Information on Dot Dot Dot’s response to the Covid-19 virus

This document was last updated on: 6th November 2020.

Dot Dot Dot is currently following Level 3 of its measures for working safely with Covid-19

Dot Dot Dot moved to Level 3 on 23rd March 2020

Dot Dot Dot has identified three levels of operational response to the risk posed by Covid-19. Each of these levels recognise that as a responsible housing provider, Dot Dot Dot will continue to have responsibilities for those guardians it houses, for the buildings in which guardians reside, and for its staff. We also recognise our responsibility to manage and control the risk that our operations could pose to the wider community.

Level 1 (not set out here) was in force before government advice to socially distance and formed our response to a heightened background risk from Covid-19. This level focused on reducing opportunities for rapid viral spread, avoiding high risk contacts/activities and improving distancing and hygiene within a broadly traditional operational approach.

Level 2 was launched on the 16th March 2020. This level was in response to government advice to observe social distancing. It provides for most or all services to continue in full, but with special measures in place to limit the risk of spread of infection.

Level 3 allows for safe working in line with the broader set of economic and social restrictions introduced on 23rd March 2020. This level was adjusted in May 2020 when restrictions on the property market were eased, and remains compliant with guidance that has been published since then. This level prioritises delivery of essential services, and allows for delivery of all core services subject to risk assessment.

Dot Dot Dot’s essential services are defined as:

The decision to move between levels of response, or to adjust the content of each level, will be taken by Dot Dot Dot’s leadership team, in consultation if necessary with Dot Dot Dot’s Board. Dot Dot Dot’s leadership team will continue to monitor advice from government and other sources to adjust its operations. Changes to the law or to regulations governing our activities will always take priority over this internal operating framework.

Summary of measures for working safely with Covid-19

Activity or service

Level 2

Level 3

Staying well

Individual health advice for guardians and staff

Follow the Government advice to help reduce  transmission of the virus. Keep updated with any changes in government advice.

Continue to follow the guidance that is in force.

All staff to follow ‘hands, face, space’ principles diligently during site visits or guardian contact.

Notification if guardians are self-isolating

If a guardian is advised to self-isolate (or chooses to do so, following government advice) then that guardian should advise Dot Dot Dot, as we have requested, so that we can plan our property visits accordingly.

Guardians in larger properties advised to use signage on their rooms and / or in areas of buildings they use to communicate their isolation status and avoid inadvertent breach of isolation.

Staff/guardian interactions during inspections or other visits

If we encounter a guardian during property inspections, our team has been instructed to ask if that person is self-isolating, so that we can update our property records accordingly.

Use of ‘doorstep’ inspections minimises risk of unplanned contact in individual guardian spaces.

Access to individual spaces only for essential services and planned to minimise risk.

Maintain social distancing. Masks to be used when at risk of contact in indoor areas. Custom plans put in place for some larger properties.

If a guardian is at higher risk for serious illness from Covid-19

If a guardian is at higher risk for serious illness from Covid-19 because of age or the result of a long-term health problem or for any other reason then we would like to know this, so we can take account of this information in our planning.

Proactive checking before all site visits or contactor visits for both isolation and sheltering. Any access to be curtailed/modified accordingly.

Safety in the homes and buildings managed by Dot Dot Dot

Shared kitchen and bathroom facilities

We have issued advice to guardians surrounding access and cleaning of shared kitchen and bathroom facilities.

As per L2.


We offer practical support to guardians in larger buildings to divide up their use of communal facilities to minimise the chances of cross-infection.


Cleaning supplies provided if required.

Procedures if a guardian is self-isolating or shielding (building shared with other guardians)

Guardians to follow government guidance on when/how to self-isolate.

Dot Dot Dot maintains central isolation and shielding register to collate all notifications. All plans (including management of voids and movement between properties) will account for current isolation/shielding needs. Isolation/shielding not to be breached unless to tackle an imminent risk, and always subject to risk assessment and collaborative planning.

As per L2.

Repairs

Repairs carried out as normal where possible. Prioritisation of health and safety issues including hot water and sanitation.

Contractors required to adhere to government and industry guidance. Liaison with guardians and property owners to assess necessity and suitability of works given Covid-19 risk level.

Safety critical checks

All checks carried out as normal

Dot Dot Dot to maintain inspections and checks of communal areas and integrated safety systems in line with government guidance. Guardians advised to check standalone smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in individual spaces and to report defects.

Larger properties subject to individual management plans to ensure ongoing safe management.

Periodic inspections within individual spaces may be coordinated from time to time to ensure long-term safe occupation, subject to enhanced infection control measures, and based on assessment of current risk.

Process specific

Inspections

Property inspections continue following the normal format. Staff to take suitable hygiene precautions (sanitising, use of masks). Register of shielding, at risk and self-isolating guardians will be consulted before inspections. .

Enhanced and more stringent operational procedures in terms of site visits are put in place for team members, based on advice in force at the time.

Inspections of communal areas and integrated safety systems continued through use of those procedures.

Routine internal inspections of individual flats suspended during peak viral spread. Normal scheduled inspections are ‘doorway’ and do not involve entering individual spaces. Occasional internal inspections may be undertaken based on risk level and subject to enhanced safety procedures.


Structured guardian calls and self-reporting tools used to monitor individual guardian welfare, conditions and conduct.

Volunteering

We recognise that guardian volunteering may be disrupted, and ask that guardians take reasonable steps to find suitable and safe alternatives. This may include more informal or community activity. If a guardian cannot complete their expected volunteering due to illness or self-isolation, they have been asked to report this to us through the Volunteering Report Form.

Similar considerations continue as for Level 2.

Some guardians housed among vulnerable communities advised to cease volunteering activities that could pose a special risk.

Staff

Staff are enabled to work remotely where suitable. .

As per L2.

Presumption that activities should be carried out from home where possible.

Weekly field-team debriefs to monitor risk issues and welfare.

Site visits or in-person external meetings only as necessary and to be carried out in line with strict hygiene and social distancing.

Procedure in place to prevent spread if any staff members experiences symptoms or diagnosis of Covid-19.

Access to office only where essential to carry out duties. Internal meetings to be online-only other than when working together on essential on-site tasks.

Voids management

Normal void management conducted as required on a risk basis, all activities to be conducted in line with government guidance.

Access, viewings, move-ins managed in line with government guidance

Voids in communal properties to be managed with special care - may be deprioritised if required for risk management.

Viewings

Smaller groups allowed to support social distancing.

Individual viewings risk assessed for special hygiene and travel considerations

Move to virtual viewings and socially distanced follow-up viewings for individual applicants.

Video footage and follow-up viewings in shared properties to be coordinated in collaboration with existing guardians.

All activity carried out in line with government guidance and standards.

New properties

Work continued as normal in void properties.

Works managed in line with Covid-19 construction industry guidance.

Dot Dot Dot to require contractors to observe industry operating procedures and internal standards.

Planning and client arrangements to reflect additional time/planning associated with safe management where relevant.

Move-ins

Licence sign ups and key exchanges handled in small groups (max 3 guardians) to allow ease of hygiene processes.

Sign up inductions and contract signing completed remotely.

Key and ID exchange handled 1-2-1 in controlled process to avoid cross-infection and maintain social distancing.

Move-ins to void properties spaced by 72 hours from last occupation, or subject to specific cleaning and management steps.

Where multiple move-ins are happening at a single property, these will be coordinated to reduce cross-infection over time, in conjunction with the guardians involved.

Move-ins handled in line with government guidance.

Vacation of properties

Move-out activity coordinated where relevant to support social distancing.

Cleaning/hygiene of property to be addressed in line with property owner.

Dot Dot Dot to work with clients to minimise unnecessary requests to vacate properties during periods or heightened risk.

Longer notice periods provided where feasible (subject to property owner constraints) to accommodate additional complexity of moving. Dot Dot Dot to offer additional support to assist guardians to move safely if relevant.

For tenancies, specific legislative changes to notice periods/process apply.