Complaints and Appeal Policy

Purpose

 

This policy establishes the approach of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited to complaints and appeals in respect of housing, social housing applications and related services.

 

Scope

This policy applies to complaints and appeals made to Inner East Social Housing Group Limited by:

  • tenants and prospective tenants of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited in respect of rental housing; and

  • people whom Inner East Social Housing Group Limited has assisted to make an application for social housing under the Victorian Housing Register (VHR).

 

 

This policy does not apply to complaints or feedback received from people who are not tenants, prospective tenants or applicants for social housing.  This includes:

  • complaints or grievances by employees of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited;

  • complaints by contractors of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited; and

  • complaints or registration of concern by other member of the community (for example, neighbours)

 

Policy Statement

 

Guiding principles

 

All tenants and prospective tenants of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited and applicants (clients) have the right to:

  • complain about the way that Inner East Social Housing Group Limited has gone about delivering housing or related services; and

  • appeal a decision made by Inner East Social Housing Group Limited in relation to their housing, application or services.

 

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited welcomes complaints from clients as a key way by which Inner East Social Housing Group Limited receives feedback, responds to the needs of clients and improves its service delivery.

 

Accordingly, Inner East Social Housing Group Limited will:

  • provide clients with clear information about how they can make a complaint or lodge an appeal with Inner East Social Housing Group Limited and about any external complaint-handling bodies that are relevant (such as DHHS or the Housing Registrar);

  • support clients to make a complaint or appeal in a way that is accessible to them;

  • respond to complaints and appeals promptly, fairly and transparently;

  • respect the privacy and confidentiality of clients who make a complaint or lodge an appeal;

  • not take any adverse action in respect of a client simply because the client has made a complaint or lodged an appeal; and

  • keep records of complaints made and appeals lodged; and

  • use the outcome of complaints and appeals to improve Inner East Social Housing Group Limited’s service delivery and minimise future complaints and appeals.

 

Complaints by tenants or prospective tenants about rental housing

Tenants or prospective tenants of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited who are affected by decisions of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited on matters relating to rental housing may ask for their complaint to be dealt with under the complaints and appeals procedure.

 

Under this procedure, Inner East Social Housing Group Limited must take all reasonable steps to resolve such complaints within 30 days after the complaint is made to Inner East Social Housing Group Limited.

 

An individual who is a tenant or prospective tenant of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited and who has made a complaint to Inner East Social Housing Group Limited may refer the complaint to the Housing Registrar for investigation if the complaint is not resolved within 30 days after it is made. 

 

Complaints or appeals about applications for social housing under the Victorian Housing Register

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited participates in the VHR by:

  • providing applicants with information about applying for social housing under the VHR;

 

Where an applicant wishes to:

  • appeal a decision made by Inner East Social Housing Group Limited in relation to the person’s application for social housing to:

    • recommend or not recommend an application for approval;

    • approve or not approve an application;

    • remove an application from the register; and

    • determine if an offer of social housing is a reasonable offer,

then such applicants should first should ask that the complaint be reviewed or decision be reconsidered by Inner East Social Housing Group Limited under the complaints and appeals procedure.

 

Applicants for social housing who are unhappy with the resolution of a complaint under the complaints and appeals procedure may refer the complaint to the DHHS Housing Appeals Office.

 

Procedures

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited will establish a complaints and appeals procedure to support this policy.

 

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited will regularly monitor the effectiveness of this complaints and appeals procedure.

 

Definitions

In this policy:

Appeal

When a person asks for a review of a decision of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited to which this policy applies

Applicant

A person who Inner East Social Housing Group Limited assists to apply for social housing

Client

An applicant or a tenant or prospective tenant of Inner East Social Housing Group Limited

Complaint

A complaint is a client’s registered expression of dissatisfaction with any service delivered or action taken by Inner East Social Housing Group Limited to which this policy applies.

DHHS

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Social housing

Both public housing (housing owned and managed by DHHS) and housing owned, controlled or managed by participating registered agencies (that is, registered housing agencies that participate in the VHR)

VHR

The Victorian Housing Register, the statewide common application for people seeking social housing, which can be accessed via Inner East Social Housing Group Limited, DHHS, the mygov portal or designated support providers

Related policies

 

Privacy and confidentiality policy

 

Legislation and standards

 

This policy implements IESHG’s obligations under:

  • Housing Act 1983 (Vic) Part VIII Division 5 Subdivision 2 (Dispute Resolution)

  • Performance Standards for Registered Housing Agencies

  • DHHS Victorian Housing Register Operational Guidelines

 

Transparency and accessibility

This policy will be available on the Inner East Social Housing Group Limited website

www.ieshg.com.au

 

 

Procedures

 

Complaints coordination

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited will appoint a person to coordinate complaints, which will include to:

  • act as the point of contact with the Housing Registrar and DHHS Housing Appeals Office;

  • monitor compliance with the policy and this procedure (for example, the requirement to resolve complaints within 30 days); and

  • maintain the register of complaints and appeals.

 

Informal resolution

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited encourages all clients who are unhappy about the way that they have been treated by Inner East Social Housing Group Limited or decisions made by Inner East Social Housing Group Limited to take up the issue with the person who delivered the service or made the decision.  This can be a way of getting the matter resolved quickly.

 

However, if a client does not wish to do this then it is their right to have the matter dealt with under the complaints and appeals policy and this procedure.

 

How clients complain or appeal

 

Clients may make complaints or lodge appeals:

  • in person;

  • via a representative or advocate;

  • in writing (hard copy or electronic);

  • by telephone.

 

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited encourages clients to make complaints in writing as a way by which the issues can be most effectively identified and then resolved. However, Inner East Social Housing Group Limited recognises that some clients face barriers to doing so and will therefore:

  • accept complaints and appeals in a variety of means; and

  • take reasonable actions to assist that client to clarify the issues in their complaint or appeal.

 

Acknowledgement of complaint

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited will acknowledge receipt of all complaints and appeals within 2 working days.  This acknowledgement should advise the client of the process that Inner East Social Housing Group Limited will follow.

 

Investigation of complaint or consideration of the appeal

The procedure should assign a manager responsible for ensuring that Inner East Social Housing Group Limited responds appropriately to the complaint or appeal by investigating the matter and/or reconsidering any decision made.

 

This person should not be directly involved in the complaint or appeal – i.e. be the original decision-maker or the person whose conduct has given rise to the complaint.

 

Outcome of complaint or appeal

Responses to complaints and appeals must:

  • be in writing;

  • explain the outcome of the complaint or appeal and the reasons for Inner East Social Housing Group Limited’s decision; and

  • advise the client of their right to refer the matter to the Housing Registrar or DHHS Housing Appeals Office (as appropriate).

 

Investigation by the Housing Registrar

 

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited staff must co-operate with any such investigation by the Housing Registrar.

 

Privacy and confidentiality

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited must comply with the [Privacy and Confidentiality Policy] when undertaking this process.

 

Register of complaints

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited will maintain a register of complaints made and appeals lodged which complies with the requirements of the Housing Registrar.

 

Review

Inner East Social Housing Group Limited will use the outcome of complaints and appeals to improve Inner East Social Housing Group Limited’s service delivery and minimise future complaints and appeals by the following:

  • Consideration of outcomes of complaints at team meetings (on a de-identified and non-judgmental basis);

  • Quarterly reporting of complaints data to the [Board/ Executive];

Regular consideration of complaints data by Tenant Reference Group (or similar)

Complaints and Appeals

ABN: 92 882 272 807

            Phone: (03) 9853 7501                                                    Address: 1 Civic Drive, Kew, Vic, 3101

            Fax: (03) 9853 7501                                                         Postal Address: P.O.Box 526, Kew, Vic, 3101

            Email: ieshg@optusnet.com.au