Greenbelt launches ombudsman service

Greenbelt is proud to announce the introduction of an independent dispute resolution service (DRS), the first of its kind in the land management sector. It is a move that will help promote the highest levels of customer service in the industry.

Chief Executive of Greenbelt Alex Middleton commented: “Greenbelt aims to help home owners resolve any issue with their local land management at source and in the swiftest manner possible. On occasion, however, we recognise that some customers prefer impartial advice.

“That’s why, following talks with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), it has been agreed an independent ombudsman will be available to all of our Greenspace customers in Scotland, England and Wales, should they remain remain dissatisfied with the Managing Director’s response to their initial query.

“The introduction of this new ombudsman service is just the latest move from Greenbelt to show its long-standing commitment to delivering the highest levels of customer service. We have also revised our Customer Care Charter, making it easier than ever for our Greenspace customers to contact us with any comments or queries.”

The pioneering new service will allow Greenspace customers to have any issue regarding the maintenance of land in their housing development reviewed by a fully independent ombudsman – a chartered surveyor unaffiliated with Greenbelt – who will provide a free and fair dispute resolution service for customers. They will be appointed annually (or sooner, if a replacement is required) by the RICS.

The user-friendly procedure is designed to be as effective and mutually beneficial for all of the involved parties.

All enquiries relating to Greenbelt's Greenspace service are first lodged with the company, where the vast majority are resolved to the full satisfaction of customers. Where a resolution has not been reached, customers will now have the opportunity to present their case to the independent ombudsman. Even in the event that customers are dissatisfied with the ombudsman’s findings, the RICS will also be available, via its Regulation Department, to provide customers with information and guidance on procedures.

Additionally, the ombudsman service will also be subject to rigorous annual performance reviews, to be carried out by the RICS.

Although this new service is more likely to be utilised in England and Wales – Scotland already has a similar service via the independently operated Homeowner Housing Panel (HOHP) – it has been widely welcomed by the industry throughout the country.

Greenbelt believes this innovative system offers potential benefits for customers across the UK. Additional ombudsman services may also be appointed to cover regional areas, if there is a demand for this.

Mr Middleton added: “Greenbelt remains fully committed to providing a consistently exemplary level of care, and ensuring all of our Greenspace customers are as satisfied as possible with the quality and level of our services.

“With the new ombudsman service now available, this has been taken to a whole new level.”

How it works

The scheme will be rolled out to customers for the nominal sum of £75, which will be fully reimbursed if the complaint is upheld by the ombudsman. The only additional costs a complainant may incur are minimal, in the form of the photocopying, postage or paperwork charges related to filling in a simple form and providing documents as evidence.

Greenbelt, meanwhile, guarantees that all of the substantive costs of the scheme – including the appointment and review fees payable to RICS for appointing the ombudsman, and the case-by-case fee to be paid to the ombudsman – will always be met by Greenbelt.

A detailed guide to the ombudsman dispute resolution service and the company’s comprehensive Customer Care Charter is available to download on this website or can be provided on request by simply calling 0800 028 1749.