Designated persons were introduced by the Government as part of the Localism Act 2011 to improve the chances of complaints about housing being resolved locally and to involve local politicians and local people in resolving local housing issues. A designated person can be an MP, a local councillor, or a Tenant Panel.
When a landlord’s internal complaints procedure is finished tenants of housing associations, local authorities and ALMOs can ask for their complaint to be considered by a designated person.
A designated person can help resolve the complaint in one of two ways; they can try and resolve the complaint themselves or they can refer the complaint straight to the Ombudsman. If they refuse to do either the tenant can contact the Ombudsman directly.
The designated person can try to put things right in which ever way they think may work best. Although we can advise designated persons on good practice in complaint handling, the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over designated persons and has no authority to regulate or produce guidance for their selection, activity or conduct. If the problem is still not resolved following the intervention of the designated person either they or the tenant can refer the complaint to the Ombudsman.
Complaints to the Ombudsman do not have to be referred by a designated person, but if they are not there must be at least eight weeks from the end of the landlord’s complaint process before we can consider the case.
The law says that when the designated person refers a complaint to the Ombudsman, it must be in writing.
The Ombudsman is required to maintain a register of recognised Tenant Panels (if you would like to register a Tenant Panel please email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org). However, we do not oversee the involvement of panels or any other designated person in the local resolution of complaints.