Clients and applicants have the right to ask Housing Plus to review decisions they disagree with or think are unfair. The sorts of decisions that can be appealed are: rental rebate assessment decline of a transfer or re-housing application not eligible for housing not selected for housing allocated inappropriate property request for property improvements declined unsatisfactory complaint process.
A client or applicant can appeal a Housing Plus decision, if they believe that:
- Inadequate consideration was given to their individual circumstances, or
- The decision was made contrary to Housing Plus policy, or
- The decision involved a poor interpretation of policy, or
- The procedure used to reach the decision was not fair and correct.
The appeal process starts when a client believes that a decision made by Housing Plus is not correct and they have not been able to resolve the issue through discussion with the office which made the decision. The aim of the appeal process is to confirm whether Housing Plus has made the right decision.
There are two levels of appeal:
- Formal Internal Appeal Process internal review by Housing Plus, and
- Formal External Appeal Process independent review by the Housing Appeals Committee.
Formal Internal Appeal Process Internal review by Housing Plus
Housing Plus’ general approach to Internal Appeals is:
- A client requests a first tier appeal by completing an Appeal Form
- The review of the decision is conducted by the Chief Executive Officer who may delegate this responsibility to the Chief Operating Officer if this officer has not been involved in the complaint.
- The Chief Executive Officer will determine the decision of the appeal.
If it appears that the outcome of the Internal Appeal will not be in the client’s favour, Housing Plus will offer a phone or face to face interview before the review is completed. This gives the client an opportunity to explain the reasons they think the decision should be changed, to understand Housing Plus’ decision making process and to provide any relevant, further information.
When reviewing the original decision, the officer will consider matters such as:
- Was the original decision consistent with Housing Plus policy?
- Was the policy narrowly or harshly interpreted?
- Do the client’s circumstances indicate that the decision was inappropriate?
- Were the client’s circumstances and all relevant information fairly and properly considered?
- Was there any bias or prejudice involved on the part of the original decision maker?
- Did any irrelevant information affect the decision?
- Whether the original decision was made within the applicable legal framework.
- Whether any new, relevant information is available.
Housing Plus will inform the client of the appeal decision in writing. The outcome of the appeal will be any of the following:
- The original decision is reversed and a new decision is substituted in its place.
- The original decision is upheld.
- The original decision is changed in part.
- The appeal is withdrawn by the client.
- An alternative solution is found.
Formal External Review Independent review by the Housing Appeals Committee
If a client believes the decision made by Housing Plus in the Internal Appeal is incorrect, they can ask the Housing Appeals Committee to review the decision. Clients will be given information about the Housing Appeals Committee process.
The Housing Appeals Committee is an independent agency that can review decisions of community housing providers. The Committee is informal and there is no charge to clients for their service. Information on the Housing Appeals Committee can be found at www.hac.nsw.gov.au.
After its hearing, the Housing Appeals Committee will make a recommendation to Housing Plus that:
- The original decision be upheld, or
- The original decision be changed in full, or
- The original decision be changed in part.
The final decision remains with Housing Plus. However, Housing Plus gives careful consideration to all of the recommendations made by the Housing Appeals Committee.
Housing Plus will advise the client in writing of the outcome of their External Appeal.