“From the evidence available through our repair management system and the interviews with staff I cannot provide an explanation for the wires being out of the junction box as photographed by you on 2 December.” – Shelley Hutton
Complaint Number 20.03-03-10699
I am writing in response to your complaint received on 9 December 2019 which Alec Macindoe, Works Manager, attempted to resolve for you. You were not happy with his response and you told us via Twitter on 9 March 2020 and we escalated your complaint to Stage 2. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention and for your patience and agreeing to an extension to my investigation. I was due to get back to you on 6 April 2020 to meet the 20 day target.
Your complaint was that Alec Macindoe had not addressed the core part of your complaint. This was about the safety of the electrics in your flat and that we failed to take responsibility for leaving it in what you believed was a dangerous state. You were also not happy that Alec Macindoe did not advise you that you could escalate your complaint if you were not satisfied with his response.
I have completed my investigation into this matter and I can confirm that I have not upheld your complaint.
I have detailed my investigation findings below.
Safety of the electrics and failure to accept responsibility for the dangerous state of the electrics – NOT UPHELD
You shared photos of the electrics which you labelled image 1 and image 2 and you also sent me a photo of the electrics after the work was complete in December 2019.
Following our conversation on 8 April you have helpfully supplied me with photos with dates.
Photos from Oct – Dec 18 (2018) period show wires contained in junction box.(Image 1)
Photos from 13 November c7am show wires contained in junction box.
Photos from 2 December c7am show wires out with junction box. (Image 2)
According to our records we were in the property for electrical work on 18 July, 12 September and then not again till 18 December. I have checked to see if there was any other contractor in your home for other work and I have found no records.
From the evidence available through our repair management system and the interviews with staff I cannot provide an explanation for the wires being out of the junction box as photographed by you on 2 December.
Your emails and tweets of 8 April expressed that we must have come to the conclusion that you have interfered with the wiring. This is not the case. I know how worried you were about the safety of the wiring and would not assume that you would touch it.
As part of my investigation I presented the images to the electrician. It seems that when presented with the two images our electrician had assumed the photos were a before (wires out of the box) and after (contained in the box) record. He responded based on how he remembered the junction box from 18 July and 12 September and assumed the wires had been out of the box before that visit. The electrician has clearly made a mistake in what he said and I apologise for this misunderstanding (Note: Castle Rock Edinvar Manger Shelley Hutton clearly allowed the electrician to change his story when confronted with photographic evidence of blatant lies!).
The Electrical Trade Supervisor has told me that this type of wiring is common in tenements like yours and was safe, despite its age and the sleeving being out of the joint box. (Note: No comment on breach of building regulations).
The electrician’s notes from 18/7/19 were as follows: “repaired faulty circuit for kitchen fitting (moved switch to lounge door and picked up neutral from box room pendant) also found joint box in high up water tank cupboard in poor condition. Advised that this would be sorted at same time as fuse board upgrade (Note: Blatant Lie)”.
You told us that the electrician said to you that the electrics were in a dodgy state. He states he was not referring to the safety of the wiring but referring to the age of the electrics (Note: Another Blatant Lie). I apologise for raising your anxiety as a result of his choice of language which would have given you cause for concern about fire safety.
Whilst I have tried to explain the events leading up to your complaint I think it’s important to note that at no point did we leave the electrics in your flat in an unsafe state. We did identify the need for improvements and an EICR – Landlord Electrical Safety Test. These were completed in December 2019 and your property is now compliant with current regulations. You have since told us that you were satisfied with the work done.
There was a significant time between the electrical work being identified in July 2019 and it being carried out in December 2019. I know that you shared your fear of a fire risk with Caroline Keir when she was investigating a complaint for you at that time.
Caroline’s investigation response to you in August 2019 addressed the delays in getting the repair work complete up to that point. It covered the reasons for that, identified communication failures on our part and she upheld your complaint.
With this in mind I know that you were not happy that Alec Macindoe mentioned difficulties with access in his response to you. I have looked into this in more detail and the notes we have relating to our attempts to complete the electrical test and these are listed over the page:
5/9/19 Job raised
12/9/19 Job booked Completed the Fire Alarm (LD2). Follow on work needed for electrician.
18/9/19 Follow on job raised
You tweeted us and we logged complaint 10503 the following day. Your complaint was about how on 12 September appointments were scheduled to paint the bathroom ceiling; fit a new shower door; and undertake an electrical wiring check. And of these three you said only the electrician turned up and he was unable to undertake the work due to the condition of the fuse box which needed to be upgraded.
Alec Macindoe closed this complaint on 29/10/19 after numerous attempts to contact you by email, Twitter and letter. (Note: By this time I was seriously unwell and had been driven from my home by the constant activation of the new fire alarm).
16/10/19 -No access/postcard left/customers mobile not connecting
17/10/19 letter sent by our team – 25/10/19
No access/postcard left/customers mobile not connecting
28/10/10 letter sent by our team
6/11/19 No access/postcard left/no answer via phone/door
11/11/19 letter sent and Housing Officer contacted
2/12/19 No access – property carded. Tenant refusing access until job inspected by clerk of works
Letter sent 18/12/19 Job complete Work attended
In relation to the notes about the mobile number not working you have told us that your landline is your contact number and records show that we had already amended this on our tenancy records on our “Northgate” system.
However, it remained on “Impact” which is our repairs scheduling system and I am sorry this was not corrected. The systems are not linked and it was an oversight not to correct all records after you told us. This explains the reason why we continued to use your mobile. We have changed your preferred contact number.
You have told me you were not at home following the installation of the new smoke detection system on 12 September. You said the alarm caused you serious stress. You believe we installed the new linked system to cause distress and harassment. This is not the case and the action we took was to protect you and your property.
You knew from the visit on 12 September 2019 that follow on work was needed and it would have been helpful to know you were not at home or to contact you via email (Note: Sorry the serious illness Castle Rock caused resulted in your workers feeling inconvenienced). Our attempts to contact you at home, leaving postcards and with letters were of no benefit to either of us as we each wished a resolution. (Note: By this time I was seriously unwell due to the stress of the situation which had driven me from my home). Communication has been a key learning from this experience and I think we can both learn from improving the key messages to avoid unnecessary effort on both sides.
No notice of right to escalation to Stage 2 – NOT UPHELD
I am aware that Alec Macindoe contacted you about your Stage 1 complaint on 4 February asking if you were satisfied with the work. He did not hear back from you and he closed the complaint as a result (Later found email in Spam folder).
On 26 February he emailed again and gave you information on the EICR Regulations for social landlords. He also said, “As far as the “extremely dangerous wiring” you have referred to I would say that we did attend as an emergency service which was to make the issue safe (Note: Untrue). We then raised further works to make the full repair. We found that it was challenging to agree access to your property to carry this work out. I am sorry that you feel that we have dealt with your situation poorly or left you in danger at any time.”
You are correct that he did not explain what to do if you were dissatisfied with his response. If you had replied to this email stating that you were dissatisfied he would have explained the next steps for you.
My investigation has concluded that on finding out about the condition of the wiring we did put in place works orders to get it fixed. There were communication issues on both sides that meant this work was not fully complete until December 2019. I know that words used caused you to feel unsafe in your own home and I am truly sorry for this.
Our operatives who attended your home are all qualified approved electricians. As a business we are NICEIC registered and this means that we meet stringent controls and our activities meet the latest safety standards. Our staff are checked and validated for competence in their field. Any failure to maintain these standards could lead to a withdrawal of the accreditation for our business. For the staff they could lose their livelihood. It is not a risk we would ever take and I hope you feel assured that our team know that universal safety standards are adhered at all times, leaving you with assurance that we would never knowingly leave you exposed to risk.
Please be assured that we did not leave the electrics in an unsafe condition. I have not found that we failed in our service to you. We did not advise you how to escalate your complaint but we did not know that you remained unhappy about the response from Alec Macindoe. As soon as you told us via Twitter on 9 March we advised you that we would investigate as a Stage 2 and it was escalated on 10 March.
This is the final stage of our complaints procedure. Our Director of Property is satisfied with my investigation and has approved my response to your complaint. If you are not satisfied with our decision or the way I have dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it. You can contact the SPSO on Freephone 0800 377 7330 their full information is also in the leaflet we sent you. Please note that the SPSO cannot normally look at complaints: where you have not exhausted our complaints procedure; more than 12 months after you became aware of the matters you have complained about; and complaints that have been or are being considered in court.
Thank you for your time and your patience.
Customer Service and Research Manager