The ARCO Consumer Code was first launched in 2015 and revised in 2017 to provide a benchmark for good practice within the Retirement Community sector.
The Code applies to Retirement Communities in the UK that are registered with ARCO by full members (also known as Approved Operators) as well as provisional and prospective members.
The introduction of the Code in 2015 marked the culmination of two years of work to agree a common set of high standards for the sector, which go above and beyond statutory duties.
The revised version in 2017 builds on the experience of 129 assessments undertaken over those two years and a variety of external developments, including the Law Commission’s final report on event fees.
What does the Consumer Code mean for Retirement Community Operators, Customers and Residents?
Operators who sign up to the Code (all ARCO members) will ensure that prospective residents are given clear and transparent information about fees and service charges well before they decide to move in.
ARCO Approved Operators also need to provide core levels of services in Retirement Communities and must maintain a fair and consultative relationship with residents.
How do we ensure standards are met?
The Code is supported by a robust Standards and Compliance Framework.
External assessors conduct independent reviews of services against the Consumer Code on ARCO’s behalf. These assessors monitor ARCO members’ compliance with the Code, and ARCO will take action as necessary when standards are not met.
What do I do if I have a complaint?
ARCO does not provide a dispute resolution service (see Section 1.10 of the Consumer Code).
The Code requires Approved Operators to provide a clear complaints procedure and to offer recourse to the relevant Ombudsman service if they cannot resolve a complaint to a complainant’s satisfaction. As such, any concerns that customers or residents may have about an ARCO Approved Operator should be raised with the operator directly. ARCO will refer complaints that are made to it to the relevant member for resolution.
ARCO is currently revising its processes and integrating complaints received into our assessment programme. Any complaints made to ARCO will inform assessments and revisions to the Code and the Standards and Compliance framework. More information on this process will be provided shortly. If a potential safeguarding issue is brought to ARCO’s attention, it will be reported to the relevant authority.