Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Michael Hill

Michael Hill

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  • Comment on: Council failed domestic violence victim - report

    Michael Hill's comment | 13/10/2011 1:50 pm

    I agree F451 - however, the changes being made in the Localism Bill would not have affected this case as it is to do with homelessness and so would still fall under the remit and the rules of the Local Government Ombudsman. Only housing management activities will be transferred to the Housing Ombudsman - and the 'referral' rules - homelessness and other strategic housing functions will stay with the Local Government Ombudsman (and therefore retain direct access). Confusing? yes....

  • Comment on: Council failed domestic violence victim - report

    Michael Hill's comment | 13/10/2011 1:50 pm

    I agree F451 - however, the changes being made in the Localism Bill would not have affected this case as it is to do with homelessness and so would still fall under the remit and the rules of the Local Government Ombudsman. Only housing management activities will be transferred to the Housing Ombudsman - and the 'referral' rules - homelessness and other strategic housing functions will stay with the Local Government Ombudsman (and therefore retain direct access). Confusing? yes....

  • Comment on: Ombudsman concerned by direct complaint ban

    Michael Hill's comment | 09/09/2011 10:34 am

    Alex, I think there are two main issues with this. Firstly, surely it should be the choice of the complainant to involve other tenants? Already, a complainant has the choice to get a tenant rep involved if they want to (or a cllr or MP). Secondly, most HA complaint procedures already have a panel with tenant representation at the final stage. The last HA I worked with had a panel of 3 people - two tenant reps and a board member (it used to be 2 tenant reps and an independent person but the housing ombudsman said that a board member had to be on the panel...). Therefore, why involve yet another layer and yet another stage - HA complaint procedures have more internal stages than any other sector already. And a final point - some complaints are very sensitive and the complainant just doesn't want to share details with other tenants. I dealt with a very sensitive complaint about a HAs handling of a domestic violence issue where the complainant wanted to keep matters very private - in the Localism Bill she would be forced to share those matters with other tenants or a MP or a councillor if the HA failed to resolve her complaint. To me that is unjust and absurd - and why should this only apply to social housing tenants? Why can I complain about planning matters and have direct access to the Ombudsman? Why can I complain about homelessness (homelessness will remain with the Local Government Ombudsman) and complain direct to an Ombudsman? etc etc....

  • Comment on: Ombudsman concerned by direct complaint ban

    Michael Hill's comment | 09/09/2011 10:34 am

    Alex, I think there are two main issues with this. Firstly, surely it should be the choice of the complainant to involve other tenants? Already, a complainant has the choice to get a tenant rep involved if they want to (or a cllr or MP). Secondly, most HA complaint procedures already have a panel with tenant representation at the final stage. The last HA I worked with had a panel of 3 people - two tenant reps and a board member (it used to be 2 tenant reps and an independent person but the housing ombudsman said that a board member had to be on the panel...). Therefore, why involve yet another layer and yet another stage - HA complaint procedures have more internal stages than any other sector already. And a final point - some complaints are very sensitive and the complainant just doesn't want to share details with other tenants. I dealt with a very sensitive complaint about a HAs handling of a domestic violence issue where the complainant wanted to keep matters very private - in the Localism Bill she would be forced to share those matters with other tenants or a MP or a councillor if the HA failed to resolve her complaint. To me that is unjust and absurd - and why should this only apply to social housing tenants? Why can I complain about planning matters and have direct access to the Ombudsman? Why can I complain about homelessness (homelessness will remain with the Local Government Ombudsman) and complain direct to an Ombudsman? etc etc....

  • Comment on: Ombudsman concerned by direct complaint ban

    Michael Hill's comment | 09/09/2011 9:25 am

    The Coalition Government believes that the removal of direct access will encourage greater local resolution of complaints. However, what actually encourages local resolution from a regulatory perspective is decreasing the time that an organisation is allowed to resolve a complaint - such as in the Financial, Legal, Telecoms and Energy sectors where they are allowed 4 weeks (or 8 weeks for 'complex' cases) to deliver a final response. If they fail to do so, the customer can go straight to an Ombudsman - and continued failures are flagged with a regulator for action (such as the fines imposed on RBS, BoS, British Gas etc). This really does concentrate the minds of those businesses locally because they actually don't want the Ombudsman to be continually knocking on their door.

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