- Purpose of Policy.
- AHBRA Commitment
- Statutory Appeals.
- How to make a complaint:
- Complaints Process.
- Accessibility Assistance.
- Vexatious Complaints.
- Responsibilities and Reporting.
- Complaints Officer Contact Details.
AHBRA Complaints Policy
The Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority (“AHBRA”) was established in February 2021 to oversee the effective governance, financial management and performance of all Approved Housing Bodies, in accordance with the legal framework set out in the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Act 2019 (“the Act”).
AHBRA is committed to providing services to its customers in accordance with the Guiding Principles of Quality Customer Service of the Public Service.
We welcome comments, suggestions and complaints about our performance and conduct in the discharge of our statutory duties and responsibilities. This feedback may come from AHB staff or board members, tenants, third parties, statutory agencies, local authorities, government organisations, voluntary and representative groups whose business interacts with AHBRA and the general public.
This policy relates to complaints directly relating to quality of service provided by AHBRA. This policy does not cover concerns raised relating to the conduct of AHBs, nor complaints about the outcome of AHBRA regulatory decisions or activities where there are statutory mechanisms in place to deal with complaints/appeals. Further information is provided under ‘Definitions’ below.
We regard feedback and complaints as opportunities to review practice, procedures and identify areas for improvement.
Our vision is of a sector in which AHBs demonstrate best practice in the areas of governance, finance, property and tenancy management and who provide quality homes for their tenants.
Our mission is to protect housing provided and managed by AHBs, through effective regulation.
- We will operate with integrity, ensuring consistent adherence to our principles
- We will deliver independent, proportionate and fair regulatory oversight
- We will be accountable and transparent in our decision-making
- We will work with key stakeholders in a co-operative manner
- We will strive for innovation in our delivery of regulation
2. Purpose of Policy
The purpose of this policy is to set out how we will approach complaints relating to conduct and performance of AHBRA and our staff. It outlines how we will deal with complaints submitted by stakeholders in relation to services provided by the organisation.
3. AHBRA Commitment
AHBRA is committed to:
- providing the best service possible for all stakeholders and to resolve all complaints as quickly as possible.
- a complaints process that operates in the spirit of natural justice and is fair, transparent, non-prejudicial and impartial.
- dealing with complaints in a timely manner and keeping complainants informed throughout the process.
- continuous improvement and using complaints and feedback to improve services. Complaints may be used to direct training opportunities for staff.
This policy relates to complaints directly relating to the quality of service provided by AHBRA. Further information is provided under ‘Definitions’ below.
Where complaints procedures are prescribed by law, legislative requirements will take precedence over this policy. Similarly, if complaints involve matters of a criminal nature, the investigation of these may have to take precedence over the complaint investigation. For further detail regarding items outside the scope of this policy please see ‘What can you not provide feedback or complaints about’ below.
This policy is applicable to all AHBRA employees, agents, consultants, and any other third-party representatives acting on AHBRA’s behalf when providing services to stakeholders in the AHB sector, members of the public and other bodies which may interact with AHBRA in any capacity.
5. Statutory Appeals
This Complaints Policy does not cover complaints regarding the outcome of AHBRA regulatory decisions or activities where there are statutory mechanisms in place to deal with complaints/appeals. This includes the following regulatory decisions, which can be appealed through the relevant appeals process and will not be considered under the complaints policy:
- Refusal to grant application for registration as an AHB.
- Proposal to give a notice of non-compliance to an AHB.
- Rejection of a compliance plan submitted by an AHB.
- Issuance of a notice of non-implementation to an AHB.
- Refusal of cancellation of an AHBs registration.
- Cancellation of an AHBs registration.
Details regarding how to appeal a statutory decision are included in the relevant notice of the decision.
Complaint: An expression of dissatisfaction with the quality of service provided by AHBRA.
Feedback: Information about, or reactions (positive or negative) to the quality of service provided, which may be used as a basis for the improvement of processes and procedures.
Who can submit complaints: Anyone who is directly affected by the way we have carried out our functions, or anyone acting directly on such a person’s behalf.
What can you submit a complaint about: You can complain about the way we do our business, something we have done, should have done or how we have treated you. Examples include:
- Failure of staff to follow AHBRA procedures
- Treatment by AHBRA staff
- Failure to respond to phone calls, emails or letters
- Undue delays (where the individual believes the time taken for AHBRA to provide a response or service has been unwarranted or excessive)
- Complaints in relation to Irish language requirements
What can you not provide feedback or complaints about?
- Concerns raised about AHBs regarding alleged misconduct or breaches of the Act. (Individuals can raise concerns about an AHB through the AHBRA Concerns policy.)
- AHBRA activities where there is a statutory right of appeal (for example, Compliance Assessments, Registration Eligibility, etc.).
- Regulatory decisions.
- Complaints about third parties who are not working on behalf of AHBRA, for example, an AHB, Local Authority or Government agency.
- Data Protection complaints, which can be directly referred to the Data Protection Officer at email@example.com
- Employment-related issues, including appointments, dismissals, pay, pensions and discipline, which are dealt with directly by AHBRA HR.
7. How to make a complaint:
If you are unsatisfied with the quality of service provided by AHBRA, you can submit a formal complaint to the AHBRA Complaints Officer via post, telephone call or email using the contact details below. When making a complaint, please provide your name, phone number, email address or postal address, if appropriate. If you are reporting on behalf of another individual, please include this information.
Provide a brief description of your complaint (include dates, times and reference numbers, if possible), describe your complaint and your desired outcome (e.g., receive an apology). Please inform us of your preferred method of communication.
Complaints should be made as soon as possible after the action giving rise to the complaint. The time limit for making a complaint is thirty days after the action. Complaints may only be accepted after this timeframe in limited circumstances, for example, if the complainant can demonstrate they have only become aware of the action after this limit, within sixty days of the action.
You have a right to appoint an advocate to assist you in making a complaint and to provide support during the complaint process. If you require such assistance, please inform us and we will try to provide contact information for an advocacy or support service who may be able assist you.
8. Complaints Process
Stage 1 – At the point of service delivery
We aim to resolve the majority of complaints through early resolution at the point of service delivery. This may result in an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, or immediate action to resolve the problem. If you remain unsatisfied with the solution, you can submit a formal complaint to the Complaints Officer, using the contact details below.
Stage 2 – Formal complaint through the Complaints Officer
In order to manage feedback and complaints effectively, AHBRA have appointed a dedicated Complaints Officer. If the complaint cannot be resolved through early resolution, our Complaints Officer will acknowledge your complaint within five working days.
Where necessary, the Complaints Officer may contact you to gather further information relating to the complaint or arrange a call to discuss the complaint. When the complaint and the complainant’s desired resolution are fully understood, the complaint will be directed to an appropriate member of staff for careful examination.
We will respond to you within thirty days of the complaint acknowledgement. The complaint response will outline what we have done, how we reached our decision and, where appropriate, how we intend to resolve the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved in this timeframe, the Complaints Officer will notify you of this, provide the reason(s) why and provide an updated timeframe for resolution.
Stage 3 – Office of the Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied that AHBRA has resolved your complaint, you can refer your complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is independent, free to use and can assess your complaint.
Contact details for the Ombudsman are available at www.ombudsman.ie.
Alternatively, you can contact the office by post: Office of the Ombudsman, 6 Earlsfort Terrace, St. Kevin’s, Dublin 2, D02W773.
Or by phone: 01 636 5600.
9. Accessibility Assistance
Should you, or a person you are acting on behalf of, require assistance in providing feedback or making a complaint, you should contact our Access Officer who will try to assist you.
In accordance with the Section 26(2) of the Disability Act (2005), AHBRA has appointed an Access Officer. Access Officers are responsible for providing or arranging for assistance and guidance to persons with disabilities accessing public services. For queries relating to persons with disabilities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Vexatious Complaints
We believe all correspondents and complainants have the right to be heard, understood, and respected. The staff of AHBRA are entitled to these same rights and therefore any vexatious, unreasonably persistent, or aggressive behaviour towards staff will not be tolerated.
AHBRA reserves the right to limit or terminate contact with anyone engaging in these behaviours towards staff. The Complaints Officer will maintain records of such vexatious complaints and may provide copies to the relevant authorities if the behaviours continue.
11. Responsibilities and Reporting
In order to manage feedback and complaints effectively, we have appointed a dedicated Complaints Officer who has responsibility for coordinating responses to complaints, liaising with the appropriate business unit to resolve complaints and providing updates and resolutions to complainants.
All staff are responsible for delivering quality services with courtesy and sensitivity. Staff in all business units may be appointed to respond to the Complaints Officer regarding a complaint related to their respective area of responsibility. Staff will be expected to respond to the Complaints Officer promptly and at the latest within 10 working days.
In order to improve the performance of our services, and to reduce the likelihood of recurring issues, the Complaints Officer will maintain a confidential record of all feedback and complaints received. All learnings will be shared across AHBRA anonymously. Managers at all levels are responsible for fostering a climate of quality customer service and continuous improvement based on feedback/complaint learnings.
Feedback and complaints provide a measure of customer satisfaction and a basis from which to improve services. The Complaints Officer will report to the CEO on a regular basis regarding feedback and complaints, and to the Board as appropriate. Figures on feedback & complaints will published in AHBRA’s Annual Report.
12. Complaints Officer Contact Details
Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority
4th Floor Grattan House,
67-72 Mount Street Lower,