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Compliments, comments and complaints

We welcome comments, compliments and complaints as they help us to improve 

We want to provide great homes and services for customers. Services that are easy to use, responsive and reliable. But we recognise that there may be times when things go wrong and we fall short of this. If this happens we want to make it right and learn from it so that it doesn’t happen again. To help us do this we invite you to raise your concerns with us.

We will deal with all complaints effectively and sensitively, within set response times and to your satisfaction wherever possible. And we are committed to equality and will treat everyone with honesty, dignity, respect and trust, and will consider the different needs of people wishing to make a complaint.

Last year we received 444 complaints, giving us lots of opportunities to improve. Most of the complaints (234) we received were about our repairs service, followed by gas repairs (65). 

 

What we learnt

The main reasons customers were unhappy were that their repairs took a long time to complete and we didn't let them know what was going on. We are really sorry about this and want to make this better. 

 

What we're doing to improve 

Our Resident Scrutiny Group reviewed our repairs service and we have completely overhauled our service, from when you report a repair, to when it's completed. The main changes we have made are:

  • We have introduced area based teams to provide a more responsive repairs service. They are providing a quicker service to customers in their areas and helping us to get a better understanding of our customers and their homes.
  • We now have a dedicated surveyor for every area. For some jobs the surveyor will visit to weigh the job up, so we send the right trades person with the right materials to complete it. This is increasing the number of repairs we fix on our first visit.  
  • We set up a dedicated Customer Service and Support Team to deal with your requests for repairs - they are helping us to deal with your queries quicker and keeping you better informed throughout the process.  
  • We introduced a customer service training programme – everyone will be trained by December 2019

We also found that people were unhappy with how we dealt with their complaints. So we have:

  • Reviewed our complaints policy and relaunched it in April 2019.
  • All colleagues who respond to complaints have been re-trained in the new policy and have completed on our new customer service training programme. 
  • All complaints that reach the third stage in our process are now reviewed by our Director of Customer Service and a customer from our complaints group.

What is a complaint?

A formal complaint is where someone tells us they are unhappy with our services and asks that their concerns are dealt with as a formal complaint and wants us to take further action.

A customer concern is where someone tells us that they are unhappy with the service they have received, but they don’t want to progress the issue as a formal complaint and don’t expect further action to be taken. When someone raises a concern we still record this so that we can put things right and learn from it.

Discretionary compensation is where we make a financial payment as an outcome of a formal complaint. It is only considered as a course of action following a formal complaint investigation. 

 

Making things right

When something has gone wrong, we want you to tell us about it so that we can make it right.

We…

  • Deal with all complaints courteously, systematically and fairly.
  • Apologise if we have done something wrong or not met our service standards.
  • Offer a variety of ways for you to raise a concern or make a complaint including through our website, by e-mail, via social media, by telephone, by post and in person.
  • Record all formal complaints and will provide you with a complaint reference number.
  • Will offer to meet you at each stage of the complaints process and keep in touch with you in a way that suits you.
  • Tell you what stage the complaint is at in all our communications with you, detail the findings of the investigation and outline our response.
  • Accept complaints made by advocates authorised to act on your behalf.
  • Let you know how to contact the Housing Ombudsman Service if you would like your complaint to be independently considered where our complaints process has been exhausted and you remain unhappy.
  • Comply with your right to make a complaint to your MP or Local Councillor (Designated Person) if you feel we have not resolved your problem, and will provide a response to the Designated Person within 10 working days of receipt.

 

What we do when things go wrong.

We have three stages for formal complaints.

Stage 1
The manager for the service concerned will contact you within two working days to discuss the issue with you. They will aim to provide a response to the you within ten working days.

Stage 2
If you are unhappy with this response or the issue is complex and needs further investigation, the complaint will be given to a ‘Head of Service’ (the most senior manager for the service area). They will contact you within two working days. They will aim to provide a response to you within 10 working days. If they need longer to carry out a proper investigation, they will contact you and explain why.

Stage 3
If you are still unhappy, the complaint will be reviewed by our customer services director and a customer on our complaints group. They will contact you within five working days and will provide a response to you within 10 working days. If they need longer to investigate the complaint fully, they will contact you and explain why.

If you are still unhappy you can complain to the Housing Ombudsman Service and details of how to do this will be provided to you. If the Housing Ombudsman make any recommendations we will comply with these as quickly and effectively as possible.

There are several ways to make a complaint to The Housing Ombudsman Service 

  • By calling on 0300 111 3000
  • In writing to Housing Ombudsman Service, PO BOX 152, Liverpool, L33 7WQ
  • Or online

There can be times when we cannot deal with an complaint within the timescales above. This may be because it is a very complex complaint, or a person involved is unavailable to speak to. This is rare, but if this does happen we will let you know the expected timescales for getting it resolved for you. 

We treat everyone fairly – that includes our customers and our colleagues. If you make a complaint about one of our employees, then that person will not investigate the complaint and another colleague who has not been involved will deal with it. Following the investigation, the colleague will be told that a complaint has been made about them and will have the opportunity to respond. They will also be kept informed of the progress and the outcome of the complaint.


Keeping you informed.

We publish information about complaints each year in our annual report. We also publish information about our performance and share any changes we have made as a result of any complaints on our website.

  




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