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About Us

What is the New Homes Ombudsman Service?

The New Homes Ombudsman Service exists to help customers resolve issues with their new homes, which the Registered Developer has been unable or unwilling to fix.

The remit of the New Homes Ombudsman Service covers the whole period from the Reservation and Legal Completion of a property through to after-sales and complaints management for issues during the first two years of a new home purchase.

The primary purpose of NHOS is to provide a free and independent service to customers,  which can impartially assess and adjudicate on issues that have arisen that fall within the Ombudsman’s scope. This includes complaints around the Reservation, Legal Completion and complaints management processes, or issues or defects that have arisen at or after occupation and which are not major defects.

Our Team

The service is headed by the New Homes Ombudsman and is delivered through two teams, supported by a customer service function. The casework team is responsible for making decisions on the eligibility of complaints and for facilitating the early resolution of cases through discussion with the parties. The team is led by a casework manager.

The Ombudsman team is managed by a Lead Ombudsman and is responsible for making decisions about cases where early resolution is not suitable, or has been unsuccessful. 

All members of the casework and Ombudsman teams are permanent employees and are recruited through an open and transparent process.

The New Homes Ombudsman is Alison MacDougall

Alison is a very experienced Ombudsman, having held senior positions with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator dealing with student complaints, the Police Complaints Authority, where she dealt with serious complaints involving deaths in custody and The Dispute Service where she has had overall responsibility for the dispute resolution service relating to tenancy deposits.

A law graduate she is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators [CIARB].

Alison MacDougall - NHOS
Sara Hesp

Sara Hesp is a Lead Ombudsman in NHOS. She has worked at the Valuation Office Agency, she sits on the First Tier Tribunal [Property] Scotland as a Lay member and has worked as a Lead Adjudicator at the Dispute Service.

Sara Hesp - NHOS
Paula Braceland

Paula is very experienced in dispute resolution and complaints management. She has worked within the private rented sector and with private house builders and retail outlet developers for the last fifteen years. An Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIARB) and an EMP Member of Propertymark (MARLA).

Paula Braceland - NHOS

The New Homes Ombudsman Service is a subsidiary of the Dispute Service Ltd, which is a not for profit company specialising in dispute resolution work in relation to tenancy deposits in the private rented sector and tenant-landlord mediation and conciliation for issues arising during a tenancy.

The NHO Service Board oversees the work of the Ombudsman and meets four times a year.  It has a majority of directors who are independent of the housebuilding industry.  It has no involvement in decisions taken by the Ombudsman, but does review the operation and management of the Service. 

The Board has a majority of independent directors and consists of:

*Alison MacDougall, the New Homes Ombudsman attends Board meetings, but is not a Director. 

NHO Service Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dispute Service Ltd.

Independent Complaints Reviewer

Janey Milligan

Janey Milligan is the NHOS Independent Complaints Reviewer with responsibility for reviewing complaints about the way in which the New Homes Ombudsman Service handles cases.  Her role is not to review decisions of the Ombudsman but instead to ensure that the NHOS policies and procedures have been complied with where there is a complaint that has exhausted the internal complaints procedure.

She is fully independent of the NHOS and reports directly to the Board of the NHOS.

Janey has worked in the construction industry for 40 years initially qualifying as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor in 1985. Janey is a qualified Arbitrator, Adjudicator & accredited Expert Witness and continues to lecture and tutor on various professional bodies courses and conferences on dispute resolution topics.

Janey Milligan - Independent Complaints Reviewer

The New Homes Ombudsman Service is free for customers to use.

Its costs are funded by the New Homes Quality Board via a levy charged to those Registered Developers who have registered with the New Homes Quality Board and have adopted the New Homes Quality Code.

New Homes Quality Board

The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) is an independent not-for-profit body which was established for the purpose of developing a new framework to oversee reforms in the build quality of new homes and the customer service provided by developers.

Based on the principles of independence, transparency and integrity, its objectives are to deliver a consistently high standard of new home quality and service, and to strengthen complaints handling and redress for purchasers of new-build homes where these high standards are not achieved.

The NHQB has commissioned the New Homes Ombudsman Service to provide an independent Ombudsman service for customer complaints.