Housing EHPs have been using technology to remotely determine imminent risk and whether to take enforcement action.
EHN Extra found that many housing EHPs have suspended routine inspections but are reacting to emergencies, with some asking for video and photographic evidence of the issues being reported.
This is to limit onsite visits to protect themselves and the public from exposure and spread of the coronavirus.
One said following on from the Government's lockdown announcement last night (23 March): “We have suspended all visits unless there is imminent risk, but are asking tenants to provide us with photographic evidence of this risk.”
Another said: “We are asking residents to video serious issues and we will make a decision whether to respond. Critical repairs will be undertaken by our in-house direct labour organisation function in PRS properties.
“Our external contractors are providing an emergency repair service for home adaptation breakdowns (eg, stairlifts). We have got their business continuity plans to ensure they have the essential PPE and processes in place when they go into residents homes.”
EHPs have reported that remote working should be used unless absolutely necessary. They said: “My view is that we should suspend all visits and if there is a true dire emergency ie, no gas/electricity, flooding, risk of collapse etc we should attempt to deal with these matters over the phone and only visit if it is completely necessary.
“Most emergency situations are usually quite obvious and require us to organise temporary action to reduce the risk so I don’t see the need to visit unless it is completely necessary – we are however yet to agree our emergency planning provisions.”
Another said: “We are just undertaking emergency visits only and any work linked to address issues of homelessness as part of that priority for the council – very limited to be honest
“Other than that only other work is around infection control as required by emergency planning group.”