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Housing Department to introduce in-house complaints procedure

The Housing Department is to introduce an in-house complaints procedure, where grievances must be lodged and investigated before they can be submitted to the Ombudsman.

Of all Government departments, the Housing Department persistently attracts the most complaints from members of the public.

The office of the Ombudsman has received 737 complaints against the Housing Authority in the last five years.

The establishment of a new complaints procedure comes after the Ombudsman, in his latest report, found that the Department was failing to follow its own established written rules and procedures under the housing allocation scheme rules.

The new Enforcements and Compliance Office will be responsible for investigating complaints, taking necessary action to rectify breaches, litigation liaison and arrears.

In a statement the Housing Department said it is committed to providing a professional service to all its tenants and clients.

Additionally, the Department said it welcomes any grievances or complaints to assist in improving their services and standards.

Should a tenant not be satisfied and feel their respective query has not been addressed in an adequate manner after dealing with a Housing Department’s staff member and their line manager, the tenant may proceed to lodge a complaint with the Department.

This can be done in one of a number of ways such as by writing or emailing the Housing Department with the grievance.

The Housing Department will then proceed to follow a five-point complaint process.

This includes acknowledging the complaint within 21 days, reviewing the complaint to determine if any further information or additional documentation is required.

The complaint will then be investigated “objectively and impartially” and a response of the findings sent to the complainant along with a notification of the actions taken.

The department will record the complaint as part of their continuous improvement and monitoring. Personal information will be stored in accordance with relevant privacy legislation

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