Complaints

Explaining ARCO's complaints policy

ARCO understands that from time to time residents or prospective residents (“customers”) of Retirement Communities that are registered with ARCO may need to complain to their operator about an aspect of their service.

The best thing to do at first is to speak to someone at the Retirement Community, or at the Approved Operator’s main office about the problem, to see what can be done to make things better. All ARCO Approved Operators have undertaken to welcome all forms of feedback and to use it to promote continuous improvement in their services. However, if that initial approach does not work, then a formal complaint can be made.

All Approved Operators must have a clear complaints procedure which is available to customers and residents, and which includes a clear timetable for dealing with written complaints. The main features in all complaints procedures used by Approved Operators are set out in section 8 of the ARCO Consumer Code which is attached here.

Where people who have complained are still not satisfied after the Approved Operator’s procedure has been completed, they will be advised that they can take the matter up with an Ombudsman. All Approved Operators have to be a member of one of the Ombudsman schemes and must abide by any decision made by the Ombudsman.

ARCO itself does not investigate complaints made about Approved Operators. Any complaints which are received by ARCO will be passed to the relevant operator who will be asked to handle the complaint through its own procedure.

ARCO has an annual assessment programme where it checks that Approved Operators are complying with all aspects of its Consumer Code. Where there is evidence that an Approved Operator may not be complying with the Code at one or more of its Retirement Communities, ARCO may require an urgent inspection or investigation. 

FAQs

Why can't I complain directly to ARCO?

ARCO believes that it is best for all parties for complaints to be dealt with as quickly as possible and by the organisation that can most easily put things right – that is the Approved Operator responsible for the Retirement Community where the issue has arisen. However, if an operator is clearly not following the Consumer Code then ARCO’s Standards Committee may require the operator to undertake an urgent inspection or investigation.

Where can I find a copy of the ARCO Consumer Code?

Your Approved Operator will be able to give you a copy, or you can find it here.

Can I complain directly to the Ombudsman?

Each of the Ombudsman services will only investigate once a complaint has been all the way through the procedure managed by the Approved Operator. They will refer all complaints that are not yet resolved back to the Approved Operator.

If ARCO doesn’t deal with complaints itself, how does it make sure its members are following the ARCO Consumer Code?

ARCO has an annual assessment programme where it checks that Approved Operators are complying with all aspects of its Consumer Code. Where there is evidence that an Approved Operator may not be complying with the Code at one or more of its Retirement Communities, ARCO may require an urgent inspection or investigation.

Can anyone else investigate my complaint?

Possibly – see the sections below about vulnerable people and the Care Quality Commission.

I don’t have a complaint, but there are things I think ARCO should know about.

We are always pleased to receive written suggestions or comments to do with any aspect of ARCO’s work; please email info@arcouk.org.

I am very concerned about the welfare of a vulnerable person in a retirement community registered with ARCO.

The first thing to do is to raise the matter either with the organisation responsible for providing care for the vulnerable person or with the Approved Operator where the person lives. You could also go to the Care Quality Commission website at www.cqc.org.uk/contact-us If you believe someone is in danger you should immediately contact the police.

I am a member of staff at a Retirement Community registered with ARCO and need to contact someone about something I believe is wrong.

First, you may feel able to contact someone senior within your own organisation – there may be a Whistleblowing policy or something similar you can refer to. A service that is well-led and wants to improve will encourage staff to raise concerns without fear of reprisal. Failing that, if the matter is to do with the care of a vulnerable person, you could go to the Care Quality Commission website at www.cqc.org.uk/contact-us If you believe someone is in danger you should immediately contact the police.

Does ARCO investigate matters at developments owned or managed by one of its members but which is not registered with ARCO?

No – ARCO can only investigate issues relating to registered Retirement Communities covered by its Consumer Code.

What about ARCO prospective or provisional members who aren’t Approved Operators – doesn’t this apply to them too?

Yes and no. All ARCO members at every stage of the joining process have undertaken to welcome all forms of feedback, to use it to promote continuous improvement, and to have a clear complaints procedure. However, members who are not yet Approved Operators may still be in the process of developing or amending their complaints-handling procedures to align them with the Consumer Code. You should still go to them first – and if they don’t have a complaints procedure yet you can contact ARCO at info@arcouk.org