Tenants help Bernicia plan for full services return

Bernicia chief executive John Johnston working with tenants to reopen full services

Bernicia is drawing up plans with its tenants to resume the full range of services it offers to thousands of people as Coronavirus restrictions are eased.

The business employing 550 staff is working closely with tenants to formulate a phased return of services to ensure people and communities get the help and support they need as the UK Government launches a phased reopening of society.

Tenants are playing a crucial role in Bernicia reintroducing services they see as most vital – including responsive repairs.

At present, Bernicia is delivering critical and essential services only to its 60,000 customers, such as emergency repairs, servicing gas appliances and fire equipment and round the clock alarm and warden support for vulnerable people in retirement accommodation.

Most of Bernicia’s staff are working from home and remotely, and it is anticipated they will continue to do so until well into the summer with its offices in Ashington, Durham, Berwick and Kingston Park remaining closed.

Bernicia Chief Executive John Johnston said: “We are working closely with our tenants through virtual meetings to gauge their views and priorities which will feed into how we design and re-establish services as lockdown measures are eased.

“As the Government has now set out a road map outlining how some of the current measures may be relaxed, we will also feed these into our own plans for the return of more services that are valued by our tenants and communities.

“Their knowledge and experience is helping us decide how and when services should be resumed and what priority these should take, always placing safety at the forefront of our decision-making process.”

“At Bernicia we firmly believe that the best decisions are always those made with our Board, tenants and staff working together”.

John will write to all tenants following agreement on the reintroduction of services to let them know when they will return.

Bernicia has 14,000 homes across the North East with 60,000 property and estate customers and an annual turnover of £75m.