Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Update from our Chief Executive

Giving great customer service is really important to us, but this is difficult at the moment. Like many businesses, we’re sometimes finding it hard to provide the level of service that we’re committed to. I’d like to explain why.

All of our services continue to operate and we’re doing all we can to minimise disruption. But a number of external factors mean that the challenges are likely to continue for a while. So we’re asking you to be prepared for a longer wait for some services.

Over the last few months, our customers have reported considerably more repairs than in the period before the pandemic. And there has been a big increase in the number of households looking to move home.

National shortages of skilled labour and materials are affecting us too and adding further pressure. Recruitment of people providing front line services is very difficult.  And the availability of materials essential for many repairs, such as timber, roof tiles, kitchen fittings, and electrical and gas components is limited and unpredictable. For example, national shortages mean that some fencing materials won’t be available until November, which is leading to delays in certain repairs and planned works.

This is extremely frustrating for us because it means that we will sometimes fall short in our commitment to you. I would ask for your help and patience over the coming months.

If we are struggling to deliver a service in a timely way, we’ll explain this to you and tell you when we expect to be able to do so. We recognise this may not be what you want to hear but as I’ve explained, there is a limit to how much we can influence some of these factors.

What we’re asking of you

  •  As most of our contact channels are busier than normal, don’t forget you can find an answer to queries on My.Sovereign.org.uk. You can also access information on a wide range of topics, and undertake many transactions by registering to make payments, check your rent balance, log a repair and much more.
  • If you’ve already reported a repair and we’ve already explained that there’s a problem and it will be delayed, please don’t contact us to chase it. (Of course, you should continue to get in touch if you have an emergency, or a delayed repair deteriorates and becomes a danger.)
  • We’re progressing mutual exchanges and other tenancy and neighbourhood actions as quickly as we can, but replying to requests for updates is hampering our teams’ ability to action these applications. So, again, we would ask you to limit follow up calls here too.
  • Our property teams are always busier in the autumn and winter. You can help to avoid a surge in calls by checking your heating early – for example, by turning it on long enough to be sure that the radiators are working. This way, if there is a problem, you can contact us before the colder weather hits. (Here are some useful tips on how to prepare your home for winter.)

We’ll continue to prioritise emergency and essential services and to use our resources as effectively as possible. Our support and advice services are also still available to those who need them.

I hope that you understand why, despite the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic being behind us, there are still some tough times ahead for businesses and individuals across the country. But rest assured, Sovereign remains committed to providing the highest level of service, and to returning to better levels of service as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support and please stay safe and well.

Mark Washer

Chief Executive

Here’s a short supporting video message from Mark:


Download a transcript of the video
 
 

Keeping you safe

While national Covid-19 restrictions have eased, infection rates are still high so we believe it's right to continue safety measures to keep our customers and employees as safe as possible.

We’ve carried out risk assessments on working safely and introduced twice-weekly Covid lateral flow testing for employees who visit residents. Please do your part by continuing to follow the guidance on protecting yourself and others from Covid-19.

You can also help by:

  • Making sure we have your contact details – it's easiest to register on MySovereign to update them
  • Telling us if you need to change your appointment time
  • Letting us know if someone in your household’s tested positive or has symptoms and is waiting for a test. You can let us know here
If we’re visiting, we’d also ask you to:
  • Wear a face covering when we’re working in your home
  • Leave the room where we’re working, to give our teams space – or stay 2 metres away if not
  • Keep children and pets away from where we’re working
  • Leave all internal doors open to minimise contact with door handles
  • Open the windows in rooms where we’ll be working (where you can).
Please note that our people always have the right to leave a home if they don’t feel safe for any reason. If so, we ask them to contact a manager so that we can review the situation and decide how best to resolve it.


Supporting you

We also have internal experts and specialist partners you can talk to about paying rent and managing debts; claiming benefits; other financial and mental health concerns; or finding work and training.
 
We also have a range of grants available for individuals and for local community groups

Please get in touch if you're facing or feel at risk of domestic abuse or have lost a loved one, as we can help you find the support you need.


Get in touch

We're here for you and listening to you, so: 
 
  • Contact us on 0300 5000 926 if you need support (0300 330 9496 if you're a market rent customer). If you are in our key worker or student accommodation, please contact your on-site team
Please note: We've seen an increase in customer requests over the last few months. It's worth noting that Mondays are usually busiest, so please get in touch another day if it isn't urgent. There are many actions you can do yourself on MySovereign around the clock.‚Äč

Our minor repair video guides on this page may also help in some cases - there’s advice on things like topping up the pressure in your boiler, resetting a trip switch on your fuse box and testing your smoke alarm.
 
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