Read our Compliments, Complaints and Appeals

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Compliments, Complaints
and Appeals
Purpose
The aim of this policy is to ensure that Bridge Housing
has a consistent, systematic approach to managing and
monitoring feedback on its services and its decisions.
This policy outlines the way that Bridge Housing
manages complaints about its service delivery, appeals
about the decisions it has made and manages
compliments about service delivery.
Scope
This policy relates to the process that Bridge Housing
uses to handle compliments, complaints and appeals
about its services and how they are delivered. This
policy applies to all Bridge Housing customers including
tenants, applicants, support agencies and the
communities in which Bridge Housing provides a
service.
Disputes between neighbours and within communities
are not covered by this policy and are handled in
accordance with Bridge Housing’s Good Neighbour
Policy.
Policy overview
Bridge Housing respects and values the views of all
customers. Compliments, complaints and appeals are
welcome as they provide valuable feedback about
Bridge Housing’s services and the way they are
delivered.
Bridge Housing will take a consistent, systematic
approach to managing, monitoring and analysing all
feedback on its services. It will ensure that its
complaints and appeals process is clear and accessible
and is managed consistently, fairly and promptly.
Policy
Bridge Housing acknowledges that errors,
misunderstandings, client dissatisfaction and
unexpected problems occur in all systems and services.
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Effective complaint and appeal handling enables
organisations to intervene before a problem becomes
worse, provide a review process for complaints and
appeals by customers who have been disadvantaged by
a Bridge Housing action or decision and nurture
relationships between Bridge Housing and our
customers. Similarly Bridge Housing welcomes positive
feedback that compliments its staff on the way they
deliver a service as it can be used to promote excellence
within the organisation.
Any Bridge Housing customer or someone acting on
their behalf has the right to lodge a complaint or appeal
about services or how they are delivered. Bridge
Housing is committed to managing complaints and
appeals fairly, consistently and efficiently. It will also
monitor specific areas of its service delivery by
providing opportunities for service users to provide
feedback.
What is a compliment?
Bridge Housing defines a compliment as an expression
of satisfaction with one of its services or with the way
the service has been delivered by one or more staff.
Examples of compliments include:
•
Sensitivity in dealing with a change in
circumstances
•
Prompt handling of correspondence and phone
calls
•
Efficient processes for responsive repairs
•
Approachable and responsive services
What is a complaint?
Bridge Housing defines a complaint as an expression of
dissatisfaction with a specific aspect of its services
where the complainant is unhappy with the standard
or type of service and requests a changed outcome.
Examples of complaints include:
•
Failing to provide a service or an aspect of a service
such as not completing a repair, not conducting
tenant visits or not providing rent statements
Permission to be absent and rent calculation during
absence
•
Relocating tenants to other social housing at the
expiry of a leasehold
•
Rude or inappropriate staff behaviour such as not
returning call
Further detail on appeals can be found on the Housing
Appeals Committee website www.hac.nsw.gov.au.
•
Poor administration of a service such as not
recording changes in circumstances or sending out
appropriate forms
There is a two step process to manage an appeal:
•
•
Providing an inconsistent or inaccurate service such
as responding differently in different circumstances
or providing incorrect advice on Bridge Housing
policy
Complaints about service delivery are handled internally
by Bridge Housing. All complaints must be reviewed and
agreed by the General Manager at a minimum. If the
complaint relates to the service delivery overseen by a
General Manager, it will be reviewed by the Chief
Executive Officer.
What is an appeal?
Bridge Housing defines an appeal as an expression of
dissatisfaction with a decision it has made. The appeal
process provides the opportunity to review the decision
and to reflect on whether a decision has been made
based on full and accurate information and in
accordance with legislation and/or policies and
procedures. Appealable decisions are defined by the
Housing Appeals Committee - www.hac.nsw.gov.au.
For social housing applicants and Bridge Housing
tenants, appealable decisions include:
•
Eligibility for social housing including priority
housing
•
Dwelling entitlements – number of bedrooms or
property type
•
Locational entitlement and entitlement to ‘high
demand’ locations
•
Offers of properties and the suitability of each offer
•
Eligibility for a transfer including management
transfers
1. The tenant or applicant must seek a review of the
decision by Bridge Housing. This appeal must be
investigated and the complainant must be advised in
writing of the outcome. Please be assured that the
person you are complaining about will not be the
one handling your complaint and in the case of an
appeal, the person who made the original decision
will not manage the appeal.
2. If a tenant or applicant is unhappy with the outcome
of an appeal to Bridge Housing, they can lodge a
second level appeal with the Housing Appeals
Committee. The Housing Appeals Committee is an
independent agency that reviews certain decisions
made by staff of community housing organisations
and Housing NSW. For information on the Housing
Appeals Committee call 1800 629 794 or go to
www.hac.nsw.gov.au.
How to make a complaint or appeal
Bridge Housing aims to make the process for making a
complaint or appeal fair and accessible. Any person
involved in the complaint or appeal process can expect
to be treated with respect and dignity at all times.
Making a complaint or appeal will not result in any form
of retaliation or discrimination, including any change in
attitude or quality of service received from Bridge
Housing staff.
While complaints and appeals are managed differently,
Bridge Housing does not expect an individual to identify
whether their matter is a complaint or an appeal. This
will be identified and clearly communicated to an
individual when a complaint or appeal is received.
A complainant or appellant has the right to:
•
Have their concern dealt with confidentially and
professionally
•
Removal from the NSW Housing Register
•
Changes to a tenancy including mutual exchange or
succession of a tenancy
•
Ask for help in raising their concern including the
assistance of an advocate
•
Need for modifications for disability/medical
reasons only
•
Invite a support person such as friend or relative to
accompany them in any meetings
•
Former tenant charges
•
•
Calculation of water charges
Choose a location that is comfortable and
convenient
•
Calculation, change or cancellation of a rent subsidy
•
Use interpreting and translating services
•
Be given information on tenant advice and
advocacy services
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•
Take their appeal further if they are not satisfied
with the outcome
Compliments, complaints and appeals can be made
verbally or in writing:
•
By email to [email protected]
•
By completing a feedback form from Bridge
Housing’s office or downloading a from our website
- www.bridgehousing.org.au and mail to PO BOX
1835 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
•
By making an appointment for a face to face
appointment at Bridge Housing’s office at Level 9,
Tower 1, 1 Lawson Square, Redfern NSW 2016
•
By calling Bridge Housing on 02 8234 0800
the outcome. The relevant member of the Executive
Team will then send a letter outlining the outcome of
the complaint or appeal.
What happens if I disagree with the
outcome of my complaint or appeal?
•
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your
complaint you can take the matter to Bridge
Housing Board. The Housing Board will discuss the
complaint at their next meeting. You will be advised
of the Housing Board decision within 14 days of
their meeting. The Housing Board’s decision is final.
•
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your
appeal, you have the right to appeal to the
independent Housing Appeals Committee (HAC
www.hac.org.au). The Housing Appeals Committee
can be contacted on 1800 629 794.
Any Bridge Housing staff member can receive a
compliment, complaint or appeal and is responsible for
recording and registering this internally.
The person taking details of the compliment, complaint
or appeal will be responsible for acknowledging it in
writing within two business days.
For complaints and appeals, the acknowledgement
letter will provide details of the person or ‘Complaint
Manager’ responsible for managing the complaint or
appeal and will explain the next steps in the process.
Bridge Housing will assign a Complaint Manager that
will be responsible throughout the process for:
•
Communicating with the complainant or appellant
•
Keeping accurate notes
•
Investigating thoroughly and impartially
•
Keeping details of the complaint or appeal
confidential for internal reporting and Board
reporting purposes
•
Providing information about external agencies who
can investigate in any situation where the
complaint or appeal remains unresolved or the
person is dissatisfied with the outcome
To maintain impartiality and fairness, Bridge Housing
will ensure that the Complaint Manager appointed to
investigate a complaint or appeal is not the subject of
the complaint or the appeal. In these instances,
responsibility for managing the complaint will be
assigned to a Complaint Manager from a different team.
An example of when this will occur is where the
complaint is about staff behaviour.
Bridge Housing will aim to resolve complaints and
appeals promptly, and wherever possible within 21
business days of receipt. In situations where resolution
or an outcome will exceed 21 days, the Complaint
Manager will advise the complainant or appellant of
progress to date the anticipated date of resolution and
any reasons for the delay.
The Complaint Manager will contact the complainant or
appellant at the end of the investigation to advise on
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Assistance for tenants or applicants
making a complaint or appeal
Bridge Housing will assist clients to complete the
relevant forms to make a complaint or appeal as
required. This includes arranging an appropriate service
provider or interpreter if needed.
External bodies that can provide assistance with service
users completing complaints include:
•
Local Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Services listed
on www.tenants.org.au
•
Community Legal Centres contactable through
www.clcnsw.org.au
•
The NSW Fair Trading Information Centre who can
be contacted on 133 220 and at
www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
How Bridge Housing uses information
from compliments, complaints and
appeals
Bridge Housing will regularly review information from
complaints and appeals to identify ways in which its
services and their delivery can be improved. It will
regularly report to its Board on the numbers and types
of complaints and appeals and on their outcomes.
It will also provide information on its complaints and
appeals to comply with the reporting requirements of
the National Regulatory System for Community Housing
(NRSCH) and Community and Private Market Housing
Directorate (CAPMH).
Bridge Housing staff will always use information from
complaints and appeals in a way that does not identify
the complainant or appellant.
Issues outside this policy
•
The NSW Civil and Appeals Tribunal (NCAT) deals
with tenancy issues arising from Bridge Housing’s
obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act
2010 and can be contacted on 1300 135 399 or at
NCAT.
•
Concerns about fraud, misconduct or illegal activity
by Bridge Housing staff or its Board are handled by
the Bridge Housing Fraud Officer and through the
Bridge Housing whistle-blower hotline on 1300 798
101. Please see the Fraud Policy and the Whistleblower Policy for more information.
•
The National Regulatory System for Community
Housing investigates complaints that raise concerns
about a registered community housing providers’
compliance with the Regulatory Code including the
way it is governed or how it manages its assets. A
complaint can be made using the online form found
at www.nrsch.gov.au/complaint_form. A complaint
can also be made by contacting the Office of the
Registrar in NSW on 1800 330 940.
•
The Community and Private Market Housing
Directorate of Department of Family and
Community Services has also released a guide as to
management of complaints and appeals available
at
http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/Community+Housi
ng+Division/
Related documents
Legislation
•
Residential Tenancies Act 2010
•
Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010
Documents supporting this policy
•
Compliments, Complaints and Appeals Procedure
•
Good Neighbour Policy
•
Good Neighbour Procedure
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