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Joint working demonstrates commitment to improving complaints procedures for tenants

Two organisations, one raising the standards for tenants' homes, the other responsible for resolving housing disputes, have demonstrated their commitment to improving services to tenants by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for exchanging information.

The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) and the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS) have agreed an interim protocol, which will enable information sharing between the two organisations and improve the complaints procedures for tenants.

The MoU will further strengthen joint working, setting out how the two organisations will work closely together.

Joint working will include the sharing of quarterly reports and statistics between the TSA and HOS, which will indicate themes of enquiries and complaints so that trends can be analysed.

TSA Chief Executive Peter Marsh said, "The Memorandum is a tangible demonstration of our shared goals and commitment to work together.  It allows the TSA to draw upon the experiences of the Housing Ombudsman and, through the Ombudsman, those of tenants who have made complaints about landlords in gaining our better understanding of the performance of landlords."

Housing Ombudsman Mike Biles said, "I am pleased that we have been able to draw up a Memorandum that will enable staff in both organisations to understand which complaints can properly be considered by which of the two bodies.  This means that residents’ complaints will be swiftly and efficiently allocated for appropriate treatment according to our respective customer care standards.”

For media enquiries, contact the press office on 020 7393 2094/2118/2115 or by email pressoffice@tsa.gsx.gov.uk

Notes to editors:
1) The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) is the independent regulator for affordable housing, set to raise the standard of services through a well-governed sector that puts tenants first. It launched on 1 December 2008 and currently regulates housing associations. From spring 2010, the TSA will also regulate other providers of social housing, such as local authorities and arm’s-length management organisations.

2) This is an interim protocol.  The arrangements will be reviewed and revised in light of the TSA's standards against which registered providers and other social housing landlords will be regulated, and the expansion of TSA's remit to cover regulation of all social housing.

3) The Housing Ombudsman Service is set up by law to look at complaints about “registered” housing providers, including housing associations and other landlords, managers, and agents.  The Housing Act 1996 requires all social housing providers to belong to the Service and includes all providers registered with the TSA, such as landlords, managing agents, and developers.

4) The TSA is consulting with social housing tenants across five million households and their landlords to develop new standards to improve services for tenants.

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