Resolving formal complaints through mediation
Clause 35 of the Code of Practice sets out the procedure operators must follow for resolving formal complaints since 1 April 2017. The new approach follows a progressive step-by-step process.
Following receipt of a formal complaint the parties may try to resolve the complaint between themselves.
If the complaint is not resolved within 20 working days the operator may refer the complaint to the village’s statutory supervisor who may recommend a way forward.
If the complaint remains unresolved after a further 20 working days or if referral to the statutory supervisor is not possible then the operator must provide the option of mediation.
If the dispute remains unresolved following mediation the resident may issue a dispute notice and proceed to a dispute panel administered by the Retirement Commissioner. The resident retains the right to issue a dispute notice at any stage of the process after 20 working days and within six months of filing a formal complaint.
A mediator can help the parties discuss the problem, identify the issues and come up with a workable solution. Each party will be responsible for their own costs of preparing for the mediation. If a formal complaint between an operator and resident is mediated, the operator meets the cost of mediation. If a formal complaint between residents is mediated, then the residents involved and the operator share the cost of mediation equally.
Mediators are specialists in helping people resolve disputes. They are not necessarily lawyers, judges or counsellors. They are independent and unbiased. Mediators don’t decide anything, so it’s different from adjudication.