Housing providers operating in areas of the country with high numbers of COVID-19 infection have reported increased levels of absence, according to the Regulator of Social Housing’s (RSH) latest Coronavirus Operational Response Survey (CORS).
In its September update on housing associations’ response to the pandemic, the regulator said that “some providers have described emerging issues including increased levels of absence due to staff self-isolating in locations where the number of COVID-19 cases is high, and challenges working across areas with different restrictions in place”.
The RSH also found that HAs were concerned about the impact of a second wave of coronavirus, leading to more staff absences and poorer service delivery. “This may be particularly challenging over winter months as providers also anticipate increase repairs reporting,” it said.
The results (see graph, below) from the survey – the sixth carried out by the RSH since the start of the pandemic – showed that providers’ ability to deliver services had remained stable since August.
The proportion of providers able to complete gas safety and fire compliance checks was slightly up on the previous month, while emergency repairs and asbestos, electrical and legionella checks were at very close to the same level as August.
Care and support staffing levels was the only metric surveyed that showed a slight drop from August to September.
The RSH said that the majority of respondents to its survey “have reported no issues with repairs delivery”, adding that the backlogs seen in previous months “have stabilised”.
Some providers, however, reported that backlogs were growing as more staff were self-isolating.
The survey was sent to all registered providers with at least 1,000 homes, with 95 per cent responding.