Independent Complaints Panel (ICP)
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We’re looking for customers to help create a fair and impartial complaints process
The independent complaints panel (ICP) is run by customers of Derwent Living, Luminus, Tuntum Housing Association and Longhurst Group. The aim of this panel is to help resolve complaints by helping to mediate an outcome between the landlord and complainant where a complaint has already passed through our formal complaints process.
Who are we looking for?
There are three positions available for Longhurst Group customers on the independent complaints panel. We are looking for customers who:
- have experience in handling customer complaints
- are currently a Longhurst Group customer or leaseholder
- are willing to take part in training to increase your skills and knowledge
- are available up to once a month in Derby, Huntingdon or Nottingham (You'll be eligible for travel expenses).
The ICP has been set up in the context of the Government’s Localism Act, designed to increase the influence of local people when decisions are made.
A complaint can go straight to the Ombudsman without taking it to the complaints panel but the complainant will have to wait eight weeks. The time taken from starting the process with the Ombudsman to them issuing a response can be 6 months or more.
The members are supported by the Tenant Participation Advisory Service to ensure that the process is fully independent and objective.
Purpose of the ICP
These terms of reference establish how the ICP will operate to improve complaint resolution and services provided by the member landlords.
- Derwent Living
- Tuntum Housing
- Luminus Group
- Longhurst Group
- The aim of the ICP is to act as the recognised ‘designated person’ for each landlord, once their internal complaints process has been exhausted
- to independently facilitate complaint resolution, this may involve providing advice, advocating on the complainants behalf and discussing matters with the landlord
- to consider the evidence provided and make recommendations to improve the services provided by member landlords and their complaint procedures
- the panel will highlight to member landlords best practice in complaints handling and resolution.
Role of the Panel
- The role of the ICP will be to help the landlord learn from complaints, playing a critical friend role, suggesting views and approaches
- to facilitate the resolution of the complaint by achieving consensus between the customer and landlord
- if the complaint panel is unable to resolve the complaint, and the complainant wishes, it has the option to refer the complaint to the Ombudsman after the internal complaints process has been exhausted
- the ICP does not have ‘formal’ powers other than the right to refer a complaint to the Ombudsman. The ICP can make recommendations to the landlord to resolve a complaint but should not make a formal determination or formal judgement on a complaint
- the ICP does not have power over an organisations polices and procedures but it can make recommendations for improvement
- the ICP can only refer a complaint to the ombudsman with the authorisation of the complainant
- the complainant must be asked by the ICP to authorise their involvement with the landlord in relation to their complaint and allow information regarding the complaint to be divulged. This should be done through a written and signed agreement
- the panel may make referrals to landlord scrutiny teams and tenant panels if it is felt a fuller review of the subject area is needed to improve services.
To be a member of the panel, a customer must:
- demonstrate that they meet or are willing to work towards meeting the role specification
- not been served with a current eviction application or anti social behaviour order
- not currently in rent arrears or must be adhering to an arrears repayment plan
- the member landlord is not taking any legal action against them or they are not currently engaged in legal action against the member landlord
- attend no less than 75% of training and meetings in any year
- abide by collective decision making
- sign a code of conduct and confidentiality agreement
- act quickly on behalf of the customer
- be committed to openness, transparency and discussion on the different routes to resolve complaints
Recruitment and training
- Each landlord will be allocated up to three customer spaces for which to recruit
- the recruitment process will be advertised and overseen by each member landlord
- panel members will be recruited for an initial term of one year, following a successful review of their membership this will automatically extend to three years. After three years have elapsed members can reapply up to a maximum of nine years
- panel members will be expected to attend training as required to fulfil the aims of the Panel, including refreshers, best practice and updates on complaint management by our landlords and experts, locally and nationally
- panel members will undertake an annual appraisal and training needs analysis, collectively and individually
- the panel will have an annual budget set by the member landlords, so that it can access to advice and support from external agencies, as required
- panel members will not receive any monetary payment for their time.
- panel members can not be employed by or be a board member of the participating landlords
- members will be required to declare any possible conflicts of interest regarding a complaint. They would be excluded from taking part on the review of any such complaint.