SFHA: No update to guidance affecting social housing sector planned by Scottish Government



The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has highlighted the Scottish Government’s confirmation that no updates to guidance affecting the social housing sector are planned to be published in advance of 26 December.

SFHA confirmed this after it was announced that Mainland Scotland will move to Tier 4 COVID-19 restrictions from Boxing Day, while Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles will move into Tier 3.

The position will remain as per advice issued at the time of the previous move to Tier 4 for some local authority areas:
Tradespeople, home repairs and working in someone else’s home

Level 0 to 3

As outlined in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels guidance, for levels 0 to 3, tradespeople can continue to work in other people’s homes, providing they follow guidance on working safely.

Tradespeople who deliver goods or services to homes and businesses can travel between all levels for work purposes.

Level 4

However, tradespeople should only go into a house in a level 4 area to carry out, or deliver, essential work or services. As outlined in the guidance on businesses and workplaces that must close and can remain open at protection level 4 (published 20 November) under level 4 of Scotland’s Strategic Framework, essential services are those which “fundamentally underpin, sustain and safeguard households”.

Work in people’s homes can therefore continue for essential services under the level 4 restrictions. For social landlords, this may include:

  • To carry out utility (electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations
  • To carry out repairs and maintenance that would otherwise threaten the household’s health and safety
  • To deliver goods or shopping
  • To deliver, install or repair key household furniture and appliances such as washing machines, fridges and cookers
  • To support a home move, for example furniture removal.

The Scottish Government has also provided further FAQs for work in other people’s homes.

Home moves

All home moves are permitted as set out in Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on moving home provided they can be carried out safely.

The guidance also states: “People can move home in all protection levels, and to and from areas with different levels, but may wish to consider if they can postpone a move and related activities in areas subject to level 4 protections. Relevant businesses can also continue to support people to move home in all protection levels, and should follow the Scottish Government’s latest guidance for employers and businesses on COVID-19.”

Travel

The guidance on travel and transport provides a list of limited exceptions from the guidance not to travel into, or out of, Level 3 and 4 local authority areas, or to, or from, other parts of the UK.

This includes: Travel for work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home.

A further joint letter (please see the downloads section to the right of this article) from the Housing Minister and CoSLA was issued to RSLs on 18 December, again emphasising the importance for essential service delivery to continue as far as possible, within the context of health and safety and risk assessments.

SFHA said it will continue to monitor the situation and alert members to any developments (should they arise) as soon as possible.



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