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About Us

Governance

The Dispute Service Ltd is a company limited by guarantee. The company was originally set up in 2003 to provide a voluntary deposit disputes services for letting agents. Since then the company has secured Government backed tenancy deposit protection services across the UK, undertakes conciliation and mediation activities in the private rented sector, operates an insurance claims adjudication service, develops dispute resolution software solutions and is soon to launch an Ombudsman redress service for purchasers of new homes.

The Group consist of a number of subsidiary organisations and has a turnover [2021] of £10.5m, employs 140 staff and has offices in Hemel Hempstead, Glasgow and Belfast.

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Independence

The Group Board is committed to independence and fairness in all of its activities.  The Board has an independent chair and a majority of independent non executive directors. In relation to its tenancy deposit activities, it has a minority of three non executive directors with links to letting agents or landlords.

In relation to its work with New Homes none of the directors has links with Registered developers who will come under the jurisdiction of the New Homes Ombudsman Service.

The Board has a Code of Conduct and a Register of Interests.

The Dispute Service Board Members

The Board consists of: 

Independents

Martin Partington QC CBE

Martin is a retired academic lawyer, a former Law Commissioner and Emeritus Professor of Law at Bristol University.

Mark Allan

Mark is the General Manager at BUPA.

Anda Gregory

Anda is the Group Chief Development Officer at Glass and Glazing Federation.

Jacqs Harper

Jacqs is the Digital Director at Nuffield Health.

Quincy Hunte

Quincy is the Principal Advisory Lead for UK and Ireland at Amazon Web Services.

Paula Quigley

Paula is the Chief Executive of Mainstay in Northern Ireland.

Member Nominees

Luay Al-Khatib [RICS]

Luay is the Global Director for Standards and Professional Development at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Nathan Emerson [Propertymark]

Nathan is Chief Executive Officer at Propertymark.

Jodi Berg [NRLA]

Jodi is Chair of the National Residential Landlords Association, an experienced Complaints Reviewer and former Chair of the Administrative Justice Council.

Executives

Steve Harriott

Steve is CEO of The Dispute Service.  He has a background in property management and is a former Chair at the Waterways Ombudsman. 

Nick Hankey

Nick is Deputy CEO [Resources] and MD Scotland.  An accountant by profession, he has been at The Dispute Service since 2011.

The New Homes Ombudsman Service Board Members

The Board consists of: 

Independents

(all Board members are independent of those subject to investigation by NHOS)

Jodi Berg [NRLA]

Jodi is Chair of the National Residential Landlords Association, an experienced Complaints Reviewer and former Chair of the Administrative Justice Council.

Anda Gregory

Anda is the Group Chief Development Officer at Glass and Glazing Federation.

Martin Partington QC CBE

Martin is a retired academic lawyer, a former Law Commissioner and Emeritus Professor of Law at Bristol University.

Mike Biles

Former Housing Ombudsman

Sarah Daniel

Waterways Ombudsman

Malcolm MacLeod

Former Scotland Director NHBC

Alison MacDougall

New Homes Ombudsman

Governance Structure

The Dispute Service Ltd

ADR Policy Committee

Remuneration Committee

New Homes Ombudsman

[Pending]

TDS Charitable Foundation

SafeDeposits Charitable Trust

SafeDeposits Scotland Ltd

TDS Northern Ireland Ltd

MoneyShield Ltd

Senior Staff

Group Chief Executive

Steve Harriott has been the CEO at The Dispute Service since 2010.  He has a background in social housing and was Chair and Vice Chair at the Waterways Ombudsman.

New Homes Ombudsman

[designate]

Alison MacDougall is the New Homes Ombudsman [designate].  She heads up The Dispute Service’s Resolution service and has previously worked for a number of high profile Ombudsman schemes.

Deputy CEO [Resources]

Nick Hankey is the Deputy Chief Executive and is responsible for finance and compliance. He is also the Group MD Scotland and has the lead responsibility for SafeDeposits Scotland and the SafeDeposits Charitable Trust.

Chief Operating Officer [TBA]

Responsible for co-ordinating the work of our key operational teams [Customer Operations, Resolution Operations, Adjudication, Sales and Client Success, Marketing and TDS Northern Ireland]

Technology Director

Alex Hillier is the Group Technology Director and is responsible for the tenancy deposit and dispute resolution platforms, data and security.

Human Resources Director

Josanne Leon is the HR Director and is also the lead officer for the TDS Charitable Foundation.

Complaining About The Dispute Service

Service Complaints

We would like to hear from you if you have complaints about our service to you – for example, if you feel that:

  • you have faced unreasonable delay, unprofessional conduct or rudeness from our staff 

  • we have failed to keep you properly informed

  • we have not followed our published procedures. 
     

We will respond to complaints about our service within 5 working days of receiving them. 

You cannot complain about an Adjudication or Ombudsman decision.

In the First Instance...

Please contact Customer Operations on 0300 037 1000 who will help or escalate your concern to a member of staff, who will make direct contact with you. We can resolve most issues at this stage.

If You Are Still Unhappy?

Please send your complaint to us within 28 calendar days of the problem arising. Please do this by email (complaints@tenancydepositscheme.com) or letter to the following address:

 

The Dispute Service Ltd, West Wing, First Floor, Maylands Building, 200 Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7TG

 

Putting your complaint in writing will help us understand it better and respond fully. You can ask someone to help you put your complaint in writing if you wish. If you cannot put your complaint in writing, please let us know why.

 

When contacting us, please:

  • Give us your name and contact details;

  • Quote any case reference number

  • Let us know what aspect of the service you are complaining about;

  • Say how you would like us to put matters right.

 

We will acknowledge your complaint within 1 working day and will respond to your concerns within 5 working days of receiving it. If we cannot respond to all the issues you have raised within 5 working days, we will write to let you know why and when you can expect a reply.

Complaint FAQs

What will happen if you agree with my complaint?

If we decide our service fell short of our normal standards, we will take action to put matters right.

What if you remain unhappy about TDS' response to your complaint?

If you are still unhappy you can escalate your complaint to the external Independent Complaints Reviewer. This person is not employed by The Dispute Service but is someone who is appointed to take an independent view of complaints and reports annually to the Board of The Dispute Service.

What can the Independent Complaints Reviewer Do?

The external Independent Complaints Reviewer can review the handling of investigated complaints to ensure that the process has been fair and transparent, and that the issues raised in the complaints process have been properly considered. Where the Reviewer considers that a mistake has been made in the handling of a complaint, they can recommend corrective action or the payment of compensation by The Dispute Service.

 

The Reviewer acts completely independently of any influence from The Dispute Service.  Once they have made their decision, there is no further appeal available.

The Independent Complaints Reviewer will NOT:

  • Look at a complaint which has not been handled through The Dispute Service’s published complaints process;

  • Review an Adjudication/Ombudsman decision;

  • Deal with complaints which do not relate to the service provided by The Dispute Service in its dispute resolution and other customer service functions.

Can I complain against adjudication decisions?

We aim to deliver an excellent service to all of our customers. If you have a query about a tenancy deposit adjudication or ombudsman decision we have arrangements in place to deal with these. We are always happy to explain our decisions to customers but the decision of the adjudicator/ombudsman is final and you cannot complain simply because you do not agree with the decision that has been reached.

How do you ask the Independent Complaints Reviewer to get involved?

  • You must tell The Dispute Service in writing that you are unhappy with the way in which your complaint has been handled;

  • You must do this within 14 calendar days of The Dispute Service confirming that it has completed its own internal procedures in relation to your complaint;

  • You and any joint party will be asked to consent to your personal details, complaint details, and case file details being shared with the Independent Complaints Reviewer;

  • If The Dispute Service does not receive consent from you and any joint party to share your personal details, complaint details and the case file with the Independent Complaints Reviewer within 14 calendar days, the request for referral to the Independent Complaints Reviewer will be closed.

What happens next?

Upon receipt of the consent of all complainants the Reviewer will consider the information that you have provided. They will also have access to The Dispute Service’s records that are relevant to your complaint.
 

  • The Reviewer may themselves reject a referral within 5 calendar days of receiving it, if they do not consider it falls within the criteria they are able to consider (see above). This will be confirmed to you in writing.

  • Where the Reviewer accepts a referral they will aim, within 14 calendar days of receiving it, to issue a written response to you and to The Dispute Service, setting out their findings as to whether The Dispute Service failed to follow the correct process in investigating and responding to your original complaint. 
     

  • The Reviewer will contact the complainant directly should it not be possible for the Reviewer to issue such a response within 14 calendar days and provide details as to when a written response will be issued.

  • Where the Reviewer considers that a mistake has been made, they may make recommendations to put the matter right. This can include requiring The Dispute Service to:

    • Make an apology; and/or take some other corrective action; and/or

    • Pay appropriate compensation for damage, distress or inconvenience to the person or organisation making the complaint.
       

The purpose of the Reviewer’s recommendations is to remedy the mistake identified and try to put you in the position you would have been in had things not gone wrong. Recommendations may also be made that relate to The Dispute Service’s operating procedures in order to avoid other similar errors in the future. Except where it contains a material error, the Reviewer’s written decision and any recommendations within it will be final. There is no appeal against the Reviewer’s written decision. As a result, the Reviewer and TDS will not engage in further correspondence with complainants after their decision has been sent, unless there is a material error.