What you missed at the Tpas Housing Summit: Focus on Complaints

Thursday 14th of September 2023

The 7th of October saw us host the 3rd of this year's highly popular Tpas Housing Summits, this time around the subject of complaints.

A busy morning with over a hundred people in attendance online. We first heard from the Housing Ombudsman on their current work and priorities. Then Mitchell Allseybrook from Places for People took us through the activities of the organisation's Independent Tenants Panel. The morning was topped off by Mark Bailey from the Collaboration Network who led a discussion on how positive approaches to complaints handling can be found by looking to best practice and lessons learned from beyond the housing sector.

So, after an information overload of a morning what key lessons did we take away?

Complaints on the rise 
The ombudsman is dealing with record numbers of complaints with them receiving over 11,025 in the last quarter with 68% of all cases concerning property condition. 64% of all determinations from the Ombudsman found maladministration. They are increasing staff numbers to deal with demand and will be launching soon an online learning resource to enable the sector to gain additional support in complaints resolution. 

Tenant power works 
The Places for People presentation from Mitchell Allseybrook showed how even though many housing providers have moved away from or steered clear of tenant panels, in their case they have felt it has had real benefits to complaints resolution. Tenants can choose to use the panel or not and many residents reflected on how having a fellow tenant’s perspective on their case was beneficial in resolving the complaint. 

Drop the jargon
In a very lively end to the summit Mark Bailey from the Collaboration Network gave an insightful and at times amusing outsiders perspective on complaints and the housing sector. He mentioned how when looking at our complaints systems he found a jargon minefield with words like “void” being another language to the average person. He went on to talk about how we need to “be where the customer wants you to be” when it comes to dealing with complaints rather than the provider dictating the process and how we need to embrace an emphatic approach understanding the “lived” reality of those who find themselves with a complaint.

We at Tpas really enjoy delivering these events to you and having this golden opportunity to hear different views and discuss best practice. Look out for more summits in the future and if you have any ideas for future topics, please drop us a line. 


You can watch back the summit here