There are a lot of rules and legal requirements connected to how we work in all of our Pioneer services. This means that our staff have to make decisions every day in response to customer requests, or in the way we run our services.

Sometimes we will make a decision that you disagree with. If this is the case you can ask us to review it. The manager of the team that made the decision or run the particular service will have another look at the decision when you ask us for a review and will tell you the outcome. In most cases, following this review you will have the opportunity to appeal if you still disagree with the decision.

Is it an appeal or a complaint?

You can use the appeals policy when you disagree with a decision we have made. This is different from a complaint, which is an expression of dissatisfaction when we haven’t done something we should have, or if there has been a failure in our services.

If you want to make a complaint, please click here.

Sometimes it can be confusing if you aren’t sure if it’s a complaint or appeal. Don’t let this put you off telling us about the issue. We’ll help you through the process.

 Can I appeal about any decision?

Generally, yes. We want to give our customers and service users a voice in how we deliver our services and we want to hear your feedback. We want to empower you to ask us to look again at decisions we have made and give you options if you still disagree.

There are though some things that we cannot consider under our appeals process. These include things such as:

  • Decisions made by others, such as Birmingham City Council, the Government, Police, utility companies or Court and Tribunals
  • Legal proceedings – for example the decision to service a Notice of Seeking Possession or start proceedings for eviction. Although we will consider reviewing these decisions, they can not progress to formal appeal. Customers have the right to challenge these decisions legally and present their own defence to a court.
  • Decisions that were made more than six months ago.
  • Something we have already considered under our appeals policy.
  • Decisions under our allocations policy. Our allocations policy has its own appeal process and if you are dissatisfied you can seek a judicial review.

If you aren’t sure if one of these exclusions apply, talk to us and we’ll tell you what your options are. Often we will review a decision if we can and will tell you if we can’t and the reasons why.

Do appeals have to be in writing?

No. Although it can sometimes be clearer in writing, we do not require appeals to be made in writing. We recognise that some people may have difficulty expressing themselves clearly in writing and we do not want to put any barriers in place to prevent people asking for a review of our decisions.

Our staff will be helpful, and will help you make your appeal. We need you to be clear that you do not agree with a decision so we know that you are making an appeal, rather than just providing feedback.

You can be represented by a friend throughout this process and we will work with third parties. We will make sure that anyone representing you has your permission before we work with them though to make sure we don’t break any confidentiality rules.

When you tell us you are dissatisfied about a decision we have made, we will consider carefully what you tell us and review it. We use a three stage process so if you disagree with our initial review, you can appeal it.

 


 

Stage 1 – Request for a review

You should tell us the decision you disagree with and why you disagree. It is helpful if you can tell us what you think the decision should be so we can consider this carefully.

We will acknowledge your appeal within 5 working days and aim to provide a full response within 10 working days.

A manager from the service responsible for the decision will review it and consider the information you have provided. If we need more information from you to review the decision, we will let you know and we’ll aim to respond within 10 days of us receiving this additional information. We will tell you the reasons for our decision and tell you how you can appeal if you disagree.

If we change our decision we will tell you why we have done this, what we intend to do and when.

We expect most cases to be resolved at this stage.

Stage 2 – Formal Appeal

Our aim is to explain clearly how a decision has been reached and avoid any misunderstandings, rather than rush you through a process. If you remain dissatisfied after we have reviewed the decision, you can submit a formal appeal. Many issues can be solved informally so we will not escalate an appeal to this stage until we have completed a review under the first stage of the process.

An appeal will be considered by a senior Pioneer manager such as a Head of Service or Director.

To formally appeal you should submit your appeal within four weeks of the review decision, with the following information:

  • The decision you are appealing
  • Why you disagree with the decision
  • Why you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the review

We will aim to acknowledge your appeal within 5 working days and aim to provide a full response within 10 working days. If we need more information, we will tell you what we need and why. Once we receive it we will aim to respond within 10 working days.

We will tell you the outcome of the review and will let you know how you can escalate the issue if you remain dissatisfied.

Stage 3 – Final Appeal

If you are still dissatisfied, you have a further right of appeal. This is the final stage in our appeal process and the decision will be our final response.

We will convene an appeals panel, which will be made up of a Pioneer Director who has not previously been involved in the decision and an independent person. Usually this will be a board member who is also a resident or service user. The officer dealing with the stage 2 appeal will also be present to advise the panel, but will not be involved in the decision making process.

You can decide if you want to attend the hearing in person, or if you want to provide additional information to the panel in advance to be considered in your absence. If you want to attend, you can bring a friend along with you to support you, but you cannot bring a legal representative. This is because our appeals procedure is not a legal process.

We will aim to convene a panel within 15 working days and tell you the decision within 5 days of the panel hearing. Issues reaching this stage can often be complicated and the panel may need to seek some further advice. We will keep you informed of any delays and agree a new target response date with you.

Following the outcome of the Final Appeal, we will not consider the matter further and the decision will be final.

What if I am still unhappy?

You can take your own legal advice at any time and challenge decisions through the legal route. If you do this, we will stop any appeal that is in progress and respond to the legal challenge instead. We will not run the two processes together as this could interfere with any ongoing action.

You can consult with the Housing Ombudsman Service at any time. They can sometimes provide support to you through the appeals process. They might ask you to go through our process first and get a final response before they will consider a case, but you can ask them for advice. More information on the service can be found here.