Do you have a process in place for resolving tenant complaints about how you handled their original complaint?
It’s important that you do to make sure fewer cases end up with The Housing Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman now publishes its decisions every two weeks and they identify the landlord in each case. It’s our job as third party mediators to help you prevent cases escalating to this stage so that you suffer no bad press and your tenants get their issues resolved quickly and appropriately.
We can do this more effectively if you’ve already been through the process to make mediation part of your complaints process.
Here we will look at a recent case that we handled. Unfortunately the housing association in this case didn’t have an effective complaints handling process in place and the complainant did escalate the issue to The Ombudsman.
We will look at the lessons the association learned and how a good complaints handling process that incorporates mediation early enough can help you avoid cases escalating in the same way.
Complaint resolution case: how it unfolded
In this case we received the referral from the housing association’s customer feedback team.
‘Ms B,’ as we will identify her, had complained to them about how they had dealt with her ASB complaint involving her noisy neighbour.
Stage one resulted in the housing association closing the complaint and stating they would take no further action.
Ms B contacted The Housing Ombudsman who advised Ms B to escalate the complaint to stage two of the process, with a suggestion of introducing mediation.
The housing association escalated the complaint to a senior manager who reviewed the case and advised that they were unable to progress it.
They did agree to bring in mediation, which Ms B agreed to as she felt it would be good to discuss her issues and their decisions.
We started our involvement and completed the mediation sessions between the association and Ms B which resulted in a solid action plan.
The housing association agreed to offer mediation between Ms B and the neighbour. They asked Ms B to record the noise as evidence but Ms B found using technology difficult. They managed to come up with alternative option and reached an agreement on how to manage this.
Complaint resolution case: the outcome
Ms B had mediation with the neighbour and they reached an agreement. Things aren’t perfect but they are much better between them. Ms B also now feels comfortable again approaching the housing association should there be any future issues.
Three months later we followed up with the housing association – it was clear they had learnt from this experience.
They realised that it’s much easier to hear and understand someone’s issues face to face rather than in writing.
They said: “If we had offered a sit down meeting at stage one, The Ombudsman would never have been involved as it was simple to resolve.”
Did you know…?
The Ombudsman has determined a significant number of complaints relating to noise over the last three years – 848 in total – and identified maladministration in 41 per cent of cases!
The importance of an effective complaints handling process
As you can see, the housing association’s handling of this complaint was ineffective from the outset. This resulted in an issue with a simple remedy ending up with The Ombudsman unnecessarily.
At ADR Mediation we can work with you to refine your processes so that you can simply refer cases to us when you need us. Break the cycle and prevent simple complaints escalating.
- Diffuse complaints quickly and prevent escalations
- Provide you with an opportunity to understand complaints better
- Give you valuable insight to prevent similar complaints from other tenants
- Save you a lot of time and money whilst protecting your reputation
Contact us today to find out how we can help with improving your complaints resolution process. Call 01772 954602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.