Teams on our National Housing Prime contract have been working closely with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and our supply chain partners across the country to keep Service family homes warm and well maintained this winter.
As the pandemic continues, the safety of our customers and employees remains our highest priority. Amey and DIO continue to regularly review joint working practices and procedures to ensure we are delivering a safe housing, maintenance and repair service to Service properties across the UK.
Our workforce are kept informed with the latest HSE and Government guidelines and are ready to action any changes that arise quickly and efficiently. All understand the requirement to wear face coverings when entering occupied Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and have committed to following rigorous working practices before entering military homes.
If work is scheduled in a property, an engineer will call ahead to confirm the time of arrival. If any household members have tested positive for COVID-19 or are self-isolating it’s vital that we are alerted beforehand so the appointment can be rescheduled for when the self-isolation period has ended. We all have a responsibility to keep each other safe and our short film explains how essential gas and electrical checks and other routine visits will be managed during these unprecedented times.
Earlier this year, more than 150 of our Defence customer service advisors were mobilised to work from home using internet based phones for them to take calls remotely. Our Accommodation Occupancy Services and Complaints Management functions have transitioned into a 100% digital communication service, and our Local Customer Service Advisors continue to provide personal support via emails and phone calls.
Preparing for the winter months
With winter just around the corner, our teams are focusing on helping occupants prepare their homes for the winter ahead. We will be sharing our winter campaign page and offering some self-help and guidance on common issues such as how to avoid frozen pipes, boiler issues and blockages in gutters and drains.
Our supply chains partners are leading on pre-winter briefings to refresh engineers on customer expectations, the importance of communication between us and our customers, and managing follow on works. We have weekly calls to ensure they are fully briefed on the winter plans, relevant actions complete and are clear on the five day forecast to ensure resources are deployed effectively in line with our business continuity plans.
Temporary heater stocks have been checked to ensure they can meet demand and heaters will be kept in local storage on isolated estates. We’ll be working with welfare teams to implement a process for them to issue heaters to families if the site becomes inaccessible for engineers and properties without heating will be tracked daily to make sure families aren’t left in the cold for too long. We want to ensure that, should our customers need them, we have enough products in the right place at the right time to satisfy demand and make sure customers are not left without proper cooking and heating facilities.
We have reviewed our parts management processes and recognise that due to the changing landscape of the pandemic, some products will be in shorter supply than normal meaning that certain repairs may take slightly longer than usual. However, we have improved and agreed the communication channels between affected families and our supply chain so that issues can be quickly resolved.
Equipment and tools have also been checked and grit bins have been restocked as required to ensure roads and pavements serving the estates are well maintained and kept safe.
We are confident that despite the continuing challenges of COVID-19, our teams will continue to demonstrate their commitment to military families in ensuring our service delivery remains consistent, especially during the upcoming winter months.
There are a number of ways you can contact our Customer Service Centre to rearrange appointments. To choose the option that’s right for you please visit www.ameydefenceservices.co.uk/housing/contact-us/