Have your say – consultation on customer involvement in complaints scrutiny

A month-long consultation has been launched today (Wednesday October 18, 2023) by Riverside Customer Voice Executive who have recommended proposals to change the way we involve customers in the scrutiny of our complaints process.

Tenant Complaints Panels have been a part of our complaints process for many years. They give customers the option to have complaints assessed by other customers, and for them to provide recommendations on how we resolve them.

Now though – following a review of our process by the Housing Ombudsman Service – they have recommended we stop providing these panels.

This is for two reasons:

  1. Because customers can now refer unresolved complaints directly to the Housing Ombudsman without delay to get a quicker independent resolution and
  2. Because it is a time-consuming process.

Providing Tenant Complaints Panels as a route to complaint resolution is included within the Riverside Customer Voice constitution.

So, we’re carrying out a consultation to get your views on a proposal from our Riverside Customer Voice Executive to amend the wording of the Riverside Customer Voice constitution to change the emphasis of the Tenant Complaint Panel from a dispute resolution group to a complaint handling scrutiny group. If there is support for this change then a resolution will be presented to the Annual General Meeting of the Riverside Customer Voice in December to implement that change.

The Riverside Customer Voice Executive have made the decision to suspend the Tenant Complaint Panel in its current form based on the recommendation of the Housing Ombudsman and whilst broad customer views are sought through this consultation.

Maintaining strong customer input

The important thing to stress is that we are not removing customer scrutiny; only proposing that we change how customers give their input.

While, under our new proposals, we’ll no longer run Tenant Complaints Panels that assess and make judgements on individual complaints, we will still maintain strong, regular customer input which will inform our complaints policy, processes, and judgements.

With your support, we’ll instead create a Complaints Scrutiny Group which will meet regularly, assessing all aspect of our complaint-related activity, including looking at responses to individual complaints, the lessons learned from those complaints and ensuring business practices are improved. This will enable us to fulfil one of the customer developed Customer Service Principals – Learn from Our Mistakes.

This proposed change will not only enable us to complying with the Housing Ombudsman Service’ recommendations to cease Tenant Complaints Panels, but we believe this will add value to you as customers by creating a scrutiny group who are able to interrogate our processes and decisions more widely and allowing them to affect all of our decisions on complaint handling; not just the outcomes for a single complainant.

Get involved

So please, click here to get involved and have your say. It only takes a few minutes. Your views are always appreciated.

The consultation will be open for a month and close on November 18 at 5pm.

Finally, to find out more about our feedback process, please visit www.riverside.org.uk/customer-feedback/