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Housing Complaints Procedure

Last year, the Housing Ombudsman Service published a new Complaints Handling Code which sets out how we should respond to complaints. The new code has been designed to make sure we deal with complaints fairly, efficiently and effectively. We have therefore updated our complaints policy in line with this new guidance.

The Housing Ombudsman Service has also designed a Self-Assessment form [pdf] 426KB for completion by social landlords to help them follow the code and to highlight where any changes are needed to their complaint processes. We have completed this Self-Assessment and identified some areas for improvement.

The actions we need to take are set out in our Action Plan [pdf] 377KB. We will review our progress against the Action Plan and once the Self-Assessment has been updated, we will re-publish it onto our website.

Click on the stages below to see the steps involved at each stage.

+ Stage 0 - Investigation

Stage 0 Investigation process: Customer expresses dissatisfaction. Investigated by a housing manager and solution found. Customer is happy with outcome. Process ends.

We aim to deliver excellent services but recognise that sometimes things may go wrong and our customers may want to make a complaint. If this happens, when you first tell us that you are unhappy about something, we will look to put this right as quickly as possible without the need for you to go through our formal complaints process.

If, however, we are unable to sort out your issue within a reasonable amount of time or to your satisfaction, your complaint will then go into our formal two-stage complaints process.

+ Stage 1 - Resolution

Stage 1 Resolution process: Customer is not happy or complaint is more complex or customer requests formal process. Housing manager investigates and remains point of contact throughout - will respond to customer within 15 working days. Customer is happy with outcome. Process ends.

At Stage One, your complaint will be allocated to one of our housing managers who will be your point of contact throughout the process. They will contact you to discuss your complaint, understand what the issues are and what outcome you are looking for. We aim to provide a full response to your complaint within 15 working days. However, if we need more time to ensure all aspects of your complaint have been investigated, we will discuss this with you and, with agreement from you, may extend our response time by a further 10 working days.

+ Stage 2 - Escalation Review

Stage 2 Escalation Review: Customer is not happy with the response to Stage One and wishes to escalate the complaint. Reviewed and solution suggested by Head of Housing and responded to within 20 working days. Customer is happy with outcome. Process ends.

Although we aim to resolve all complaints at Stage One, if you are unhappy with our initial response or feel we have not dealt with your complaint to your satisfaction, your complaint can be escalated to Stage Two. Your complaint will then be reviewed by our Head of Housing and any issues you remain unhappy about will be investigated. We aim to provide a full response to your Stage Two complaint within 20 working days. Again, if we need more time, we will discuss this with you and may extend our response time by a further 10 working days.

Please note that if you raise a new issue at this stage, we may treat it as a new and separate complaint.

+ Housing Ombudsman External Process

If you are still not happy with how we’ve handled your complaint through all the formal stages of our complaints process, or are unhappy with the resolution or result, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service and ask them to look into your complaint on your behalf.

The Housing Ombudsman Service looks at complaints and resolves disputes between landlords and tenants. Their service is free, independent and impartial. You can contact them at any stage for help about your complaint, but they will usually only investigate it once you have completed the two-stage formal process as set out above.

The Housing Ombudsman can be contacted by:

Post: Housing Ombudsman Service, PO Box 152, Liverpool L33 7WQ

Telephone: 0300 111 3000

Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk

Website: www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk 

You can also contact your MP or a local councillor and ask them to contact us about your complaint or they can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service for you.

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