Housing Matters: How can housing associations better deal with disputes and complaints?

In the aftermath of a shocking disaster like the Grenfell Tower fire in London earlier this year, housing association tenants will understandably be asking questions about their own homes and wondering where to turn for advice. If you work for a housing association you will be familiar with the pressures of dealing with complaints and finding resolutions as quickly as possible to housing disputes.

If you’re looking at the basics, the complaints procedure for tenants is fairly simple; use your housing association's formal complaints procedure to complain. Then, if you are not satisfied with the outcome, tenants are able to contact the Housing Ombudsman Service.

The Housing Ombudsman is a free, independent and impartial public body that exclusively deals with complaints about social housing. The sort of disputes that tenants can raise vary from the everyday, to the extreme, and housing associations are expected to be able to deal with all of these in a timely and exemplary manner.

How can housing associations improve?

To help housing associations react effectively to these increasing pressures we have decided to run a training day dedicated to handling complaints within housing.

I’d like to introduce you to a few speakers that we have confirmed and are really excited to hear from: joining us directly from the Housing Ombudsman we have the director of dispute resolution, Emma Foxall.

She has extensive housing advice experience having provided advice and training to advisors and advice agencies through Shelter’s National Homelessness Advisory Service. Emma joined the Housing Ombudsman Service in 2004, initially as an investigator. In her current role she has brought together her legal and training knowledge to lead on sector development work for the Housing Ombudsman Service.

The Housing Ombudsman aims for every housing association to view complaints not as a nuisance, but as a way of driving up performance.

No Understanding ModernGov training day would be complete without some best practice case studies; we are pleased to be working alongside Michelle Francis and Ken Andrews from the Peabody Trust to hear how they resolve complaints about anti-social behaviour. The Peabody trust was awarded the CIH award for tackling this issue so we are sure that they will have a lot of tips ready to share.

If you are getting a lot of complaints about repairs or defects then hearing from Jillie Smithies from Golding Homes would be really beneficial, they’ve also won a CIH award for responses to complaints about repairs.

One of the most positive things that can be taken away from complaints are using them effectively to improve your services. Jonathan Earnshaw from Anchor has a lot of experience in using complaints in a positive way to influence future thinking and change processes for the better.

Finally, to finish off we have our chair Peter Davey, a charity and housing consultant taking our delegates through a workshop, where you will get into groups and discuss methods to improve your organisations response to complaints, leaving the day with an action plan you can take back to the office about how you can move forward in a positive way.

If you’re thinking that this sounds beneficial either for yourself or for a colleague, get in touch to have a chat or make a booking. We would love to hear from you.

To speak to a member of our team about this training or to book your place on Effectively Handling Complaints in Housing please call 0800 542 9440 or email enquiries@moderngov.com