Complaints Policy

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this policy is to enable Complaints to be resolved in a manner that is resident appropriate, objective, fair, quick and cost-effective for the resident ("you") and LifeCare Residences ("we" or "us").
We strive to deliver a high standard of service at our Villages. A commitment to continuous improvement means that we acknowledge all Complaints and ensure that whilst Complaints are being resolved, every complainant is treated with dignity and respect.
Some of the words in this policy are defined terms and the definitions are set out in the Definitions section of this policy.

STANDARD

This policy covers all Complaints raised by a resident concerning us, our staff, the Village, another resident or any other matter that the resident wants to raise. Our complaints management process provides a vehicle for residents to express their dissatisfaction without fear of prejudice, and ensures there are a variety of avenues to pursue their complaint.
An outline of the complaints procedures is set out in a flowchart in Schedule One.
Complaints are actively managed in accordance with the Retirement Villages Act 2003 and the Retirement Villages Code of Practice 2008 and its Variations.
A copy of this Complaints Policy can be found on the Residents’ Notice Board, in the Resident Compendium, on the Village website and it is also available on request from Management.

DEFINITIONS

Code of Practice

The Code of Practice approved by the Minister under section 89 of the Retirement Villages Act, as updated, amended or replaced from time to time.

Complaint

Includes any issue or concern or Formal Complaint.

Formal Complaint

A written complaint made by a resident or former resident in accordance with this policy relating to us, our staff, the Village, another resident or any other matter that the resident wants to raise.

Former Resident

A person who was a resident, or a representative of that former resident, of the Village and whose occupation right agreement has since terminated.

Resident

All references to the Resident include:
(a) a person who has entered into an occupation right agreement with us in relation to the Village;
(b) a person who under an occupation right agreement is, for the time being, entitled to occupy a residential unit within the Village, whether or not the agreement is made with that person or some other person; or
(c) if the occupation right agreement provides, or with our consent, the spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner of the person referred to in paragraph (b) who is occupying the residential unit with that person, or after that person's death or departure from the Village.

Village

The LifeCare Residences retirement village in which you are a Resident or Former Resident.

RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS

  • All residents have the right to raise Complaints and receive a response within a reasonable time. (Right 4 – Code of Residents' Rights)
  • All residents have the right to a speedy and efficient process for resolving disputes they have with us or with other residents. (Right 5 – Code of Residents' Rights)
  • All residents have the right to have a support person represent them in their dealings with us or other residents. (Right 6 – Code of Residents' Rights)
  • All residents have the right to be treated with courtesy and respect. (Right 7 Code of Residents' Rights)
  • When raising a Complaint, we will treat you with courtesy and respect. We will not treat you differently from any other resident on the basis of the resident having made a Complaint.
  • Nothing in this policy limits your right to contact the Statutory Supervisor, Retirement Commissioner, Registrar of Retirement Villages or any other person at any time as an alternative or in addition to making a Formal Complaint, or regarding any alleged breach of the Code of Residents' Rights. You may exercise this right by contacting the Statutory Supervisor, Registrar of Retirement Villages or Retirement Commissioner directly using the contact details provided in Schedule Two.

PROCEDURE

LifeCare Residences operates a complaints facility based on three (3) levels:

  • raise an informal issue or concern;
  • make a Formal Complaint;
  • issue a dispute notice.

1. Raise an Issue or Concern

Issues or Concerns

It is important that you can at any time informally raise with us any issues or concerns that you may have. You are encouraged, but not required, to raise any issues or concerns informally with us prior to making a Formal Complaint. All issues and concerns will be dealt with in accordance with our Issues and Concerns Procedure set out below. If you are dissatisfied with the response to your issue or concern you may at any time raise your issue or concern as a Formal Complaint in accordance with the procedure set out in the Formal Complaint part of this policy.
Issues or concerns raised anonymously cannot be dealt with in accordance with the Issues and Concerns Procedure. However, we will endeavour to investigate, consider or resolve any issue or concern anonymously brought to our attention. If the issue or concern results in a change to any policy or practice at the Village which would ordinarily be notified, then all residents will be notified of this outcome.

Issues and Concerns Procedure

1. An issue or concern may be raised at any time with LifeCare Residences or with the Village Manager. The Village Manager’s contact details are set out in Schedule Two. Issues or concerns can be raised in writing or verbally, there is no prescribed form.

  • You may wish to use the Village Feedback Form, which is available at Reception. If the issue or concern is made verbally it will be recorded by a staff member on the Village Feedback Form and submitted to the Village Manager or the Village Manager will record it in writing as soon as practical.

2. Where you have raised an issue or concern we will acknowledge this to you in writing within five (5) working days.

3. We will respond to your issue or concern within a reasonable time.

  • If we are unable to give you a response within twenty (20) working days of the date you raised the issue or concern, the Village Manager will contact you and explain what progress has been made and when a final response might be expected.
  • Once the Village Manager has completed their investigation of the issue or concern they will provide written advice of the outcome to you. 

4. If you are not satisfied with our response or the progress towards resolution you may choose to raise a Formal Complaint.

2. Make a Formal Complaint

Formal Complaints

You have the right to make a Formal Complaint about us, our staff, the Village, other residents or any other matter. Before commencing the Formal Complaints Resolution Procedure you may wish to:

  • raise the matter as an issue or concern as set out above;
  • talk to the Statutory Supervisor, Registrar of Retirement Villages and/or the Retirement Commissioner about wishing to make a Formal Complaint. Contact details for these organisations are set out in Schedule Two;
  • as an alternative, or in addition to making a Formal Complaint, contact the Statutory Supervisor if your complaint is about a breach of the Code of Residents' Rights. You can ask the Village Manager for information about your rights as detailed in the Code of Residents’ Rights (this information is also contained in the Disclosure Statement and in the Resident Compendium);
  • request that the Residents' Committee call a meeting with us and/or the Statutory Supervisor.

Procedure for making a Formal Complaint

1. Formal Complaints must be given to us or the Village Manager in writing who will respond to the matter raised.

  • A Formal Complaint must be in writing, dated and signed by you.
  • The Village Feedback Form is available at Reception, to lodge concerns and Complaints (as well as compliments, suggestions, incidents etc).
  • If you are unable to write the Complaint, your personal representative, or a support person you have authorised in writing, may write the Complaint on your behalf.
  • If you are unable to write the Complaint and you do not have a person to assist you in writing the Complaint, the Village Manager will at your request record the Complaint in writing based on what you tell the Village Manager at the time. The Village Manager will read the Complaint back to you to confirm it is recorded correctly and will provide you with a copy before taking any further action.
    2. A register is kept of all Formal Complaints and information including the number, type and outcome of Formal Complaints is reported by us to the Retirement Commissioner every six (6) months. None of your personal information will be disclosed without your consent unless required by law.

Resolving Complaints together in the first instance

1. We will acknowledge in writing every Formal Complaint within five (5) working days of receiving it.

  • This acknowledgement will include the process and timeframe for resolving the Formal Complaint. We will endeavour to resolve the Formal Complaint within twenty (20) working days from the date we receive the Formal Complaint and will regularly inform you of progress.

2. We will work with you directly to resolve the Formal Complaint to your satisfaction.

  • If we are unable to resolve the Formal Complaint within twenty (20) working days the Village Manager will advise you of the progress of the Formal Complaint and the reason for the delay. We will continue to regularly inform you about the progress of the Formal Complaint.
  • A professional and objective review of the Formal Complaint will be conducted.

3. If any proposed action by us is the subject of the Formal Complaint, we will advise you whether or not we will suspend taking that action until the Formal Complaint is resolved. We will only proceed with a proposed action if we have consulted with the Statutory Supervisor and have decided that it is in the best interests of the Village as a community to proceed with the proposed action while the Formal Complaint is being resolved.

Statutory Supervisor

1. If the Formal Complaint has not been resolved within twenty (20) working days of being received by us, we will refer the Formal Complaint to the Statutory Supervisor who will recommend a way forward.

  • The role of the Statutory Supervisor is to work with the parties to provide them with an impartial perspective.
  • We will advise you once the matter is referred to the Statutory Supervisor.

2. The Statutory Supervisor may recommend mediation. If the Statutory Supervisor is not a member of an alternative dispute resolution agency approved by the Retirement Commissioner it will be unable to assist with the provision of mediation services.

Mediation

1. If the Formal Complaint has not been resolved within twenty (20) working days after being referred to the Statutory Supervisor, we will offer you the option of mediation with an independent mediator.

  • The mediator must be either a member of an alternative dispute resolution agency which is approved by the Retirement Commissioner and listed on the Retirement Commissioner's website or alternatively the parties have the option to agree on another independent third party.

2. A mediator can help the parties discuss the problem, identify the issues and come up with a workable solution.

  • Mediators are independent, unbiased people who specialise in resolving disputes. They are not necessarily lawyers, judges or counsellors. They facilitate discussion and dispute resolution rather than making a judgement.
  • Both parties contribute to a solution in mediation. You may request that the Formal Complaint proceed to

3. We will suggest one or more independent mediators to you. If the parties agree on a mediator we will refer the Formal Complaint to that person. If the parties cannot agree on a mediator within five (5) working days we will ask the Retirement Commissioner to select one who we will engage.
4. Each party is responsible for their own costs in preparing for mediation. If the Formal Complaint is about us or our staff we will pay the mediator's costs. If the Formal Complaint is between residents the mediator's costs will be divided evenly between each party and us.
5. If your Formal Complaint has not been resolved through the mediation process you may be able to issue a dispute notice.

Recording Resolution of Formal Complaints

If the Formal Complaint is resolved by mutual agreement or following referral to the Statutory Supervisor or during mediation, we will:

  • record the resolution in writing;
  • state what actions, if any, will be taken, who is responsible for taking that action, and the timeframe for the action to be completed;
  • set out the terms of any agreement about costs and any other terms;
  • arrange for the resolution to be signed and dated by all parties; and
  • provide a copy to all parties.

Unresolved Formal Complaints

The above process does not prevent you at any time after twenty (20) working days of your Formal Complaint being received by us from issuing a dispute notice. Your right to issue a dispute notice is subject to the terms set out in the Retirement Villages Act 2003. A summary of the requirements and procedure for issuing a dispute notice is set out below.

3. Issue a Dispute Notice

Dispute Notice

    1. We encourage all residents to take advantage of all steps set out in the Formal Complaint Resolution Procedure prior to giving a dispute notice. However, nothing in this policy limits your right to give a dispute notice at any time permitted by the Retirement Villages Act 2003 or the right of the parties to agree to mediation at any time during a dispute panel process.
    2. Where you have an unresolved Formal Complaint you may be able to give a dispute notice at any time between twenty (20) working days and six (6) months after the date the Formal Complaint was received (or such later time by agreement of all parties).
    3. Not all Formal Complaints are able to be referred to a Disputes Panel for resolution, you may give a Dispute Notice to us where the dispute relates to any of the following:
    • a decision by us which affects your occupation right or right to access services or facilities;
    • a decision by us to change the charges you pay under your occupation right agreement for outgoings, services or facilities;
    • the charges or deductions made when you leave the Village;
    • an allegation that we have breached the Code of Residents’ Rights or Code of Practice;
    • a dispute between you and another resident or guest of another resident which affects your occupation right.

4. You may not give a dispute notice in relation to any health and disability services or facilities we are providing you. If you are dissatisfied with our response to a Formal Complaint relating to health or disability services you may take your Complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner or a Health and Disability Advocate. We will advise you if this option is available in relation to your Complaint.

5. If a complaint relates to an alleged breach of your occupation right agreement or the Code of Practice in disposing of a unit formerly occupied by you, you may be able to give a dispute notice at any time following nine (9) months after the unit has become available for disposal and if you wish, need not go through the Formal Complaint Resolution Procedure.

Dispute Notice Procedure

1. You may raise a dispute by giving a dispute notice to us. A dispute notice must:

    • be in writing;
    • identify the decision or decisions, or matters, in respect of which it is made;
    • identify the person or persons in respect of whom it is made, if not us;
    • state the grounds on which it is made; and
    • state the efforts that have been made to resolve the dispute.

2. We will appoint a disputes panel within twenty (20) working days after the date the notice is given to us. We will consult you before appointing the disputes panel. All members of the disputes panel will be selected from those named on the Retirement Commissioner's list of disputes panelists.

3. We will notify the Statutory Supervisor of a dispute notice if we consider the outcome of the dispute:

  • may affect a significant number of the Village residents;
  • the general operation of the Village;
  • our rights and obligations under the Deed of Supervision; or
  • the dispute notice relates to disposal of a former resident's unit.

4. If the disputes panel considers that it needs more information about the issues of the dispute it can ask the party who issued the dispute notice to provide this, in writing and within a specified time. The other party may reply, or be required by the dispute panel to reply, to the dispute notice.

5. Before the hearing, the disputes panel will consult with all of the dispute parties on the most appropriate procedure for resolving the dispute. It will ensure that each party has the opportunity to comment on any view or any matter given by the other party during the consultation time. The panel will then set an agreed time and place for the hearing. As a general rule all hearings are to be public with the proceedings and decision published. However, the panel may decide whether any part of the hearing will be heard in private or not published.

6. The disputes panel may decide that a dispute should be heard by a court of law instead and refer it to the nearest District Court. A disputes panel can also refuse to hear a dispute if it considers it to be frivolous or vexatious or an abuse of process.

7. At a disputes panel hearing all parties can give evidence, cross-examine and re-examine witnesses. The disputes panel can amend an occupation right agreement, order compliance with an occupation right agreement or the Code of Practice, or order payment or refund of an amount in dispute.

8. When a decision has been made, the disputes panel must record its findings in writing and give each party, the Village, and the Retirement Commissioner a copy. The decision is binding on all parties.

9. In the ordinary course we will pay the costs of the dispute panel whether we are a party to the complaint or not. However, the disputes panel can also make an award of costs and expenses. This might require a party to the dispute to pay all or some of the costs of the disputes panel and/or the other party.

10. Please note: this is an overview of the process only, for full details please consult Part 4 of the Retirement Villages Act 2003 and the Retirement Villages (Disputes Panel) Regulations 2006.

SCHEDULE ONE

SCHEDULE TWO

Contact Information

The Operator's Contact Person for Complaints is the Village Manager of your Village.
The phone numbers of our Village Managers are:
Remuera Rise: (09) 522 7392 Waiheke Retirement Village: (09) 372 2820
The contact hours of our Village Managers are:
Contact times at Village: Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
(excluding public holidays and annual leave periods)

Statutory Supervisor:

Name: Covenant Trustee Services Limited Phone: (09) 302 0638 Email: Team@Covenant.co.nz Address: Level 6, 191 Queen Street, Auckland 1010
Postal Address: P O Box 4243, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140

Registrar of Retirement Villages:

Phone: 0800 268 269 Phone: (03) 962 2602 Website: www.retirementvillages.govt.nz Address: Registrar of Retirement Villages Northern Business Centre Private Bag 92061 Auckland Mail Centre Auckland 1142

Retirement Commissioner:

Phone: (09) 356 0052 Address: Level 3, 108 Quay Street, Auckland 1010 Postal Address: PO Box 106-056, Auckland City 1143 Email: office@cffc.org.nz

Retirement Villages Association:

Phone: (04) 499-7090 Address: Level 11, Petherick Tower, 38 - 42 Waring Taylor St, Wellington 6011 Postal Address: PO Box 25-022, Panama Street, Wellington 6146 Email: info@retirementvillages.org.nz

Agencies which may offer Advocacy Services:

Age Concern:

Phone: (04) 801 9338 Fax: (04) 801 9336 Email: national.office@ageconcern.org.nz Website: www.ageconcern.org.nz follow links – New Zealand Address: National Office, 4th floor, West Block, Education House, 178 Willis Street, Wellington

Citizens Advice Bureau:

Phone: 0800 367 222 Fax: (04) 382 8647 Email: admin@cab.org.nz Address: National Office, PO Box 9777, Wellington Website: www.cab.org.nz

Advocacy Network Services:

Free Phone: 0800 423 638 / 0800 423 639 Phone: (04) 237 0418 Address: Room 2/5 Pember House, 16 Hagley Street, Porirua
If the complaint concerns health or disability services we are providing you may also contact the following:

Health and Disability Advocacy:

Phone: 0800 555 050 Email: advocacy@hdc.org.nz

Health and Disability Commissioner
Website: www.hdc.org.nz Email: hdc@hdc.org.nz Postal Address: Health and Disability Commissioner, PO Box 1791, Auckland 1140
Fax: (09) 373 1061

 

Updated: April 2017

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