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).
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.
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 also found that people were unhappy with how we dealt with their complaints. So we have:
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 or a more effective resolution can be found immediately. 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.
When something has gone wrong, we want you to tell us about it so that we can make it right.
We have two stages for formal complaints.
Upon receiving a complaint, the Customer Voice Officer will contact you to acknowledge and discuss the issue with you, within five working days. They will then thoroughly investigate the complaint with support from the service area Manager. They will aim to provide a response to the you within 10 working days. If they need longer to carry out a proper investigation, they will contact you and explain why.
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 five working days. They will aim to provide a response to you within 20 working days. If they need longer to carry out a proper investigation, they will contact you and explain why.
If you are still unhappy with the complaint response you can refer your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service.
There are several ways to make a complaint to The Housing Ombudsman Service
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.
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.