Chartered Trading Standards Institute approves older people’s housing code

ARCO continues to drive high standards for the IRC sector

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has formally approved the consumer code of the national body for operators of Integrated Retirement Communities (IRCs).

CTSI has given the ARCO Consumer Code stage 1 approval through its scheme for approving consumer codes. The updated ARCO Consumer Code – which comes into effect today – regulates the advertising and marketing, sales and lettings, and resident relations and complaints handling of ARCO members.

ARCO is now working on stage 2 approval, which involves CTSI assessment of how the ARCO Consumer Code works in practice. Once approved at Stage 2, ARCO and its members will be able to use the CTSI kitemark.

The ARCO Consumer Code applies to ARCO member operators of IRCs in the UK.

The Consumer Code builds upon UK consumer law to set specific, high standards for the Integrated Retirement Community sector and to protect customers and residents. It is informed by regular assessments of ARCO Members and by external developments, such as the work of the Law Commission for England and Wales on event fees in retirement properties. The updated Code also provides a route for independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for consumer complaints under the Code, provided by The Property Ombudsman.

Adherence to the ARCO Consumer Code is overseen by ARCO’s Standards Committee, which is independently chaired. Karen MacArthur, ARCO’s independent Standards Committee Chair, said:

  • “This approval represents significant external validation and recognition that the ARCO Consumer Code embodies high standards for consumer protection. It underlines the organisation’s dedication to ensuring fairness and transparency in all interactions with consumers.”

Michael Voges, Chief Executive of ARCO, said:

  • “I am delighted that ARCO’s Consumer Code has completed the first stage of approval by the CTSI. A key part of ARCO’s launch mission was to drive high standards for the IRC sector. Stage 1 approval by the CTSI validates a decade of hard work by the ARCO team and our members, and we look forward to securing Stage 2 approval in time.”

Rebecca Marsh, The Property Ombudsman, said:

  • “We welcome the opportunity to provide dispute resolution to customers of ARCO members who join a growing number of accommodation providers and property businesses using our independent service to resolve issues. Retirement can be an uncertain time of life and we hope to support providers to offer residents the best possible experience.”