Safeguarding

Safeguarding

Safeguarding Adults and Children Policy and Procedure Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd
 

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Square Roots operates a zero tolerance of all forms of abuse and acknowledges that it is has a legal and moral responsibility to protect children and adults from abuse, neglect, and harm. We actively work to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults from harm by working with statutory agencies to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its customers within the locality.

1.2 Safeguarding means protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. The Care Act 2014 and The Children Act 2004 makes it clear that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and that all professionals must work in partnership.

1.3 Square Roots does not provide specialist accommodation, such as sheltered accommodation, but Square Roots staff are likely to encounter vulnerable adults and/or children as part of their normal duties.

1.4 A vulnerable adult and child at risk may become at risk of abuse because of their
needs for care and support and is experiencing, or at risk of abuse and neglect. As a
result of those needs, they are unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or
the experience of, abuse and neglect.

1.5 This policy draws on the relevant legislation and guidance on safeguarding and sets
out Square Roots’ aims, role and responsibilities for ensuring effective safeguarding in
partnership with other agencies. It includes:

  • Definitions of safeguarding and those who may be at risk
  • Types of abuse, who and where
  • Our aims, responsibilities, and prevention of abuse
  • Responsibilities of others
  • How Square Roots will respond, record, and report instances of abuse and
    neglect
  • How we will share information and work with others.

2 AIMS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

2.1 The aims of this policy and procedure are:

  • To specify the steps Square Roots will take to protect its customers from all
    forms of abuse
  • To ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of the actions they should take
    if they have concerns about the possible abuse of a vulnerable customer
  • To outline how Square Roots will respond, record, report instances of abuse and share information with others

2.2 We will work within the framework of the six pillars that underpin safeguarding.

  • Empowerment: People being supported and encouraged to make their own
    decisions and informed consent
  • Prevention: it is better to take action before harm occurs
  • Proportionality: The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
  • Protection: support and representation for those in greatest need
  • Partnership: Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse
  • Accountability: accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding

2.4 All staff have the responsibility to:

  • Provide all customers with high quality of service. This includes following agreed ways of working, such as policies and procedures, code of conduct and risk assessments
  • Stop any abusive or harmful actions, provided it is safe to do so.
  • Communicate sensitively with a child or vulnerable adult who discloses abuse to you
  • Never agree to keep abuse secret
  • Report any concerns about abuse, or possible abuse, even if you are not sure whether abuse has taken place
  • Co-operate in any investigation into alleged abuse
  • Participate in relevant training.

2.5 Square Roots supports open culture in which concerns can be raised and explored. Staff will be supported if they raise concerns in good faith, even if an investigation concludes that abuse has not taken place.

2.7 Where abuse is suspected, and the safety or wellbeing of the child, unborn baby or vulnerable adult is at risk. Square Roots will not tolerate:

  • Vexatious allegations: this is where someone makes an allegation, they know to
    be false
  • A failure to report possible abuse, for instance through misplaced loyalty to
    colleagues

Either of these may lead to disciplinary action and/or legal action such as criminal proceeding.

2.8 The Designated Safeguarding Lead is the Head of Compliance and Customer Services, who is responsible for ensuring that this policy, associated guidance and procedures are implemented and embedded across Square Roots and those providing services to our customers.

2.9 Square Roots recognise that safeguarding is achieved through good joint working with other agencies, organisations, and local authorities. As a provider of social housing and support services we will build and maintain partnerships and effective referral procedures.

3 RESPONSIBILITIES OF OTHERS

3.1 Managing agencies providing support services will be expected to have their own equivalent safeguarding policies in place. Their responsibilities in this regard will be managed through the contractual relationship with Square Roots. Agencies are required to report concerns to the local authority.

3.2 Contractors working on behalf of Square Roots may encounter evidence of abuse and neglect within the property. A vulnerable customer may also choose to disclose incidents, so awareness in sensitively preserving or taking evidence and handling reports will be necessary. Contractor organisations will be expected to comply with their own or Square Roots’ Safeguarding policy.

3.3 Contracts must ensure that staff receive suitable training on how to deal with customers, including how to report any concerns.

3.4 Square Roots will monitor the performance of contactors, compliance with safeguarding policy and safeguarding concerns via contract meetings.

4. SAFEGUARIDNG CHILDREN

4.1 A child is anyone who is under the age of 18. A young person or care leaver is anyone over the age of 18 but is still receiving support from children services.

4.2 In the government guidance ‘Working together to Safeguard Children’ (2018) safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health and development
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

4.3 Providing early intervention is crucial in safeguarding children and requires all staff to understand their role in identifying emerging problems and sharing information with other professionals.

4.4 All employees must ensure they are particularly vigilant to the potential need for early
intervention for a child who:

  • Is disabled and has specific additional needs
  • Has special educational needs
  • Is a young carer
  • Is showing signs of engaging in anti-social or criminal behaviour.
  • Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as substance abuse, mental health, or domestic violence.

5. SAFEGUARDING ADULTS

5.1 The Care Act 2014 defines safeguarding adults as protecting their right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect and promoting wellbeing. It is aimed at people with care and support needs who may be in vulnerable circumstances and at risk of harm, abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

5.2 The Care Act 2014 states that organisations should not limit their view of what constitutes abuse or neglect, as they can take many forms and the circumstances of the individual case should also be considered.

5.3 Safeguarding duties apply to an adult who:

  • Has needs for care and support
  • Is experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect
  • As a result of these care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk or of the experience of abuse/neglect

5.4 All staff must ensure they are particularly vigilant to adults who maybe more at risk of
abuse because they are:

  • Elderly or frail
  • Have a physical disability, sensory impairment, or a long-term support need

6. TYPES OR ABUSE

6.1 Abuse is something that is done to another person that harms them in some way.
Incidents of abuse may be one-off or multiple acts over time.

6.2 Repeated incidents of poor care may be an indication of a more serious problem.
Professionals and others should look beyond single incidents to identify patterns of harm. To see these patterns, it is important that information is recorded and appropriately shared.

6.3 Abuse can take several forms and may include one or more of the following:
 

Types of abuse Examples Indicators
Physical abuse Includes assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication or restraint Injuries that are not explained satisfactorily Unexplained bruising Unexplained burns Fractures at different stages of healing Cuts or scratches Unattended medical problems Female genital mutilation
Sexual abuse Includes rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, subjection to pornography, sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented. The person discloses fully or party that sexual abuse is occurring or has occurred. Frequent urinary tract infections Sexually transmitted diseases Unusually subdued or withdrawn Significant change of behaviour or outlook Reluctance to be alone with someone known to them Fear of personal care
Psychological abuse Includes emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, or cyber bullying Ambivalence, deference, passivity, resignation Anxious or withdrawn in the presence of the alleged perpetrator Untypical changes in behaviour
Financial abuse Includes theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions or the misuse of property, possessions or benefits Change in living conditions Lack of heating, clothing or food Inability to pay bills/unexplained shortage of money Unexplained withdrawals from account Unexplained loss/misplacement of financial documents Sudden or unexpected changes in a will or other financial documents
Modern slavery Includes slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude Unexplained presence of new person who is rarely seen outside the home Subdued unwilling to communicate. May be disclosed by individual
Discriminatory abuse Includes forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, or religion Lack of respect Repeated exclusion from rights offered to others Tendency to be withdrawn and isolated Expressions of anger, frustration, or fear
Organisational abuse Includes neglect and poor care practice within an institution such as a care home or hospital. It can be a result of structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation. Poor care standards Inadequate staffing Rigid routines Not respecting choice and the right to take risks
Neglect and acts of omission Includes ignoring medical, emotional, or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating Persistent hunger Poor hygiene Malnourishment or dehydration Cannot access appropriate medication or health care Denial or religious or cultural needs
Self-neglect This covers a wide range of behaviour such as neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding. Unkempt appearance Refusal to accept medication or medical help Hoarding

6.4 In addition, the following forms of abuse can apply for children:

  • On-line abuse: Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social networks, playing online games of mobile phones.
  • Child exploitation: Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM): This is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. The Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK or to take girls who are British nationals or permanent customers of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in another country.
  • Bullying or cyberbullying: Bullying can happen anywhere – at school, home or online causing physical and emotional harm.
  • Child trafficking: A type of abuse where children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold.
  • Grooming: Children and young people can be groomed online or in the real world, by a stranger or by someone they know, for example a family member, friend or professional.

The examples given above are not exclusive or exhaustive.

6.5 Who abuses children and adults

Anyone can abuse a child or adult at risk. This includes:

  • Partners
  • Relatives
  • Friends and neighbours
  • Other users of a service
  • Someone in a position of trust e.g., teacher, health or social care service
  • Volunteers
  • Strangers

Mostly abusers are people already known to the child or adult, but some people will deliberately exploit or harm individuals who they see as easy targets.

6.6 Where can the abuse take place

Abuse can take place anywhere. This includes:

  • A person’s own home
  • A friend’s or relative’s home
  • A hospital
  • A care home
  • day service
  • An educational establishment
  • A public place.

6.7 Patterns of abuse vary and include:

Serial abusing – in which the perpetrator seeks out and ‘grooms’ individuals. Sexual abuse sometimes falls into this category as do some forms of financial abuse.

Long term abuse – usually in the context of an on-going family relationship such as domestic abuse or persistent psychological abuse.

Opportunistic abuse – such as theft occurring because money or jewellery has been left lying around.

7 HOW SQUARE ROOTS MAY BE INVOLVED IN THE PREVENTION OF ABUSE

7.1 Where Square Roots staff identify concern the member of staff will discuss their concern with the person reporting, if safe to do so (see Appendix 1 for guidance). If they are unsure how to proceed, they can also discuss with their line manager or the Safeguarding lead. If there is an immediate risk, they will report this straightaway by calling 999. Otherwise, they will use the local authorities reporting procedures. They will also record the information on OmniLedger.

7.2 Safeguarding issues may be brought to the attention of staff directly by customers, neighbours, contractors, or other agencies in contact with customers or their families. In addition, staff working with customers or entering customers’ homes to carry out visits,
repairs, inspection, or interviews may encounter situations causing concerns for someone’s welfare. For Example:

  • Children and adults at risk whose care needs appear to be neglected or appear
    to be subjected to deliberate mistreatment.
  • Adults as risk of financial abuse which may be indicated by a lack of heating, clothing or food, inability to pay bills / unexplained shortage of money, unexplained withdrawals from an account, unexplained loss/misplacement of financial documents, the recent addition of authorized account
    holders/signatories or unexplained changes in a will or other financial documents.
  • Signs of self-neglect such as hoarding, unsanitary conditions or alcohol or substance misuse
  • Repeated instances of poor health or neglectful care by health and social professionals or workers
  • Neglect of a person’s needs because those around them are unable to be responsible for their care, for example signs a carer may have difficulties caused by poor health, debt, alcohol, or mental health problems.
  • Difficulties in maintaining tenancy such as arrears or neighbour problems or harassment which may be linked to a learning difficulty or mental health problems and giving rise to exploitation, financial abuse or harassment.
  • Where there is known or suspected domestic abuse
  • Children or adults who say they are being abused.

7.3 Square Roots will ensure that staff are trained to identify the wide range of circumstances in which potential victims of neglect or abuse may present and will provide guidance and appropriate safeguarding procedures for all staff to ensure the appropriate reporting, management, and referral are undertaken when there are concerns or suspicions of abuse and neglect.

7.4 Square Roots will highlight the roles of local agencies who are committed to the prevention of abuse and encourage members of the community to report suspected abuse to either Square Roots or relevant agencies.

7.5 During our procurement process Square Roots will ensure that contractors are asked for their safeguarding policy and procedures or agreed to follow this procedure to ensure that we are satisfied that arrangements are in place for their staff who may visit our properties / customers.

8. PROCEDURE FOR RAISING A SAFEGUARDING ALERT

8.1 Any member of staff who witnesses a situation in which a customer is being abused or is in imminent danger, must act to stop what is happening, providing it is safe to do so.

8.2 If there is immediate risk to life, emergency services must be called on 999.

8.3 Staff have a responsibility to report the incident, guidance on how to deal with an incident is set out in Appendix 1, and guidance on how to deal with disclosure is in Appendix 2.

8.4 When managing any safeguarding alert, it is essential that information is recorded accurately and in a timely manner. Staff should be mindful of sensitivity around safeguarding matters when recording cases and be aware that language must be factual and not include personal judgment, assessments, or allegations.

8.5 Staff will be responsible, along with their manager, for reporting safeguarding alerts to the local authority safeguarding team and/or police.

8.6 Each local authority has their own referral and reporting form. The form can normally be found on the local authority website with details of submission for both adults and children. It is essential to follow the correct reporting method for the local authority.

8.7 Once a referral has been submitted, the alert must be recorded on Square Roots’ safeguarding tracker for internal auditing and monitoring purposes, which is stored in OmniLedger.

8.8 Notes should be added to OmnilLedger for all cases, detailing the date of the report, what agencies have been informed, and on what date. This provides internal and external assurance, and acts as a record of actions taken, and the date completed.

8.8 Staff will be responsible, along with their manager, for monitoring the progress of the safeguarding referral and updating Square Roots’ safeguarding tracker every 30 days until the case has been resolved.

8.9 If concerns do not appear to be addressed staff, in conjunction with their line manager, should review the outcome. If necessary, they should contact other organisation/s who may be able to help and continue reporting concerns to statutory authorities. An individual who you feel is at risk should not be left in a situation which may result in harm to themselves or others.

9 CONFIDENTIALITY AND INFORMATION SHARING

9.1 Square Roots will always respect confidentiality and will not share any information given in confidence unless justified by the assessed risk to the adult or child at risk or required by law.

9.2 Square Roots will discuss our approach to confidentiality with our vulnerable customers where there are safeguarding concerns. We will be honest and explain that information might need to be shared with other organisations for them to respond or resolve a safeguarding issue.

9.3 Decisions about what information is shared and with whom will be taken on a case-bycase basis. Whether information is shared with or without the adult consent, the information should be:

  • Necessary for the purpose it is being charged
  • Shared only with those who have a need for it
  • Accurate and up to date
  • Share accurately
  • Shared securely

9.4 Square Roots recognise that safeguarding is achieved through good joint working and understand the importance of cooperating with the police and/or local authorities to help them protect, investigate, and deter abuse. We are committed to work in partnership to achieve our aims and legal requirements.

10. KEY LEGISLATION GUIDANCE AND POLICY

10.1 This policy considers the following legislation and should be referred to for further
guidance:

  • Care Act 2014
  • Children Act 1989 and 2004
  • Children and Young Persons Act 2008
  • Equality Act 2010
  • General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR)
  • Mental Capacity Act (2005)
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Sex Offenders Act 2003

10.2 This policy should be read in conjunction with

  • Staff Code of Conduct
  • Complaints and Compliments Policy
  • Whistleblowing policy
  • Data Protection Policy

11. MONITOR AND REVIEW

The success of this policy will be monitored in the following ways:

  • Monthly operational review of live cases
  • Reporting to the Audit and Risk Committee
  • Annual reporting to Board
  • The policy will be reviewed every three years unless there is a significant incident, or important change in legislation which would warrant an earlier review.

Adopted: 13th July 2023
Next Review: July 2026

Appendix 1

Safeguarding: Incident Alert Process Guidance – All Services

Scope of the document
This document covers all services across Square Roots. The guidance applies to any colleague
within Square Roots who identifies a safeguarding concern.

Summary
All colleagues should receive safeguarding alert training. Following this training, colleagues should use the safeguarding incident alert process to correctly report any concerns that they may have or incidents that occur.

What should I do if a safeguarding incident or concern is brought to my attention?
If the incident is an emergency such as a crime or someone requiring emergency medical treatment you should immediately call the police/ambulance. Then follow this process. To alert the necessary people/authorities of your concerns you must complete the internal safeguarding alert on SharePoint. The purpose of the alert is to record and store all relevant information and evidence regarding a safeguarding incident in an appropriate place so that the
process can be monitored, and outcomes recorded.

Remember that any record of an incident, event or conversation must be factual and nonjudgemental.
Records of events should include any action taken to ensure the customer is
protected from any further potential harm.

Reporting
Allegations, concerns and suspicions all need to be reported. Use the following procedure:

  • If you suspect or witness a safeguarding incident, complete the safeguarding alert for
    the local authority, and update OmniLedger
  • Report it to your Local Authority Safeguarding Team.
  • If the incident is a crime, then report it to the Police.
  • Should the incident involve your line manager, contact their line manager, another
    senior manager, or the Square Roots safeguarding lead to report the incident.

Safeguarding thresholds
How a safeguarding incident is responded to, will usually depend on the threshold or tier into which it falls. All must be reported to the Local Authority in the first instance. The 5 tiers are outlined below:
 

Tiers Risk How it will usually be addressed
1 Concern/allegation that harm has occurred Report to Local Authority and may be addressed in-house by means other than a Safeguarding referral
2 Complaints/Reviews Report to Local Authority. May be dealt with in-house with the outcome reported to the Local Authority
3 Low to Medium risk of significant harm Report to Local Authority who will usually take the lead in making enquiries and chairing any strategy meetings
4 Medium to High risk of significant harm Usually involve complex situations or serious incidents and the Local Authority will lead. Consideration will be given regarding the need for a serious case review.
5 When a very serious incident of abuse has occurred including the death of an adult at risk. The Safeguarding Adults Board has the lead responsibility for conducting a serious case review


Further actions
The Local Authority will be the lead agency carrying out the enquiry, however, this may be allocated to the Police if the allegation involves a crime. In some cases, a manager from Square Roots will be asked to conduct a provider led enquiry (S42). You must not commence any enquiry until advised to do so by the Local Authority or the Police.

Update the alert as any changes occur and with any further details provided by the Local Authority/Police. Remember to complete the learning outcome tab on the alert when the case has been closed by the Local Authority or the Police.

Contact
If you have any questions about this guidance, please speak to your manager or the
designated safeguarding lead.

Appendix 2

Safeguarding: Responding to a Disclosure of Abuse Guidance – All Services

Scope of the document

This document covers all services across Square Roots. The guidance outlines the key points to remember when dealing with a disclosure or allegation of abuse.

Guidance

It may be difficult for someone to open up and tell you about an abusive situation. In responding to the person there are some key things to remember:

Do:

  • Stay calm and be empathetic
  • Listen carefully to what they say
  • Tell the person that they were right to tell you and that you are going to speak to your  manager about it and that we will do what we can to protect and support them.
  • Record in full what was said using their words and include only facts not your own views regarding the disclosure

Don’t:

There are some key things that you must not do, these include:

  • Ask leading questions about the abuse
  • Be judgemental about what you have been told
  • Show too much emotion such as shock or anger
  • Promise to keep it confidential – it is not possible to keep this sort of information to
    yourself
  • Make promises you cannot keep, for example, promising it will never happen again
  • Talk to the alleged abuser about the abuse
  • Interfere or disturb anything which may be used as forensic evidence if you suspect a
    crime has been committed
  • Put yourself at risk

Sharing forms and information:
The information you are recording is likely to be of a highly sensitive nature. There may be a requirement to share this information with people outside of Square Roots. This may include the local authority’s safeguarding team or the police. This is an important part of the safeguarding process, and it is vital that information is shared securely. If you are asked to supply any of the information on an email, please follow data protection guidance. If you are
asked to share the information by telephone, make sure you are confident the person you are speaking to has the relevant safeguarding authority.

Contact:
If you have any questions about this guidance, please speak to your manager or the
designated safeguarding lead.

Complaints & Compliments Policy

Complaints & Compliments Policy

Complaints & Compliments Policy Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd
 

1 Statement of Intent

1.1 The purpose of this policy is to set out how we (Square Roots) will respond to and manage complaints in a fair and consistent way.

1.2 Our aim will always be to resolve complaints as quickly as possible by taking an open, accountable and outcome focused approach.

1.3 We recognise that complaints represent an opportunity to rebuild trust with our customers as well as providing us with opportunities to learn and make service improvements. The Executive Team reviews complaints and their responses to ensure they meet the requirements of the policy.

1.4 We also like to know when we have done something well and exceeded your expectations. Therefore, we also monitor and respond to compliments that come into the organisation.

2 Outline of Policy

Definition of a complaint

2.1 We adopt the Housing Ombudsman’s definition of a complaint as follows:

An Expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions, or lack of action by the organisation, its own staff, or those acting on its behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents.

Exclusions

2.2 The following matters are not classed as complaints under this policy:

• Reports of anti-social behavior or harassment, which are covered by separate policies.
• A first-time request for service e.g., a repair request.
• Survey feedback e.g., from information you provide from our nominated feedback provider.
• Complaints about services not authorised by Square Roots.
• Where legal proceedings (by or against Square Roots), including personal injury accident claims have been initiated the case will be dealt with separately under a separate policy.

• Complaints about any policy, process or rule of law will likely be excluded however Square Roots will review the application of these in relation to each complaint and then decide whether it is excluded or not.

2.3 We will only investigate complaints relating to our services that have been provided within the previous six months. However, we will review historical concerns if there is evidence of a recurring problem and will also take into consideration any circumstances that may have prevented a complaint from being raised earlier.

Scope of Policy

2.4 This policy extends to all our customers including individuals (or their advocates), groups of people or organisations who pay for, receive services from or hold reasonable expectations of the organisation as a service provider.

2.5 Members of the public may also complain if they are directly affected by something that the organisation has done or is planning to do. Members of the public who do not meet the definition in 2.1 do not have an automatic right to access the Housing Ombudsman with their complaint. We will address and resolve their complaint to the best of our ability as outlined in the policy.

2.6 Former tenants who contact us within six months of their tenancy ending will also be able to raise complaints in line with this policy.

2.7 Complaints received via MPs or local Councillors will be assessed in line with our definition of a complaint and dealt with accordingly. Whilst respecting the role played by MPs and local Councillors, this will not lead to a complaint being “fast-tracked”.

Complaint Process

2.8 We will deal with each complaint case on its merits and where necessary manage the complaint under a different but relevant policy or procedure. We will make this clear to you following our initial assessments of the complaint.

2.9 Complaints and compliments can be made in different ways:

• By emailing: [email protected]
• By calling: 0333 666 0102

• In writing, addressed to Customer Services Manager at:
Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd
1 York Road
Uxbridge
UX8 1RN

2.10 All complaints however made will be processed in line with this policy and the time frames set out in 2.13 below. All complaints will be acknowledged and logged within 5 days.

2.11 We will always aim to resolve any issues without needing to raise a formal complaint. However, you will always have the right to enter your concerns into our formal process if that is your preferred option.

2.12 We set out clear timeframes for responding to complaints and how a complaint can be escalated.

2.13 We have a three-stage complaint process:

Officer Managing Complaint Timeline Next steps for complainant

 

 

Officer Managing Complaint

Timeline

Next steps for complainant

Stage 1

 

Customer Services Manager. Decision – 10 working days from recipient of complaint

Satisfied with outcome or request to escalate to 

Director for relevant service area. 

Stage 2

 

Independent Review of Appeal: 

Director/Head of Service

Decision – 20 working days from request to escalate

Satisfied with outcome or 

Request to escalate to the Board. 

 

Stage 3

 

Board Panel review of complaintDecision – 20 working days from request to escalate

Satisfied with outcome or request escalate to 

Housing Ombudsman

Stages 1 & 2 can be extended by a further 10 working days if warranted – customers will be kept fully appraised of any extensions of time required.


3 Compliments

3.1 We accept the Cambridge Dictionary definition of a compliment: “a remark that expresses approval, admiration or respect.”

Compliment Process

3.2 You can send us compliments via the following channels:

• By emailing: [email protected]
• Phone, by calling 0333 666 0102
• In Writing addressed to Customer Services Manager at
Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd
1 York Road
Uxbridge
UX8 1RN

3.3 When we receive a compliment, we acknowledge the same and inform the individual or team to whom it relates.

3.4 We monitor the volume of compliments received and report on it quarterly alongside our complaint reporting.

4 Diversity and Inclusion

4.1 In line with our Diversity and Inclusion commitments all complainants will be treated fairly, equally and with respect regardless of their gender, race, age, disability, faith, marital status, sexual orientation, or other distinction.

4.2 Reasonable adjustments in line with the Equalities Act such as accessibility to discuss complaints of information in a different format e.g., large print, audio tape, an alternative language, with staff and or where the provision services of a translator are required can be provided upon request.

5 Unreasonable or Persistent Complainants

5.1 Should the behaviour of a complainant adversely affect our ability to adequately support other complaint investigations, then such behaviour may be deemed as” unreasonable or persistent”. Whilst always a last resort, in a small number of such cases we may decide to restrict the complainant’s contact with the organisation.

5.2 Such restrictions will require the approval of a Head of Service, Assistant Director or Executive Director and may include limiting contact to a specific member of staff and/or agreeing that communication is restricted to only one type such as phone, email, or letter. (We aim to agree an appropriate method with the complainant and confirm this formally in writing). Any decisions will be demonstrating regard for the Equalities Act.

5.3 We will aim to resolve the complaint in line with our timeframe in section 2.13 above.

6 Housing Ombudsman Service

6.1 If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your Complaint you have the right to either refer your complaint to a ‘Designated Person’ to help solve the complaint immediately or wait 8 weeks and then contact the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS).

6.2 A ‘Designated Person’ can be an individual such as an MP or local councilor in England or a group such as a Tenant Panel that is recognised by the organisation.

6.3 Should the ‘Designated Person’ be unable to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of you they may arrange for it to be forwarded to the HOS for its consideration.

6.4 As a member of the HOS (as required by the Housing Act 1996 (amended by the Housing Regeneration Act 2008)) we will cooperate fully with the Ombudsman making all files and records available on request. Actions required because of any determinations will be overseen by either the Managing Director or the relevant Director supported by organisations staff as required. We will ensure full compliance of the Ombudsman’s “Final Destination” barring any exceptional circumstances.

7 Value for Money

7.1 All complaint responses will be subject to review by the Customer Services Team, who will ensure that potential opportunities for improvement are identified. Service Managers are responsible for developing and implementing improvement work discovered during a complaint investigation. We will publish learnings outcomes from complaints as part of our annual value for money resident report, on our website

7.2 In certain cases, there may be times when residents or customers may suffer some disadvantage or loss because of actions, errors or mistakes made by the organisation. In these instances, compensation may be considered.

7.3 We will regularly review the cost and quality of the complaints handling service and seek efficiencies. To assist with this process, we will obtain relevant benchmarking information provided by other housing providers.

8 Consultation

8.1 The executive team will review this policy to the dates outlined below and consider any feedback from resident’s reviews and surveys.

9 How will the policy be implemented?

9.1 All staff across the organisation are responsible for the implementation of this policy.

9.2 We will engage with our customers, the Housing Ombudsman and maintain relevant compliance under the current legislation (see Section 12).

10 Monitoring

10.1 This policy will be reviewed in line with any changes in legislation, regulation, residents’ feedback, and sector best practice.

10.2 Performance measures and targets have been developed to help determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation’s complaint service. Internal and external feedback will be used to obtain complaints performance information and identify progress and service improvements.

These will be reported to senior management within the organisation and

its Board. The Board will receive 6 monthly reports detailing the volume of complaints received, at which stage they were resolved, and any trends or themes within the complaints.

11 Review

This policy will be formally reviewed every three years by the board subject to significant changes in legislation, regulation or governance arrangements that require an immediate update.

12 Legislation relevant to this policy and other documents

• The Housing Act 1996
• The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008
• The Localism Act 2011
• Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
• Equality Act 2010
• Membership of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme is mandatory.

 

Adopted:   5th October 2021

Reviewed:   8th September 2022
Reviewed:   8th February 2023

Next Review:  8th September 2025
 

Damp, Mould & Condensation

Damp, Mould & Condensation

Damp, Mould and Condensation Policy and Procedure
Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd


1. Introduction

1.1 We have designed a Policy and Procedure to ensure Square Roots take a consistent and robust approach when managing reports of damp, mould, and condensation within our properties.

1.2 There are many root causes that lead to damp, mould, and condensations within our homes (please see Appendix 1 for further information). This has the potential to have an impact on our customers and their family’s physical and/or mental health and well-being. Both Square Roots staff and customers should work together to prevent or resolve damp, mould, and condensation issues (please see Section 4 and 5 for further guidance).

1.3 It is important that causes of damp and condensation are diagnosed and understood to effectively remediate, this includes a proactive approach to addressing reports and providing relevant information and signposting to customers where appropriate.

1.4 In addition to providing a safe home environment to our customers, Square Roots are to comply with all relevant legislation not just restricted to such legislation identified herein this policy.

1.5 Repairs or remedial work carried out in response to cases of damp and mould complement our programmes of planned and cyclical maintenance. Our contractors are expected to maintain a good stock of anti-mould kits. This is to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers.

2. Aims and Objectives of this Policy

2.1 To clarify the approach to damp and condensation and the method of reviewing and monitoring damp and condensation reporting.

2.2 Undertake effective investigations and implement reasonable remedial repair solutions and improvements to manage damp, mould and condensation. Offer advice and assistance to customers living in our properties, including information on how to prevent damp, mould and condensation.

2.3 To establish a clear, accessible process to enable customers to report damp and condensation issues, and to tailor responses to ensure the individual needs of customers are taken into consideration.

2.4 Ensure staff and contractors are trained on how to recognise, manage, and identify solutions to damp, mould and condensation within a rented property.

2.5 To provide assurance to our customers that measures are in place to identify, manage and mitigate risks associated with damp and condensation, by utilising stock condition data and customer insight.

2.6 To ensure that the fabric of our property is protected from deterioration and damage resulting from damp and mould.

2.7 That customers who report damp and mould in their properties are treated with respect and empathy.

3. Causes of Damp Mould and Condensation

3.1 The causes of damp, mould and condensation contained in this section, are the most common.

3.2 It is important to be able to tell the difference between damp caused by condensation and damp caused by other factors, such as penetrating damp (caused by a leak) or rising damp.

3.3 The main types of damp are:

  • Penetrating Dampness- Rain can get in through leaking roofs, blocked or damaged guttering, leaky walls and poorly fitting doors and windows. Penetrative damp can also be caused by leaks from plumbing faults, failed appliances and poorly sealed baths and showers.
  • Rising Dampness- caused by the breakdown, deterioration or bridging of the damp proof course of the building at ground floor level. Ground water can rise up through the walls and floor if the damp proof course isn’t working properly or is missing.
  • Bridging Damp- There are many cases of bridging damp from render systems going below the Damp Proof Course to ground level, concrete paving and ground levels being increased.
  • Condensation- The effects of damp and mould can be a challenge particularly during the winter months and in most cases is one that needs to be managed by the customer through the effective use of heating and ventilation. However, this can also be the result of ineffective mechanical or natural ventilation.

3.4 Mould is a natural organic compound that develops in damp conditions and will only grow on damp surfaces. It is often noticeable and present in situations where condensation damp is present.

3.5 Square Roots recognises this impact the impact of damp and the affect it has on our customers, and the need to act decisively.

4. Our Responsibilities

4.1 In October 2021 the Housing Ombudsman issued a report to social landlords, recommending that they adopt a zero-tolerance approach to damp and mould. The report recognised the challenges for landlords tacking these issues, and identified best practice and 26 items for landlords to implement including:

  • Greater use of intelligence and data to prevent issues.
  • Adopting a consolidated policy for actions it may be take based on diagnosis.
  • Reviewing communication with customers to improve tone.
  • Improve access to complaints to resolve issues, including alongside disrepair claims, and learn from them.

4.2 We will meet our landlord repairing responsibilities as detailed within our Tenant, Shared owner and Leasehold Agreements and in line with our Repairs & Maintenance Policy.

4.3 To maintain our homes so that they meet the Home Standard, under Consumer Regulation.

4.4 We shall investigate and diagnose the cause of damp or mould and deliver effective remedial solutions.

4.5 To remain in regular and effective communication with a customer, following a report of damp and mould being made, providing progress updates from beginning to end – especially on the occasion where an investigation into a case may be complex.

4.6 Provide our customers with comprehensive and focused advice and guidance on how to manage damp, mould or condensation.

4.7 To manage all reports of damp, mould and condensation using our Damp, Mould  and Condensation Procedure.

4.8 Where vulnerable or disabled customers have no one to help them and are unable to carry out mould washes themselves, we will consider how to support and assist them on a caseby- case basis.

4.9 In the situation of statutory overcrowding resulting in damp and mould, we will work with the customer and the Local Authority to review to explore the customer’s options. The Housing Act 1985 explains that all Living Rooms and Bedrooms are included in the calculation of statutory overcrowding.

4.10 In the situation of hoarding resulting in damp and mould, we will refer to our Hoarding Policy and Procedure for further guidance on how to best support the customer.

4.11 At the time of a void inspection, each room should be checked for damp, mould, and condensation. If identified, it will be managed and rectified as part of the void works.

4.12 As part of a Mutual Exchange, a property inspection is completed at which time, each room should be checked for damp, mould, and condensation. If identified, it will be managed and rectified before the Mutual Exchange completes.

4.13 As part of our Probationary Tenancy reviews, and other scheduled visits, a property inspection will be carried out as per 4.12.

5. Customer’s Responsibilities

5.1 Damp and mould can be caused by condensation and may adversely affect your health and your home. Customers are responsible for making sure that they take appropriate steps to prevent significant amounts of condensation that results in damp or mould growth.

5.2 The customer is responsible for ensuring no damage occurs to Square Roots assets in line with their responsibilities as detailed within their tenancy agreement. This includes, but is not limited to, reporting any leaks, or faulty heating, windows, or extractor fans.

5.3 Shared owners will be encouraged to manage and maintain their properties including damp and condensation in accordance with their lease agreement.

5.4 Customers will be provided with information and guidance on minimising condensation in their home.

5.5 The customer is responsible for arranging adequate household contents insurance, to protect their home from damage.

5.6 Where remedial works and mould wash treatments have been undertaken by us, the customer is responsible for redecoration. It is recommended that anti-fungal paint is used. For vulnerable or disabled customers, we will consider how to assist the redecoration process on a case-by-case basis.

6 Fuel Poverty

6.1 Fuel poverty is recognised as a causal factor in damp, mould, and condensation issues, i.e. customers may be. unable to afford to heat their homes effectively or evenly which then creates the conditions for moulds to thrive.

6.2 If a customer is suffering from Fuel Poverty, we will see what support or advice we can offer.
If we are unable to help the customer will be signposted to a specialist agency.

7 Training

7.1 We will ensure the provision of training for all front-line and Customer Care staff on the identification, treatment and the prevention of damp, mould and condensation.

The training will enable them to:

  • Become familiar with and understand the correct response needed when a damp or mould issue is identified by them or reported to them, including what advice to give and when to raise remedial works.
  • Identify the correct equipment required to assess damp in properties and find resolution to the problem, if it is our responsibility.
  • Develop their knowledge on our stock and the archetypes of properties that are likely to suffer from damp and mould.

8 Complaints

8.1 Any customer or other stakeholder who is dissatisfied with how we have managed their repair(s) is able to submit a complaint using our Complaints process. Once our Complaints process has been exhausted, and if they remain dissatisfied, then they can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service, who can consider if we have acted appropriately.

9 Performance Monitoring

9.1 Performance will be reported to Board to demonstrate compliance with the Homes Standard.

9.2 Key performance indicators on repairs will be published quarterly on our customer website.

10 Related Documents

Complaints and Compliments Policy
Succession Policy
Repairs and Maintenance Policy
Data Protection Policy
Damp, Mould and Condensation Leaflet (Appendix 1)
Housing Ombudsman Service Spotlight on: Damp and Mould

11 Equality and diversity

We will apply this policy consistently and fairly and will not discriminate against anyone
based on any protected characteristics, including those set out in the Equality Act 2010.

12 Review

All policies should be reviewed every 3 years as a minimum, or sooner if there is a
specific legislative, regulatory or service requirement or change in guidance, law or
practice.

Adopted: 13th July 2023
Next Review: July 2026

 

Appendix 1

Currently in circulation, awaiting design sign off

Repairs & Maintenance

Repairs & Maintenance

Repairs & Maintenance Policy  Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd

 

1. Purpose

1.1. This policy sets out our commitment to deliver an efficient and effective responsive repairs service that meets the needs of our customers and enables us to fulfil our statutory, regulatory and contractual obligations.

1.2. Carrying out repairs is one of the most important services we deliver to our customers.
We want Square Roots homes to be maintained in an affordable manner and ensure all our homes provide our customers with a safe, warm and dry home, where everything is in working order.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy covers repairs services to customers who rent their home under a tenancy agreement, and those who own them as a leaseholder (whether through shared ownership or outright).

2.2 Both our repairing obligations and those of our customers vary between those tenures, and this is reflected in the policy. The policy covers responsive repairs within customers’ homes (including their gardens and wider estate, subject to terms of the tenancy, license, or lease agreement), in communal areas, and to communal assets for example, shared gardens, shared spaces including lifts and corridors.

3. Aims

  • Ensure we meet our repair obligations so that Square Roots homes are maintained,
    throughout the duration of the tenancy, to the standard met when they were let.
  • Comply with all legislative, regulatory, and contractual (including lease and tenancy)
    obligations.
  • Deliver a cost-effective repairs service which responds to the needs of customers, and
    which has the objective of completing repairs at the first visit (first time fix).
  • Ensure our customers are aware of their repair responsibilities and our repair
    responsibilities, and where repair responsibilities are theirs, that these are met.
  • Communicate effectively to our customers at all times in relation to the delivery of our
    responsive repairs service and enable them to communicate effectively with us.
  • Offer our customers suitable and convenient choice in booking appointments for
    repairs.

4. Legislation and guidance

4.1 As a landlord we are required to meet certain obligations that are set out in law.
Additionally, our tenancy (or leasehold) agreements set out the things that Square Roots is responsible for and the things our customers are responsible for.

4.2 The key areas of legislation in this policy are:

  • Building Safety Act 2022
  • Defective premises Act 1972
  • Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
  • Housing Act 1996
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • Fire Safety Act 2021
  • Gas safety (installations and use) Regulations 1998
  • Health and Social Care Act 2008
  • Housing Act 2004
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015
  • Home Standard, Regulator of Social Housing, 2015
  • Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
  • Party Wall Act 2016

5. Definitions

5.1 ‘Customer’ – Any tenant or leaseholder of a property or commercial unit owned and/or managed by Square Roots.

5.2 ‘Repair’ – The process of rectifying a component or installation when it is faulty or in a state of disrepair; in a Square Roots owned and/or managed property.

6. Repair Responsibilities

6.1 Customers must report repairs that are the responsibility of Square Roots, as soon as reasonably possible, to ensure the property does not fall into disrepair.

6.2 What we and our customers are each responsible for is set out in our tenancy/leasehold agreements. In addition, we will maintain a list on our website
(Appendix 1 & 2). This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and customers should refer to the appropriate legal document.

7. Repair categories

7.1 Repairs will be classified and responded to within Square Roots’ repair categories and timescales. This will be communicated to the customer once the repair is logged and an appointment agreed.

7.2 The categories and timescales are set out below, as per our Service Level Agreement (“SLA”) (Appendix 3).
 

Repair Category Definition Timescale
Emergency Item(s) which, if not remedied, could be dangerous to the customer or which causes the customer or which causes the customer major inconvenience. E.g., the loss of power, water, or a water leak that cannot be retained. Attend within 4 hours and a repair within 12 hours
Urgent Item(s) which, may cause an inconvenience for the customer, whilst not repaired, the customer can continue their routine by making minor alternations. E.g., faulty locks to bathroom doors Attend within 48 hours and a repair within 1 week
Routine Item(s) that do not cause major inconvenience or discomfort for the customer, but will need to be remedied. E.g., adjusting doors or windows that do not pose a security risk. Attend within 1 week and a repair within 1 month


7.3 Emergency repairs will be responded to and made safe within 4 hours. Where possible a full repair will be carried out, if this is not possible, we will arrange a new appointment at a time convenient for the customer.

7.4 Emergency repairs are available out of hours (outside of our business operating hours) for repairs that pose an immediate risk to people and/or property.

8. Reporting repairs

8.1 Customers can report repairs in a variety of ways at a time and place that suits them:

  • appointment via customer portal
  • telephone
  • email
  • website
  • during your community meeting (non-urgent communal repairs)

8.2 Square Roots’ aim is to arrange a convenient appointment at first contact with the customer and complete the repair, where possible, within one visit.

8.3 Customers should use telephone as the preferred option to report any emergency repair/s.

9. Vulnerable Customers

9.1 Square Roots appreciate and embrace the diversity of our customers, and recognise that this may, on occasion, require a tailored service. At our discretion we may tailor the repairs service offer to these households when appropriate.

9.2 Every attempt will be made to identify any individual circumstances at first point of contact to ensure reasonable adjustments can be made.

10. Inspections

10.1 A pre-inspection maybe required before a repair appointment can be arranged. This will include circumstances where the scope of the repair is unknown. Following the inspection, the repair will be diagnosed and planned within the appropriate timescales.

10.2 To ensure Square Roots is delivering a high-quality repairs service and committed to added value, a sample of completed repairs will be inspected regularly.

10.3 These inspections will be a combination of desktop reviews and on-site inspections.

11. No Access

11.1 Our tenancy, license and leasehold agreements require customers to allow us (including appointed contractors) access to their home to carry out repairs at the agreed appointment time. If we are unable to gain access to carry out the repairs and the integrity of the property, its fabric and/or the safety of the customer or those in the vicinity of the property is compromised, we will take appropriate action to gain access to carry out the repair. This may include but is not limited to obtaining an injunction for access. If we are required to gain access this way, we will consider taking both immediate and retrospective action against the customer for the breach of their tenancy conditions. We may pass on to the customer the costs incurred by us taking
this action.

11.2 In the event that we are unable to gain access for a repair, that does not compromise the integrity of the property or the safety of other, due to the customer not being home or nota allowing access, the customer will be notified that the repair has been cancelled and to contact Square Roots to raise another appointment.

12. Major Repairs

12.1 Major Repairs are non-emergency routine repairs that cost over £1000 and will likely be deemed either extensive or improvement to the existing provision, they are not standard repairs.

12.2 Square Roots aims to complete all Major Repairs within 90 days, however in some instances works will form part of a larger programme or alternatively due to their nature will be undertaken within a shorter timeframe where delay would be detrimental to property or person, this will be determined by Square Roots.

12.3 Where we identify the need for a major repair, we will make sure the customer understands the reasons for this and the timeframes involved. We will also ensure good communication on the progress of these major repairs, where possible.

13. Recharge

13.1 Damage that has been caused by a customer, their family members or visitors to a property, will be rechargeable. A rechargeable repair is defined as, ‘repairs that are above and beyond normal wear and tear, and arise from abuse, accidental damage, neglect or deliberate and/or malicious damage’.

13.2 Rechargeable repairs are underpinned by the tenancy agreement, under section 13, ’Damage’, and explained in our Recharge Policy, which will enable Square Roots to recover the costs resulting from customers who fail to meet their obligations.

14. Alterations

14.1 Customers wishing to carry out any alterations or improvements to their home must apply in writing to Square Roots and receive our written permission prior to any works being undertaken.

14.2 Where customers have carried out alterations or improvements to a property and written permission has been provided, Square Roots will not be responsible for carrying out repairs.

14.3 Where customers have carried out alterations without consent from Square Roots, they may be asked to restore the property to its original state at their own cost.

15. Cyclical Maintenance

15.1 Square Roots have statutory obligations to carry out compliance related safety checks.

15.2 Cyclical maintenance is work required to be carried out on a regular basis to prevent the gradual deterioration of a property, its components and finishes and also to ensure that property standards are maintained, and that Square Roots contributes to the community.

15.3 Every five years Square Roots will undertake a full electrical safety test to all rented properties.

15.4 Square Roots will undertake PAT testing annually, for electrical appliances provided in rented properties.

16. Defects

16.1 Most works carried out as part of new build properties are covered by a defects liability period (DLP). This starts from the date of practical completion for the building or block (and not from the date of occupation of the property). The defects period is 24 months.

16.2 Shared ownership customers should report repairs for new or improved properties via the Customer Care telephone line on 0333 666 4949 or emailing [email protected].

17. Voids

17.1 We aim to let void properties as quickly as possible in order to minimise loss of income.

17.2 In order to achieve this, we will adopt a systematic approach to completing and monitoring any necessary repair work before the property is considered fit for let.

17.3 Voids will be classified as either minor or major voids, the category will be agreed
following inspection:

Minor voids - properties requiring a low value of works (under £x) to bring them up
to a lettable standard.

Major voids - properties requiring larger scale, higher value works, for example,
bathroom removal and installation, to bring them up to the lettable standard.

17.4 We will have a minimum lettable standard in place, and this will define the nature and
extent of repair work that will be carried out prior to a property being let.

17.5 It is our policy to instruct electrical safety checks as well as request an Energy Performance Certificate for each void property (if required) before the new tenant moves in.

18. Adaptations

18.1 Subject to the provision of local authority funding to cover all costs, we will support and assist the carrying out of works which will enable independent living and enhance the quality of life of tenants with particular mobility or other impairments.

18.2 We will only refuse to carry out adaptation work in exceptional circumstances. This will include when:

  • The adaptation is technically difficult to achieve without detriment to the property and other tenants.
  • Funding is not available.
  • The specific advice from relevant agencies is that the proposed adaptation would not be appropriate.

19. Performance, Monitoring and Review

19.1 Square Roots will collate and monitor performance information in relation to repairs strategic key performance indicators.

19.2 Customer satisfaction testing will be conducted regularly on a random selection of completed repairs. Feedback and analysis will be used to identify trends and to continuously improve service delivery.

19.3 Comprehensive records of all repairs and maintenance work will be held with a view to demonstrating transparency in the way work has been carried out and authorised.

19.4 This policy will be reviewed every three years unless there is a significant incident, important change in circumstances or legislation which would warrant a review being carried out at an earlier date.

Adopted: 13th July 2023
Next Review: July 2026

 

Appendix 1 - Rented Customer


As your landlord, we are responsible for repairs to:

We are responsible for maintaining and repairing the structure and exterior of the building;
and communal areas, including the following:

Inside the home

  • Maintain gas and electrical heating, and hot water systems
  • Offer alternative heating in cases of complete breakdown
  • Install and test hard-wired smoke detectors and sprinklers
  • Repair water and roof leaks
  • Manage pest control in communal areas and inside homes
  • Maintain electrical sockets, wiring and light fittings including sealed lighting (we do
    not replace bulbs)
  • Structural repairs to walls, floors, ceiling, stairs and bannisters

Outside the home

  • Maintain and clear gutters, drains and pipework to blocks
  • Maintain external doors, window frames and sills
  • Repair and maintain communal paving, pathways and outdoor steps leading to the
    main access point of the building
  • Install communal and boundary fencing to public or adjoining private land (not dividing
    fences between homes)
  • Remove dead, diseased or dangerous trees in communal back gardens and in street
    properties, after assessment

Customer responsibility:

Inside the home

  • Maintain and renew of internal decorations
  • Please let us know if there is a damp and mould issue in your home as soon as it
    happens by reporting a repair
  • Clear blockages in waste pipes and toilets, even if this is accidental. If the problem
    persists, contact us
  • Maintain any improvements made by you
  • Minor repairs to plaster, including filling minor holes and cracks
    Look after and replace sink plugs, tap washers, toilet seats and lids, shower hoses,
    shower heads
  • Replace light bulbs, starter motors for strip lights, fuses
  • Fit and maintain doorbells, letterboxes and handles (unless you live in a flat)
  • Mend broken glass to your own front doors and windows if you have caused the
    damage
  • Repair and maintain kitchen cupboard doors, drawers, cupboard catches and hinges
  • Repair or replace keys and locks because of any damage by you, your family or
    visitors. This also includes repairs or replacements because keys have been lost.
  • Bleed radiators
  • Repair and replace internal doors, door handles and latches, including adapting
    internal doors to fit carpets
  • Looking after and replacing floor coverings and carpets

Outside the home

  • Maintain dividing fences between you and your neighbour
  • Prune and maintain all shrubs, trees and grass within your private garden
  • Maintain any improvements made by yourself
  • Keep pathways clear of leaves and debris and undertake minor repairs

If any repairs are identified within your 2 year defect liability period, they should be
reported to Square Roots. Defect reporting is set out in your Home User Guide.

Your tenancy agreement gives more information about your rights and responsibilities
around repairs. If you are not sure who is responsible for a repair in your home, please contact
your Customer Services Manager.

 

Appendix 2 - Leaseholder/Shared Ownership Customer

As your landlord, we (or a managing agent) are responsible for repairs to:

  • Communal doors and entrances, halls, lifts and other communal areas
  • External repairs and painting of the exterior of the flat or apartment block and any
    communal areas on a set cycle
  • the cost for the works we or the managing agent will incur in maintaining these
    common parts will be recovered from leaseholder and shared owners through the
    service charge.

Customer responsibility:

Normally, leaseholders and shared owners are responsible for undertaking all internal repairs to their home at their own expense. This includes items such as the glass in the windows and the window handles and locks.

If you live in a leasehold flat or apartment, you’re responsible for all repairs to the inside of your

This includes repairs to:

  • Central heating, water heaters and fitted fires
  • Sockets switches and light fittings
  • Baths, sinks, toilets and cisterns
  • Drains and waste pipes

If any repairs are identified within your 2-year defect liability period, they should be reported to Square Roots. Defect reporting is set out in your Home User Guide.

Appendix 3

SLA currently in circulation, awaiting sign off

Unacceptable behaviour

Unacceptable behaviour

Unacceptable Behaviour Policy Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd

1. Introduction

1.1. This policy sets out Square Roots’ approach to unacceptable behaviour and is written with reference to the model policy and guidance from the Housing Ombudsman Managing unacceptable behaviour policy - Housing Ombudsman (housing-ombudsman.org.uk)

1.2 Square Roots is committed to developing a workplace culture in which there is zero tolerance of aggression or abuse directed against any of our staff or contractors. Similarly, racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic behaviour will not be tolerated. Square Roots are committed to dealing with this and other unreasonable behaviour and this policy sets out the approach taken to those very few customers whose action or behaviour is unacceptable.

1.3 The cornerstone of Square Roots Customer Charter is Respect and Empowerment. Square Roots wants to give confidence to staff to know that it
regards unacceptable behaviour against staff or customers as a serious matter and will take all reasonable steps to reduce risks to staff and others who may be affected.

1.4 Square Roots will provide appropriate support and help to staff, stakeholders and customers who are victims of unacceptable behaviour whilst representing or acting on behalf of Square Roots, even if outside of their contracted working hours.

2. Aims and scope of the policy

2.1 The aim of this policy is to set out how Square Roots will deal with unacceptable behaviour in a consistent, fair, and timely manner. This policy defines
unacceptable behaviour towards staff and contractors and the action that will be taken when confronted by such behaviour.

2.2 The policy applies to all Square Roots customers (including tenants, whether directly managed or not, leaseholders, shared owners, and former tenants), their friends, relatives, household members and visitors.

2.3 All staff have a role to play to act in accordance with this policy and by informing and/or supporting in the event of an incident.

3. Definitions

3.1 Unacceptable behaviour is defined as:

  • Aggression, abuse or violence including threats towards Square Roots staff or contractors.
  • Violence is not restricted to acts of aggression that may result in physical harm. It also includes behaviour and/or language (whether verbal or written) that may cause staff to feel offended, afraid, threatened or abused.
  • Prejudice and discriminatory behaviour. This includes racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic behaviour.
  • Unacceptable language, use of social media, verbal or written which is offensive, derogatory, inflammatory or patronising.
  • Repeatedly changing the substance of a complaint or raising unrelated concerns.
  • False and/or malicious allegations that individuals have committed criminal, corrupt or perverse conduct.
  • Actions that result in unacceptable or excessive demands on the service in that it prevents staff from carrying out their duties effectively.
  • These are examples given above and not designed to be an exclusive or exhaustive list.

4. Our Approach

4.1 Square Roots staff treat customers courteously and expect customers to do the same. Unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated, and Square Roots will manage it.

4.2 It is recognised that customers may, occasionally, become understandably irritated about issues such as service delivery failure, but when such behaviour becomes unacceptable as above, staff will always use appropriate interpersonal skills deployed to manage and defuse angry behaviour, as this can help to reduce incidents of anger escalating into aggressive or abusive behaviour.

4.3 Square Roots will manage unacceptable behaviour in the following ways whilst it occurs:

  • Minimising conflict by being calm, rational and empathetic
  • Challenging the behaviour calmly by explaining that it is unacceptable (if appropriate)
  • Asking customers to stop the behaviour
  • Pausing or bringing the conversation to an end if the behaviour continues
  • Reporting criminal behaviour to the police
  • Restricting service or taking enforcement action

4.4 In order to evaluate the appropriate level of response to an incident Square Roots will take into account the circumstances of the case and the seriousness of the incident. The response will range from terminating the conversation, issuing a warning letter, to implementing a sanction or restricting contact. This could also include formal legal enforcement, such as Notices, Injunctions or possession claims. This list is not designed to be exhaustive.

4.5 If the unacceptable behaviour continues or is serious staff/managers may take action to restrict the customer’s future contact with staff. This may result in a reduced level of service.

5. Relevant Square Roots Policies and Procedures

  • Health and Safety Policy (including Lone Working)
  • Community and Neighbourhood Nuisance Policy
  • Safeguarding Policy and Procedure

6. Relevant Legislation and guidance

7. Review

This policy will be reviewed every three years or earlier whenever there are changes to legislation, good practice or other learning.

Adopted: 13th July 2023
Next Review: July 2026

Recharge policy

Recharge policy

Recharge Policy Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd

1. Scope

1.1. This policy applies to all customers (tenants and shared ownership.) living in homes owned or managed by Square Roots. Where necessary, we would take legal action under the terms of the tenancy agreement, lease, licence and/or other relevant legislation available to us.

1.2. Rechargeable repairs are underpinned by the tenancy agreement, under section 13 ’Damage’, or in the lease agreement, and explained in our Recharge Policy, which will enable Square Roots to recover the costs resulting from customers who fail to meet their obligations.

2. Aims

This policy aims to:

  • Detail when we will recharge for repairs or housing management.
  • Explain how we will action and recover costs.
  • Explain what will happen if residents do not pay recharges.
  • Ensure that residents know what they can do if they are not happy with a recharge.

3. Definition

3.1. Damage that has been caused by a customer, their family members or visitors to a property, may be rechargeable. A rechargeable repair is defined as, ‘repairs that are above and beyond normal wear and tear, and arise from abuse, accidental damage, neglect or deliberate and/or malicious damage’.

4. Responsibilities

4.1. The tenancy agreement or lease define a customer’s responsibilities and the obligations of the landlord. These are also addressed in the Repairs and Maintenance Policy.

4.2. Where rechargeable situations are a result of criminal damage, we require a crime reference number. Square Roots will then carry out the required work without charging the resident or service user for these, subject to this being covered by buildings insurance. Customers are expected to protect items within contents insurance.

5. Rechargeable Cost

We will seek to recover costs form our customers in the following situations (this list is not exhaustive):

5.1. Unauthorised alterations where we are unable to grant retrospective consent, and the customer has failed to bring a property back up to an acceptable standard, for health and safety, as determined by Square Roots, within a reasonable requested timescale.

5.2. Where damage has occurred and where the individual has admitted the damage or responsibility has been established by a Court. The cost incurred to repair the damage will be recharged.

5.3. Replacement of lost or broken door entry keys. Customer will be encouraged to arrange this themselves in the first instance.

5.4. End of Tenancy

  • Costs associated with removal and storage of goods following the end of a tenancy and expiry of valid notice.
  • Any outstanding actions which the resident is responsible for and has not carried out before leaving the property, which incur a cost.
  • Any repairs that fall under tenant responsibility, which incur a cost.

5.5. Neighbourhood Management

  • Costs associated with clearance of large items or removal of other waste which has been dumped or fly tipped on our land or property.
  • Where a vehicle has been abandoned on land that we own, and a cost is incurred for identifying the owner, and removal.
  • Any costs associated with ASB where the perpetrator is proven.

5.6. Services for Shared Owners

  • Any major works undertaken at the shared owner's request will be agreed,
    estimated and recharged. The shared owner will be expected to pay the recharge
    in advance of any work being completed.
  • Repairs and cyclical maintenance works to shared ownership properties, where
    these services are offered and accepted by the shared owner.
  • In the above instances a consultation will take place, depending on the cost this
    may be under S.20 consultation (see Service Charge Policy).

5.7. Court Costs/Debt Recovery Fees

Where we incur costs when applying to the court or undertaking court proceedings, we will recharge the customer for these costs.

5.8. Permissions

Where a resident applies for permission from us to alter their property (structural change) and an inspection or inspections are required by one of our employees, each inspection will be charged at a flat rate of £75.

5.9. Missed Appointments

We will recharge residents if they fail to be present for any agreed and confirmed
appointments:

  • A standard charge of £35 will be made for each missed appointment (repair or housing management related) which was not cancelled 24 hours in advance.
  • This includes any repairs, which we have requested access for, to ensure your home meets the Consumer Standards.
  • The resident will also be charged for any materials that cannot be returned or reused because of a missed appointment.

6. Exemptions

Our approach to recharges is to recover costs wherever we are entitled to do so. We will however consider individual circumstances such as vulnerability before recovering costs. There is no exhaustive list and we will review this on a case-by-case basis.

7. Repairs

7.1. When a customer reports a repair, we will inform them who is responsible for that repair.

7.2. Where the work is not done or not completed to the agreed standard, we reserve the right to undertake the work and to charge the customer accordingly. If this happens the resident will be advised in advance of the cost, which will be based on an agreed schedule of rates (the final cost will include VAT and any admin costs).

7.3. Where damage is sustained in a communal area, we will carry out the remedial works and recharge the perpetrator, if known, for this.

7.4. We will only undertake repairs which are not our responsibility in a limited number of circumstances, which include:

  • emergency situations, health and safety is our prime concern; we will establish responsibility and arrange any appropriate recharges afterwards.
  • where the damage is posing a health and safety risk to residents or members of the public.
  • repairs which are the resident’s responsibility, when the resident has permanently left the property or has refused to do the work.
  • situations where the repair is necessary to avoid further damage to the property or any other properties.

7.5. There will be a minimum charge of £75 and customers will be expected to make payment to Square Roots in advance of the works proceeding.

8. Recharge Principles

8.1 Upfront payment, where possible, will be made to Square Roots using a credit/debit card. At no time will a cash payment be accepted for recharge works.

8.2 Court action may be pursued when charges remain outstanding. Any associated costs will be recovered from the customer.

9. Appeal Process

If a customer is unhappy with a recharge, which is not covered by this policy, you can  appeal the decision using the Complaints & Compliments Policy.

10. Relevant Policies

  • Repairs & Maintenance Policy
  • Rent Arrears Prevention & Recovery Policy
  • Community and Neighbourhood Nuisance Policy
  • Complaints & Compliments Policy

11. Monitor and Review

This policy will be reviewed every three years or earlier whenever there are changes to legislation, good practice or other learning.

 

Adopted: 13th July 2023
Next Review: July 2026

Community and Neighbourhood Nuisance Policy

Community and Neighbourhood Nuisance Policy

Community and Neighbourhood Nuisance Policy Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd

1. Policy Purpose

1.1. This policy covers nuisance behaviour, which is a general term used to describe day-to-day incidents of nuisance, annoyance and disorder that negatively affect people’s lives e.g. noise nuisance.

1.2. Nuisance behaviour is a common form of anti-social behaviour (ASB), most complaints about ASB relate to nuisance. This policy will set out the difference between nuisance behaviour and other more serious forms of anti-social behaviour, and our approach to dealing with this.

1.3. This policy determines Square Roots’ role in tackling nuisance behaviour. We recognise that incidents of nuisance can have a very negative effect on neighbourhoods and communities, and it does not just affect those who are directly involved in the situation. Therefore, we take
reports seriously and intend to strike the right balance between prevention, intervention, and enforcement actions.

2. Our Approach

2.1. We believe that the majority of ASB falls under nuisance behaviour, by using this term we hope to manage expectations for both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator. We considered other forms of ASB to be more serious and we have set out how this will be managed.

2.2. We will adopt a supportive approach when working with victims, witnesses, and alleged perpetrators. Flexibility will be key in our approach when dealing with incidents and working in partnership with external agencies and other departments, both internal and external. We also recognise that customers and other agencies share the responsibility for resolution, and it will not always be for Square Roots to lead an investigation or resolve.

2.3. We recognise the detrimental effect that nuisance behaviour can have on our customers, neighbourhoods, and communities. However, it is important that victims and other witnesses of nuisance behaviour are clearly informed of circumstances in which we can intervene, tools and powers that we can use and the range of sanctions available to us. We will not raise expectations that we can take action where we cannot do so, or where primary responsibility and powers lie elsewhere e.g. the police.

2.4. We believe that everyone has the right to their chosen lifestyle providing that this does not breach the terms and conditions of any tenancy agreement or lease and/or negatively affect other people’s quality of life. This necessitates a degree of tolerance and respect for the requirements and needs of other people, and we will always promote this to tenants and leaseholders when responding to their concerns.

2.5. This policy applies to all customers (tenants, licensees, leaseholders, shared ownership, etc.) living in homes owned or managed by Square Roots. Where necessary, we would take legal action under the terms of the tenancy agreement, lease, licence and other relevant legislation available to us.

2.6. Where third parties (managing agents) manage common parts we would expect them to take an active role in resolving nuisance. They should have their own policy, or they will be expected to meet the requirements of this policy.

2.7. We recognise that some forms of nuisance behaviour, such as noise can be an indicator of domestic abuse and we will be sensitive to it when reported to us and consider it in our investigations.

2.8. Sometimes we won’t take any action. For example:

  • The alleged perpetrator is not our customer or a visitor to our properties.
  • There isn’t enough evidence or support from victims and witnesses.
  • The alleged nuisance is caused by reasonable everyday behaviours, such as living noise.
  • We believe that the complaints are malicious.
  • As a landlord, it isn’t something we believe that we should be involved in.

This list is not exhaustive, and in these cases, we will offer advice and guidance to encourage customers to manage the situation themselves.

Policy Objectives

3.1. This policy aims to ensure that:

  • We support initiatives to prevent nuisance behaviour occurring- keeping the neighbourhood safe and internal areas secure.
  • Our customers know how to report nuisance behaviour and criminal activity, and they know what to expect from Square Roots.
  • All customers are treated in a fair, equitable and consistent manner, while we consider the needs and vulnerabilities of our customers when investigating or taking enforcement actions during the management of nuisance reports, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexuality, age, gender, or disability.
  • Staff at Square Roots and our customers are aware that we take nuisance behaviour and criminal activity seriously and are committed to tackle it.
  • Customers understand that neighbours can talk to each other and resolve disputes locally themselves.
  • We take positive action, working closely with partners (other agencies) to encourage them to take the lead in tackling crime on our estates and to ensure a collaborative approach is taken in tackling other nuisance behaviour.
  • We use evidence obtained from a range of sources, including statutory agencies to take enforcement action, where appropriate.
  • Victims and witnesses of a crimes or nuisance behaviour receive a tailored response and
    appropriate support and advice.

3.2. In order to achieve our objectives, we will work in partnership with local authorities, police, communities and voluntary groups with an interest in tackling crime and nuisance behaviour.

4. Definitions

4.1. Nuisance Behaviour

We define nuisance behaviour as when a person causes trouble, annoyance or suffering to a community or neighbourhood. Nuisance behaviour is a form of ASB, which is more common, but normally less severe than other forms of ASB. Square Roots will lead investigation on nuisance behaviour, where a Square Roots customer is the alleged perpetrator(s) but will work in partnership when the alleged perpetrator(s) is not a Square Roots customer. Examples of nuisance behaviour include the following:

  • Noise nuisance
  • Pets
  • Littering
  • Fly Tipping
  • Aggressive and/or abusive behaviour
  • Abandoned vehicles

This is not an exhaustive list, and we recognise that in cases, depending on the severity and frequency the police may decide to get involved. It is also important to acknowledge that nuisance behaviour can be subjective to the complainant.

Square Roots will work with partner agencies to investigate and mitigate persistent nuisance behaviour. In most cases we would expect to be able to resolve nuisance behaviour with minimal enforcement action.

4.2. Anti-social Behaviour (ASB)

The Government’s website (.gov.uk) describes ASB as a range of nuisance and criminal behaviours which are causing distress to others. Whether someone’s actions can be classed as ASB relies heavily on the impact it has on other people, this is normally determined by the frequency, type and intensity. For this reason, we have separated out nuisance behaviour. Examples of ASB include the following:

  • Theft
  • Hate Crime
  • Violence
  • Illegal drug use

Forms of ASB that are not considered nuisance behaviour, are likely to be more serious, and considered criminal. Square Roots recognises the impact of ASB on our community and neighbourhoods. We will work with partners to resolve, however, crime will be investigated and resolved through specialist intervention from the police or local authority. The role of Square Roots will be to share information, support our customers, this includes using
enforcement action alongside criminal charges, or a notice delivered by the local authority or the police. If proportionate and appropriate, this may include the use of the absolute grounds for possession along with the other actions and enforcement powers available to us, in partnership with other agencies, ensuring that we comply with the pre-action protocols for possession cases.

4.3. What is not considered as nuisance behaviour or ASB?

Reports around ball games, disputes over boundary issues, actions which amount to people being unpleasant (e.g. staring at or ignoring people), parking and other neighbourhood issues are not generally considered to be nuisance behaviour.

Reports due to different lifestyles or every-day living situations, which are not intended to cause annoyance are not generally considered nuisance behaviour or ASB. These include: children playing, babies crying, household noise due to every-day living (e.g. proportionate TV, music / radio noise, noise from electrical items such as washing machines or vacuum cleaners and DIY during reasonable hours as defined by local authorities), a one-off party,
BBQ and celebration, cooking odours and reasonable household smells, smoke, minor car maintenance and minor disputes between neighbours or personal differences. While these are examples of possible reports that are not nuisance behaviours, it is important to stress that the list is not exhaustive.

For low level reports of nuisance, if the behaviour is persistent, deliberate and is found to be having a harmful impact on a person or community, and individuals are at risk or potentially at risk of harm, then we will investigate the matter as nuisance in accordance with this policy.

5. Our Commitment

5.1. To effectively prevent and tackle nuisance behaviour and ASB, we will:

  • Demonstrate leadership, accountability, and commitment in working with partners to tackle nuisance behaviour, so that we all fulfil our respective responsibilities and give a clear message to everyone that we take nuisance behaviour seriously.
  • Ensure that staff are well-trained, have the knowledge and confidence to identify and investigate incidents/reports of nuisance behaviour and ASB and work collaboratively alongside appropriate agencies who are leading on such cases.
  • Clearly explain to all new customers, before handing over keys, and at new customer visits, the terms of their tenancy/lease that relate to ASB and causing nuisance, so that expectations and consequences are clear.
  • Explain to customers that it is their responsibility to try and resolve disagreements and neighbour disputes by talking to each other and reach a solution based upon mutual understanding.
  • Adopt a victim-centred approach in responding to reports of harassment and hate crime. Respond sensitively to the victim and adopt high standards of confidentiality when dealing with victims and witnesses.
  • Log all reports of nuisance behaviour and ASB and any referrals to statutory bodies and monitor the outcomes.
  • Encourage local customers and community groups to prevent and resolve ASB and other community tensions to promote inclusive and sustainable communities. We will work with those groups to help facilitate community initiatives that prevent nuisance behaviour, as well as diversionary activities to help prevent customers from becoming perpetrators.
  • Provide advice and support to customers and witnesses. As part of our investigation into tenancy or lease breaches, in appropriate cases, we will make referrals to Victim Support and other relevant support agencies.
  • Where it is necessary, appropriate, and proportionate, we will publicise the outcome of legal action to act as a deterrent, reassure communities and confirm our commitment to taking nuisance behaviour and ASB seriously.
  • Take action to evict a perpetrator where it is reasonable and proportionate to do so and the evidence is sufficient and robust enough for a successful possession action.

5.2. Partnership Working

We work in partnership with other agencies to tackle ASB. We’ll let customers know about other agencies who have powers to deal with the problem and how we will work with those agencies to help resolve the issue. If appropriate, we’ll support the agency with action they may take and build relationships with them so that they also support any action we make take.

We may share information with key agencies involved with community safety partnerships and statutory partner agencies. Personal data regarding individuals may be disclosed through formal information sharing protocols and partnership agreements that comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 to allow us to respond quickly to ASB.

6. Categories and Thresholds

6.1. Categories

We will categorise nuisance complaints in the following order:

6.1.1. Category A (ASB/criminal activity- hate crime, violence, drug dealing, etc.)

We expect our customers to report criminal activity to police in the first instance. We will make contact within 24 hours and work with the police on a collaborative basis to tackle criminal activity in our communities and neighbourhoods.

6.1.2. Category B (nuisance behaviour- noise, pets, etc.)

We will investigate Category B cases within 5 working days. We will initially encourage customers to try and resolve noise nuisance from neighbours between themselves and advise customers to report excessive noise to their local council’s environmental health team, as well as keep a record of incidents using diary logs. We will try to work with the local environmental health service that have statutory powers to tackle noise nuisance and serve abatement notices on those responsible for the noise.

6.2. Tools and enforcement powers available

We’ll assess each case and contact the people involved. We’ll often use early interventions such as warning letters, meetings, partnership visits, Acceptable Behaviour Agreements, Good Neighbour Agreements.

If appropriate, we may refer the case to the local authority’s mediation service. These services are provided by an independent company. A range of legal tools can be used if it’s appropriate and there is sufficient evidence.

Our partner agencies enforcement powers such as noise abatement notices and closure orders.

6.3. Community Trigger

Community Trigger is a process customers can use if they have reported nuisance and think that no action has been taken. It makes the police, local council and housing associations review the reports and what they have done to resolve it. The community trigger is managed by Community Safety Partnerships, within the local council, and customers will be signposted to this service for more information.

6.4. Thresholds

Square Roots will not conduct a full investigation into every report, as in some cases the report will not be deemed nuisance or ASB. Examples of this have been set out in this policy. In addition, for one-off events we would expect the customer to try and resolve the problem themselves, first by speaking to their neighbour. Where the nuisance requires a one off action such as removal of dumped rubbish in communal areas, we will instruct the managing agent to remove, but will not investigate the problem unless it meets the local authorities threshold for case review- The Community Trigger.

No threshold will apply if we consider the complainant to be particularly vulnerable and that we have a duty of care.

6.5. We reserve the right not to investigate a case, even when the threshold is met, where we have evidence that the complainant is being unreasonable, vindictive or vexatious. In such instances, the complainant will be informed that we will not be taking further action in relation to that specific complaint and provide an explanation.

6.6. If report of nuisance or ASB is received, it would be dealt with through this policy and not complaint policy. The exception is if the complaint was about the handling of the report.

7. Customers right to Appeal

7.1. If a customer is dissatisfied with our response to tackling nuisance behaviour or objects to the enforcement action, we decide to take against them if they, a member of their household or a visitor to their home are found to be the perpetrator(s) of ASB, they can appeal against this by making a complaint via the Square Roots complaints procedure.

8. Statutory Requirements

There is a range of relevant legislation that addresses different aspects of ASB. Much of the legislation gives powers to the police and local authorities and we will work with them to maximise the tools available to tackle ASB in our communities:

  • Housing Acts 1985, 1988 and 1996 – provides grounds for possession and seeking injunctions.
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 - enables the police to impose charges for racially aggravated offences and created partnership working.
  • Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 - extended the scope of the Crime and Disorder Act by creating new specific religiously aggravated offences.
  • Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 – along with the Housing Acts provides guidance to social landlords to take action against Square Roots customers causing nuisance in or around their property and community.
  • Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 - creates a new offence of stirring up hatred against people on religious grounds.
  • ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 –introduced a mandatory ground for possession for ASB; introduced a new civil injunction, abolished the ASBO and introduced a range of other new powers such as community trigger for the police, social landlords and local authorities to tackle ASB.

9. Monitoring and Review Process

We will monitor the implementation of this policy through regular analysis of customer feedback, case reviews and reports on the specific service standards. We log information relating to tenancy type, race, gender, tenant vulnerability and type of nuisance behaviour.

At intervals we arrange for an independent audit of our procedures and records to ensure that they reflect good practice and are being followed. We will monitor new legislation and best practice and may make use of any new legislation or tools as required. This policy will be approved by the Board and reviewed every three years.


Adopted: 13th July 2023
Next Review: July 2026

Repairs & Maintenance Policy

Repairs & Maintenance Policy

Repairs & Maintenance Policy Square Roots Registered Provider Ltd
 

1. Purpose

1.1. This policy sets out our commitment to deliver an efficient and effective responsive repairs service that meets the needs of our customers and enables us to fulfil our statutory, regulatory and contractual obligations.

1.2. Carrying out repairs is one of the most important services we deliver to our customers. We want Square Roots homes to be maintained in an affordable manner and ensure all our homes provide our customers with a safe, warm and dry home, where everything is in working order.

2.  Scope

2.1 This policy covers repairs services to customers who rent their home under a tenancy agreement, and those who own them as a leaseholder (whether through shared ownership or outright).  

2.2 Both our repairing obligations and those of our customers vary between those tenures, and this is reflected in the policy. The policy covers responsive repairs within customers’ homes (including their gardens and wider estate, subject to terms of the tenancy, license, or lease agreement), in communal areas, and to communal assets for example, shared gardens, shared spaces including lifts and corridors.

3. Aims

• Ensure we meet our repair obligations so that Square Roots homes are maintained, throughout the duration of the tenancy, to the standard met when they were let.
• Comply with all legislative, regulatory, and contractual (including lease and tenancy) obligations.
• Deliver a cost-effective repairs service which responds to the needs of customers, and which has the objective of completing repairs at the first visit (first time fix).
• Ensure our customers are aware of their repair responsibilities and our repair responsibilities, and where repair responsibilities are theirs, that these are met.
• Communicate effectively to our customers at all times in relation to the delivery of our responsive repairs service and enable them to communicate effectively with us.
• Offer our customers suitable and convenient choice in booking appointments for repairs.

4. Legislation and guidance

4.1 As a landlord we are required to meet certain obligations that are set out in law. Additionally, our tenancy (or leasehold) agreements set out the things that Square Roots is responsible for and the things our customers are responsible for.

4.2 The key areas of legislation in this policy are:

• Building Safety Act 2022
• Defective premises Act 1972
• Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
• Housing Act 1996
• Environmental Protection Act 1990
• Fire Safety Act 2021 
• Gas safety (installations and use) Regulations 1998
• Health and Social Care Act 2008
• Housing Act 2004
• Equality Act 2010
• Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015
• Home Standard, Regulator of Social Housing, 2015
• Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
• Party Wall Act 2016

5. Definitions

5.1 ‘Customer’ – Any tenant or leaseholder of a property or commercial unit owned and/or managed by Square Roots.

5.2 ‘Repair’ – The process of rectifying a component or installation when it is faulty or in a state of disrepair; in a Square Roots owned and/or managed property.

6. Repair Responsibilities

6.1 Customers must report repairs that are the responsibility of Square Roots, as soon as reasonably possible, to ensure the property does not fall into disrepair.

6.2 What we and our customers are each responsible for is set out in our tenancy/leasehold agreements. In addition, we will maintain a list on our website (Appendix 1 & 2). This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and customers should refer to the appropriate legal document.

7. Repair categories

7.1 Repairs will be classified and responded to within Square Roots’ repair categories and timescales. This will be communicated to the customer once the repair is logged and an appointment agreed.

7.2 The categories and timescales are set out below, as per our Service Level Agreement (“SLA”).

Repair Category

Definition

Timescale

Emergency

Item(s) which, if not remedied, could be dangerous to the customer or which causes the customer or which causes the customer major inconvenience.

E.g., the loss of power, water, or a water leak that cannot be retained.

Attend within 4 hours and a repair within 12 hours

Urgent

Item(s) which, may cause an inconvenience for the customer, whilst not repaired, the customer can continue their routine by making minor alternations.

E.g., faulty locks to bathroom doors 

Attend within 48 hours and a repair within 1 week

Routine

Item(s) that do not cause major inconvenience or discomfort for the customer, but will need to be remedied.

E.g., adjusting doors or windows that do not pose a security risk.

Attend within 1 week and a repair within 1 month


7.3 Emergency repairs will be responded to and made safe within 4 hours. Where possible a full repair will be carried out, if this is not possible, we will arrange a new appointment at a time convenient for the customer.

7.4 Emergency repairs are available out of hours (outside of our business operating hours) for repairs that pose an immediate risk to people and/or property.

8. Reporting repairs

8.1 Customers can report repairs in a variety of ways at a time and place that suits them:

• appointment via customer portal
• telephone
• email
• website
• during your community meeting (non-urgent communal repairs)

8.2 Square Roots’ aim is to arrange a convenient appointment at first contact with the customer and complete the repair, where possible, within one visit.

8.3 Customers should use telephone as the preferred option to report any emergency repair/s.

9. Vulnerable Customers

9.1 Square Roots appreciate and embrace the diversity of our customers, and recognise that this may, on occasion, require a tailored service. At our discretion we may tailor the repairs service offer to these households when appropriate.

9.2 Every attempt will be made to identify any individual circumstances at first point of contact to ensure reasonable adjustments can be made.

10. Inspections

10.1 A pre-inspection maybe required before a repair appointment can be arranged. This will include circumstances where the scope of the repair is unknown. Following the inspection, the repair will be diagnosed and planned within the appropriate timescales.
10.2 To ensure Square Roots is delivering a high-quality repairs service and committed to added value, a sample of completed repairs will be inspected regularly.

10.3 These inspections will be a combination of desktop reviews and on-site inspections.

11. No Access

11.1 Our tenancy, license and leasehold agreements require customers to allow us (including appointed contractors) access to their home to carry out repairs at the agreed appointment time. If we are unable to gain access to carry out the repairs and the integrity of the property, its fabric and/or the safety of the customer or those in the vicinity of the property is compromised, we will take appropriate action to gain access to carry out the repair. This may include but is not limited to obtaining an injunction for access. If we are required to gain access this way, we will consider taking both immediate and retrospective action against the customer for the breach of their tenancy conditions. We may pass on to the customer the costs incurred by us taking this action.

11.2 In the event that we are unable to gain access for a repair, that does not compromise the integrity of the property or the safety of other, due to the customer not being home or nota allowing access, the customer will be notified that the repair has been cancelled and to contact Square Roots to raise another appointment.

12. Major Repairs

12.1 Major Repairs are non-emergency routine repairs that cost over £1000 and will likely be deemed either extensive or improvement to the existing provision, they are not standard repairs.

12.2 Square Roots aims to complete all Major Repairs within 90 days, however in some instances works will form part of a larger programme or alternatively due to their nature will be undertaken within a shorter timeframe where delay would be detrimental to property or person, this will be determined by Square Roots.

12.3 Where we identify the need for a major repair, we will make sure the customer understands the reasons for this and the timeframes involved.  We will also ensure good communication on the progress of these major repairs, where possible.

13. Recharge

13.1 Damage that has been caused by a customer, their family members or visitors to a property, will be rechargeable. A rechargeable repair is defined as, ‘repairs that are above and beyond normal wear and tear, and arise from abuse, accidental damage, neglect or deliberate and/or malicious damage’.

13.2 Rechargeable repairs are underpinned by the tenancy agreement, under section 13, ’Damage’, and explained in our Recharge Policy, which will enable Square Roots to recover the costs resulting from customers who fail to meet their obligations.

14. Alterations

14.1 Customers wishing to carry out any alterations or improvements to their home must apply in writing to Square Roots and receive our written permission prior to any works being undertaken.

14.2 Where customers have carried out alterations or improvements to a property and written permission has been provided, Square Roots will not be responsible for carrying out repairs.

14.3 Where customers have carried out alterations without consent from Square Roots, they may be asked to restore the property to its original state at their own cost.

15. Cyclical Maintenance

15.1 Square Roots have statutory obligations to carry out compliance related safety checks.

15.2 Cyclical maintenance is work required to be carried out on a regular basis to prevent the gradual deterioration of a property, its components and finishes and also to ensure that property standards are maintained, and that Square Roots contributes to the community.

15.3 Every five years Square Roots will undertake a full electrical safety test to all rented properties.

15.4 Square Roots will undertake PAT testing annually, for electrical appliances provided in rented properties.

16. Defects

16.1 Most works carried out as part of new build properties are covered by a defects liability period (DLP). This starts from the date of practical completion for the building or block (and not from the date of occupation of the property). The defects period is 24 months.

16.2 Shared ownership customers should report repairs for new or improved properties via the Customer Care telephone line on 0333 666 4949 or emailing [email protected]

17. Voids

17.1 We aim to let void properties as quickly as possible in order to minimise loss of income.

17.2 In order to achieve this, we will adopt a systematic approach to completing and monitoring any necessary repair work before the property is considered fit for let. 
17.3 Voids will be classified as either minor or major voids, the category will be agreed following inspection:

Minor voids - properties requiring a low value of works (under £x) to bring them up to a lettable standard.

Major voids - properties requiring larger scale, higher value works, for example, bathroom removal and installation, to bring them up to the lettable standard.

17.4 We will have a minimum lettable standard in place, and this will define the nature and extent of repair work that will be carried out prior to a property being let.

17.5 It is our policy to instruct electrical safety checks as well as request an Energy Performance Certificate for each void property (if required) before the new tenant moves in.

18. Adaptations

18.1 Subject to the provision of local authority funding to cover all costs, we will support and assist the carrying out of works which will enable independent living and enhance the quality of life of tenants with particular mobility or other impairments.

18.2 We will only refuse to carry out adaptation work in exceptional circumstances. This will include when:

• The adaptation is technically difficult to achieve without detriment to the property and other tenants.
• Funding is not available.
• The specific advice from relevant agencies is that the proposed adaptation would not be appropriate.

19. Performance, Monitoring and Review

19.1 Square Roots will collate and monitor performance information in relation to repairs strategic key performance indicators.

19.2 Customer satisfaction testing will be conducted regularly on a random selection of completed repairs. Feedback and analysis will be used to identify trends and to continuously improve service delivery.

19.3 Comprehensive records of all repairs and maintenance work will be held with a view to demonstrating transparency in the way work has been carried out and authorised.

19.4 This policy will be reviewed every three years unless there is a significant incident, important change in circumstances or legislation which would warrant a review being carried out at an earlier date.

Adopted:  13th July 2023

Next Review:  July 2026



Appendix 1 - Rented Customer

As your landlord, we are responsible for repairs to:

We are responsible for maintaining and repairing the structure and exterior of the building; and communal areas, including the following:

Inside the home
• Maintain gas and electrical heating, and hot water systems
• Offer alternative heating in cases of complete breakdown
• Install and test hard-wired smoke detectors and sprinklers
• Repair water and roof leaks
• Manage pest control in communal areas and inside homes 
• Maintain electrical sockets, wiring and light fittings including sealed lighting (we do not replace bulbs)
• Structural repairs to walls, floors, ceiling, stairs and bannisters

Outside the home
• Maintain and clear gutters, drains and pipework to blocks
• Maintain external doors, window frames and sills
• Repair and maintain communal paving, pathways and outdoor steps leading to the main access point of the building
• Install communal and boundary fencing to public or adjoining private land (not dividing fences between homes)
• Remove dead, diseased or dangerous trees in communal back gardens and in street properties, after assessment

Customer responsibility:

Inside the home
• Maintain and renew of internal decorations
• Please let us know if there is a damp and mould issue in your home as soon as it happens by reporting a repair
• Clear blockages in waste pipes and toilets, even if this is accidental. If the problem persists, contact us
• Maintain any improvements made by you
• Minor repairs to plaster, including filling minor holes and cracks
• Look after and replace sink plugs, tap washers, toilet seats and lids, shower hoses, shower heads
• Replace light bulbs, starter motors for strip lights, fuses
• Fit and maintain doorbells, letterboxes and handles (unless you live in a flat)
• Mend broken glass to your own front doors and windows if you have caused the damage
• Repair and maintain kitchen cupboard doors, drawers, cupboard catches and hinges
• Repair or replace keys and locks because of any damage by you, your family or visitors. This also includes repairs or replacements because keys have been lost.
• Bleed radiators
• Repair and replace internal doors, door handles and latches, including adapting internal doors to fit carpets
• Looking after and replacing floor coverings and carpets

Outside the home
• Maintain dividing fences between you and your neighbour
• Prune and maintain all shrubs, trees and grass within your private garden
• Maintain any improvements made by yourself
• Keep pathways clear of leaves and debris and undertake minor repairs

If any repairs are identified within your 2 year defect liability period, they should be reported to Square Roots. Defect reporting is set out in your Home User Guide.

Your tenancy agreement gives more information about your rights and responsibilities around repairs. If you are not sure who is responsible for a repair in your home, please contact your Customer Services Manager. 

Appendix 2 - Leaseholder/Shared Ownership Customer

As your landlord, we (or a managing agent) are responsible for repairs to:

• Communal doors and entrances, halls, lifts and other communal areas
• External repairs and painting of the exterior of the flat or apartment block and any communal areas on a set cycle
• the cost for the works we or the managing agent will incur in maintaining these common parts will be recovered from leaseholder and shared owners through the service charge.

Customer responsibility:

Normally, leaseholders and shared owners are responsible for undertaking all internal repairs to their home at their own expense. This includes items such as the glass in the windows and the window handles and locks.

If you live in a leasehold flat or apartment, you’re responsible for all repairs to the inside of your property.

This includes repairs to:
• Central heating, water heaters and fitted fires
• Sockets switches and light fittings
• Baths, sinks, toilets and cisterns
• Drains and waste pipes

If any repairs are identified within your 2-year defect liability period, they should be reported to Square Roots. Defect reporting is set out in your Home User Guide.