: A Study of Tenants

Source: Tenant Information Service (TIS)

 

Category: Community Engagement

Description: 

Govan Housing Association has been operating it's own lending library for 3. During the pandemic it has been distributing almost 200 devices to local tenants and community groups.

Our Covid-19 response has seen 120 devices go to 10 passionate, third sector organisations to allow them to engage with their service users. These devices now belong to these organisations to operate how they best feel benefits their communities.

Additional Information: Scottish Housing News article

Source: Govan Housing Association

 

Category: Communication with tenants

Description: 

Linstone Housing association made an incredible impact during Covid-19 supporting tenants. Attached details the support and services delivered by Linstone staff.

Additional Information: Response team impact

Source: Linstone Housing Association

 

Category: Communitiy activities

Description: 

Abertay Housing Association received the Supporting Communities Fund grant to assist with support in their communities and tenants due to the impact of covid-19.  The projects they will carry out are:

Provision of Food

Abertay has partnered with he Dundee Food Insecurity Network.  Food ordering will be facilitated by Dundee City Council's Procurement Team with support from Alexander Community Development. Supplies will be delivered to Alexander Community Development who will then distribute this across all Dundee Food Insecurity Network projects. The projects in the Network feed over 4,000 people in a typical week.

The Association is working with HaVeN for this part of the project​ to support additional groupwork sessions and increase the capacity of those groups already in place including Music, Walking, Arts & Crafts, Men and Relaxation / Meditation Women’s Group and Greenspace / Allotment Group to encourage exercise, combat isolation / loneliness, assist with psychological relaxation, promote better mental health and alleviate stress and anxiety. The HaVeN is looking to provide as near as ‘normal’ stability for existing and new service users to continue to provide quality support.

Supporting those who assist with those who suffer domestic violence​

Abertay has partnered with Women’s Aid Dundee.  The funding will be used for phone top ups and additional smart phones and tablets, WIFI connectivity and the upgrade of CCTV. 

New tenant support provision (starter packs)​

The Association is working with Dundee Starter Packs to assist with providing individuals and families with basic essential household goods.

Additional Information: 

Source: Abertay Housing Association

 

Category: Communitiy activities

Description: 

Hillcrest Homes received the Supporting Communities Fund grant to assist with support in their communities and tenants due to the impact of covid-19.  The projects they will carry out are:

Energy top ups

Since launching the fund on 1st July 2020 we have worked with 26 different support organisations in order to provide 184 households in Dundee with Fuel top-up’s in turn freeing up funds for other bills such as food, rent etc.. We are distributing the top-up’s using the fuel bank, a registered charity that provides fuel vouchers. Each applicant is awarded a £30 voucher (this amount is set by the fuel bank and was unable to be changed) that they can split between gas and electricity as they see fit. We are continually working together as a team to engage with more agencies and have time scheduled in over the coming weeks to promote the fund and ensure that we distribute the full amount to those who need it most in the Dundee area. We are also about to start working with NHS Tayside who are referring clients who are being discharged from hospital and maybe going off supply due to long hospital stays.

Early Release Prisoners 

This fund has currently distributed funds to 4 organisations, Dundee City Council, Positive steps, Barnardos and Hillcrest Futures. The funds have been greatly appreciated and we anticipate this fund will support 4 times as many people as we had planned.

Isolation & Wellbeing

Groups include older people, those at risk of harm, and those with physical and learning difficulties. It is anticipated that the 500 people we anticipated being supported will be achieved.

Recovery & Outreach

This fund has currently been distributed to 6 organisations, Dundee City Council, Crossreach, Alcohol Tayside, Hillcrest Futures, Aberlour and Rocksolid.

Hillcrest Homes have partnered with several organisations to increase their reach and support for communities and tenants.

Additional Information: 

Source: Hillcrest Homes

 

Category: Communitiy activities

Description: 

Thistle Housing Association received the Supporting Communities Fund grant to assist with support in their communities and tenants due to the impact of covid-19.  The projects they will carry out are:

Emergency Food bank Collection Point

At the very start of lock down, Thistle HA secured funding from the Lottery and Community Partnership to provide residents of Toryglen with emergency food parcels every week until end of June 2020. Our parcels had reached 230 every week and was not reducing in numbers. Due to the first phase coming out of lockdown, we only deliver to those over age 70 years (or any other resident who is unable to collect due to medical/mobility issues) who are not receiving support from anywhere else. A collection point in our community hall was established for all other residents to collect a parcel once per week with fresh food, non-perishable and household essentials. A total of 124 food parcel bags are being collected weekly. 

Hot Meals for Elderly

During our reactive support to our elderly the first couple of months of lockdown, through delivery of emergency parcels and our wellbeing calls, it became increasingly evident that our elderly, by in large mostly living alone, were suffering the most in regards to mental health and accessing nutritious food. A home cooked meal once per week, delivered to their door, allowed for additional contact and ensuring our elderly were able to look forward to enjoying a freshly cooked meal, a soup and main course. The feedback so far from receiving the meals have been extremely positive and engaging.

Children’s Activity Packs

As predominantly flatted properties in Toryglen, we know many of our families with children are struggling with lock down with no access to outdoor space. To alleviate the pressure of our families and support children with mental stimulation, we are providing activity bags over the summer holidays. We have a strong relationship with families, in part from providing the GCC holiday food programme the last few years, so our contacts and engagement allow us easier connection. Through letters to all our previous registered holiday food programme families as well as our highly engaged community Facebook social media page ‘Cornerstone Community Hall Toryglen’, we have 130 families register for the activity packs, with an average of 90 collecting for each activity pack.

Digital Inclusion community library

Lockdown highlighted a need for many in our community to:

· be educated on the benefits of digital inclusion

· have additional ways to contact family and friends, social isolation and loneliness for our elderly particularly a challenge

· be able to have access to a tablet and internet for education purposes, to support their children with schooling, have better access online to improve finance options. 

This project requires more organisation and research, liaising with IT contractors to set up and ensure the tablets are fit for purpose. Producing new policy and procedures for loan of the tablets, providing safe usage for all.  Tablets have been purchased and expect the digital library to be able to commence in the month of August.

 

Additional Information: 

Source: Thistle Housing Association

 

Category: Repairs; Communication with tenants

Description: 

Renfrewshire Council awards contract to install IoT sensors in thousands of homes.The two-year project will see sensors fitted into selected empty properties being prepared for new tenants, who will also be supported with energy efficiency advice and guidance.

The sensors are small, easy to install and feedback information in real time to a state-of-the-art IT and data management system.

This enables the council to spot potential health problems and take preventative action to protect and improve homes. High humidity and low temperatures could suggest a tenant may not be heating their home efficiently, while high carbon dioxide could point to issues with ventilation.

Additional Information: Article from Smart Cities World

Source: Renfrewshire Council

 

Category: Support for staff

Description: CIPD have provided various coronavirus support materials including an interactive COVID-19 workforce planner. This provides a framework for exploring decisions around staff planning. 

Additional information and resources​: Interactive COVID-19 workforce planner 

Source: CIPD

Category: Support for staff

Description: Link Group have been shining a light on individual staff as part of their Together We Change Lives project. This brings together five staff stories from across the group, detailing a range of working experiences in the post-Covid-19 world. The aim is to focus on celebrating staff efforts, good news and bringing people together in these uncertain times. 

Additional information and resources​: Additional information on this example can be found in this article 

Source: Link Group (Published as part SFHA's Sector News) 

Category: Allocating Homes

Description:
Dutch housing association Qlinker currently uses digital technology to deliver customer services to prospective tenants. Tenants use the Qlinker app for all their interaction – from finding a new (or different) home, signing their contract, paying their rent and asking for maintenance or repairs.

Additional information and resources​:
Additional information on this example can be found on the SFHA Innovation Hub

Source: Qlinker

Category: Anti-social behaviour

Description:
CIH has produced guidance on how to tackle ASB during the Covid-19 crisis looks specifically at how tools and powers available to social landlords and their partners in England and Wales might be used. However, it contains some tips and principles that may also be helpful for landlords in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Additional information and resources​: 
COVID-19 Dealing with anti-social behaviour (ASB)

Source: Chartered Institute of Housing

 

 

 

 

Category: Communication with tenants

Description:Clarion Housing Group’s initiative Clarion’s young Community Ambassadors have designed and decorated the ‘happy pack’ bag filled with perishable items, puzzle books and a handwritten note. The bags have been delivered to elderly residents. 

Additional information and resources​: Clarion: Connecting through crisis

Source: Clarion Housing Group

 

 

 

 

Category: Communication with tenants

Description: Elderpark Housing have been working with Glasgow-based Target Applications Ltd - creators of “CX-Feedback” software. The application provides a range of information suitable for housing associations and other public bodies to help them gain a greater understanding of customer needs via new software which takes the form of a survey. The software works by sending surveys to tenants by text or email which they then complete online so that it provides an up to date snapshot of tenant opinion via dashboards and reports. For less digitally connected tenants the application also allows Elderpark to easily manage telephone and postal surveys to maximise inclusion amongst all tenants and report the results in one place.

Additional information and resources​: SFHA news article

Source: Elderpark Housing

 

 

 

 

Category: Community activites; communication with tenants

Description: Blackwood has provided its customers with tablets complete with accessible care technology and Wi-Fi access to help keep them more digitally connected, despite most being currently ‘shielded’ in their homes. It has already led to a remarkable 800% increase in the function that allows customers to contact friends and family.

Additional information and resources​: SFHA news article

Source: Blackwood

 

 

 

 

Category: Community activites

Description: Govan Housing Association have partnered up with Glasgow City Council, The Salvation Army, Govan Youth Information Project and Make & Grow to deliver a food initiative to try and ensure the community have access to daily food in Govan.

Additional information and resources​: Daily Food Service Poster

Source: Govan Housing Association, Glasgow City Council, The Salvation Army, Govan Youth Information Project and Make & Grow 

 

 

 

 

Category: Environmental services

Description: The Scottish Government and the Social Housing Resilience Group have provided advice and information for social landlords managing multi-storey and high-density flats during the COVID-19 health crisis. This includes cleaning and hygiene advice for multi-storeys and high-density flats as well as example posters and tenant communications provided by housing associations.

Additional information and resources​: Cleaning and hygiene advice for multi-storeys and high-density flats

Source: Scottish Government 

 

 

 

 

Category: Managing risk

Description: The Health and Safety Executive have provided general guidance on managing risks in the workplace. Their short guide explains how employers can protect people from coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace, for example by putting in place social distancing measures, staggering shifts and providing additional handwashing facilities.  The guide also includes links to including risks assessment templates and examples.

Additional information and resources​:

Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak

Example risk assessments

Source: Health and Safety Executive 

 

 

 

Category: Repairs; communication with tenants

Description: Kingdom Housing Association have been using augmented reality to minimise the need for staff to visit tenant properties. The technology allows a trades operative to be virtually present in a tenant’s home, to review any repairs or problems in real time using video technology on a mobile phone or tablet. They can then support and advice by having their hand superimposed on the scene in the tenant’s home. It is one of the first times this kind of technology has been used by a housing association in the UK and has been introduced through a partnership between housing consultancy DtL Creative and Swedish-based XMReality

Additional information and resources​:

Further information on this example can be found on the SFHA Innovation Hub

Source: Kingdom Housing Association

 

 

 

Category: Tenancy Support

Description: West of Scotland Housing Association has produced Financial Guidance for tenants. It offers general advice an overview of the support available. A Tenant Support contact form has also been included for those who wish to request further assistance.  

Additional information and resources​: Financial Guide

Coronavirus Tenant Support Contact Form 

Source: West of Scotland Housing Association

 

 

 

 

Category: Tenancy Support

Description: CIH has produced guidance for private landlords and letting agents in partnership with Homes for Good and the Scottish Association of Landlords. It sets out how landlords and letting agents can proactively support tenants to avoid rent arrears during the Coronavirus outbreak and therefore prevent evictions when temporary restrictions are lifted. 

Additional information and resources​:

Related resources: 

Source: Charted Institute of Housing

Category: Tenancy Support

Description: Wheatley’s expert team of 22 welfare benefits advisers have shifted to home working in order to continue to offer support to tenants. Advisers have helped customers with Universal Credit claims as well as assisting with online appeals, setting up conference calls with the DWP, providing translation for Polish customers and using FaceTime to help customers make a Universal Credit claim online. 

Additional information and resources​: Additional information on this example can be found in this article 

 

Source: Wheatley Group (Published as part SFHA's Sector News) 

Category: Support for staff

Description: Muirhouse Housing Association has developed a new online portal for staff and board members which includes messaging as well as meeting and agenda features to help make communication as secure and seamless as possible. This allows board members to access the reports they need, instantly and efficiently, 24-hours a day, from anywhere. They can electronically annotate documents and share comments instantly and staff no longer need to compile, print and distribute significant quantities of paperwork.  

Additional information and resources​: Additional information on this example can be found on the SFHA Innovation Hub  

 

Source: Muirhouse Housing Association

Category: Allocating Homes and Communication with Tenants

Description: 

Addleshaw Goddard have published an article with information on tenancy sign ups during lockdown. It includes information on legal requirements, witnessing and pratical solutions. 

Additional Information: Article from Addleshaw Goddard

Source: Addleshaw Goddard

 

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