Chloe, Dispute Resolution Advisor
My name is Chloe, and I am a Dispute Resolution Advisor in the Dispute Support Team. I have been working at The Housing Ombudsman Service since January 2021. My day usually consists of working through tasks allocated to my cases and taking inbound calls providing advice on support to residents on making a complaint and escalating it via their landlord’s complaint procedure. I find it exciting to be part of an organisation that is aiming to improve the quality of social housing and to work with landlords providing advice on how they can use complaints as learning and continuous improvement.
My role involves a lot of problem solving, using my initiative and customer service experience in working with residents to recognise the complaint issue being raised and identifying the next steps for a complaint, whether that be communicating with a landlord directly or advising a resident of our role and what they can expect from our Service and what they should do next to attempt to resolve the issues.
I started my role during lockdown which meant I did all my training online. The training is thorough and informative and gives you a good understanding of the role. I currently work most of my time at home. Despite being in a virtual world I have developed close working relationships with my colleagues and management and feel that I am able to easily contact and liaise with other teams. I have recently started going into the office and I am really hoping that other colleagues will take a hybrid approach to their work pattern now that we seem to be returning to normal life. The office also has a great gym and is a great location in Canary Wharf!
I have experience in housing and have had several roles within the sector in various locations. I like to think that I am approachable and use my experience working with residents, local authorities, and social housing landlords to provide understanding to a resident’s situation and provide suitable advice to our service users to attempt to resolve complaints within the dispute support stage of the service.
I have been supported by my colleagues and management since I started at the organisation and regularly reach out to my team for a random chat over a coffee, much like we would in person. The organisation is very focused on wellbeing and offers great benefits such as training packages, flexible working patterns and generous holiday to get that much needed R&R from a challenging but rewarding role!
With the Ombudsman’s delegated authority, I investigate and offer a final decision on complex disputes between member landlord’s and residents, drawing on housing law, best practice guidance, and dispute resolution principles. By employing an inquisitorial, evidence-based approach, I am able to establish the facts of a case, and to arrive at an outcome which is impartial and fair to all parties.
How long have you worked for the Housing Ombudsman Service?
For over two years
What attracted you to working for the Housing Ombudsman Service and your particular role?
I was drawn to the Housing Ombudsman Service on reading about the incredible work that the Service had done.
The Adjudicator position in particular offered me the opportunity to draw on my background in investigation, and through the powers bestowed by the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, to make important decisions for fairer outcomes.
The role has given me an opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of residents and landlord services.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
While I have a passion for investigation and establishing the details of a case, the most satisfying aspect of my job is being able to offer resolution and remedy, where both parties have been unable to achieve this for themselves. My role gives me the tools to call out landlords on poor behaviours and inadequate services, but also to acknowledge where a landlord’s actions have been reasonable and proportionate. Ultimately, I take satisfaction in putting things right and contributing to a fairer sector.
How have you been supported to develop in your role?
The Housing Ombudsman Service has been great in supporting my development, both within my role and within the organisation as a whole.
Through casework and quality forums, a buddy system, frequent one-to-ones with my manager, and a library of easily accessible resources, I’ve seen myself grow into a more senior adjudicator, and to be confident in the decisions I make and the grounds on which these are made.
While I began my role as just an Adjudicator, I’ve been presented with opportunities to be involved with so much more. In recent months, I’ve been given the opportunity to share my skills and knowledge to support the development of newer staff, to act as a buddy and mentor, and to support the delivery of training for adjudicators. I am now involved in more and more opportunities to offer casework oversight.
What do you like most about working for the Housing Ombudsman Service?
The flexibility and freedom which enables me to have a good work/life balance.
How would you describe the Housing Ombudsman Service as a place to work?
It’s an organisation with great people and a supportive and enthusiastic Ombudsman. Although many of us currently work remotely, we’ve still managed to maintain a sense of synergy and togetherness.
I would also say that the Service is amongst the most diverse organisations I have ever worked for.
Would you recommend other people to join the Housing Ombudsman Service and why?
Definitely. The Service is extremely supportive of its employees, offers opportunities for growth and development (as well as great benefits), offers an opportunity to have a real impact on the housing sector, and is true to its values.
Claire, Adjudicator (Investigations)
My role is to investigate complaints that have exhausted the landlord’s internal complaints process and which have been referred to this service by residents, either directly or through a Designated Person. To do this involves me identifying the key issues, weighing up the evidence, deciding what was fair and reasonable given all the circumstances and, when appropriate, deciding on appropriate and proportionate orders and recommendations. I also ensure compliance by landlords with regards to any orders that I may have made as a result of my investigation.
I have worked at the Housing Ombudsman Service for over three years now. I initially joined as a Dispute Resolution Advisor before moving to a team developing our Triage and Mediation service and then to be a full time Adjudicator about 18 months ago.
The most satisfying aspect of my job is when residents thank me for the work I have done and tell me about the difference it has made to them. This is not only when I have determined that there were failures by the landlord but also where I had determined that there was no failure. On those occasions the residents have thanked me as they were able to find closure having had someone listen to them, take their concerns seriously and explain why the actions of the landlord were in fact reasonable.
I would most definitely recommend other people to join the Service. Not only because the work we do makes a real difference to people’s lives but also to have the opportunity to work with colleagues, and an organisation, that really values you, not only for the work that you do but also the person you are.
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