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Our complaints procedure

How we deal with a complaint

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A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service you have received. If you would like to make a complaint you can do so:

Please tell a member of staff that you would like to make a complaint. Your complaint will be logged and you will be given a reference number and details of the service manager who will be working with you to try to put things right.  If we need more information we may contact you to ensure we have all the details to enable us to investigate your complaint fully.

If you would like someone to help you with the complaints process, please contact the Customer Services Team. Examples of the ways in which we could help you are:

  • We may appoint a designated person to help you through the process
  • We may give you help to overcome barriers due to language or disability
  • We accept complaints from advocates authorised to act on a customer’s behalf. If you would like to make a complaint online, click here for the complaint form.

You can refer your complaint to The Housing Ombudsman at any time, The Ombudsman contact information is provided below.

We have worked with our customers to look at our complaints procedure to ensure the good practise recommendations from the Housing Ombudsman are embedded in the way we manage your complaint. 

 

What is a complaint?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about our actions or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.

 A complaint can be made about:

  • failure or refusal to provide a service 
  • inadequate quality or standard of service, or an unreasonable delay in providing a service 
  • delays in responding to enquiries or requests 
  • unfairness, bias or prejudice in service delivery 
  • lack of provision, or the provision of misleading, unsuitable or incorrect advice or information 
  • a repair that has not been carried out properly or in an agreed timeframe 
  • dissatisfaction with one of our policies or its impact on the individual 
  • failure to properly apply law, procedure or guidance when delivering services 
  • failure to follow the appropriate administrative process 
  • conduct, treatment by or attitude of a member of staff or contractor (except where there are arrangements in place for the contractor to handle the complaint themselves: see Complaints about contracted services); or
  • disagreement with a decision, (except where there is a statutory procedure for challenging that decision, or an established appeals process followed throughout the sector).  

The complaint procedure is not for:

  • a routine first-time request for a service 
  • a request for compensation only
  • issues that are in court or have already been heard by a court or a tribunal
  • disagreement with a decision where there is a statutory procedure for challenging that decision (such as for freedom of information and subject access requests), or an established appeals process followed throughout the sector
  • a request for information under the Data Protection Act or Freedom of Information
  • a grievance by a staff member or a grievance relating to employment or staff recruitment
  • a concern raised internally by a member of staff (which was not about a service they received, such as a whistleblowing concern)
  • a concern about a child or an adult’s safety
  • an attempt to reopen a previously concluded complaint or to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given our final decision 
  • abuse or unsubstantiated allegations about our organisation or staff where such actions would be covered by our Behaviour and Caution Policy; or 
  • a concern about the actions or service of a different organisation, where we have no involvement in the issue (except where the other organisation is delivering services on our behalf)

This list is not exhaustive.

You must raise your complaint within six months of when you first knew of the problem unless there are special circumstance for considering your complaint beyond this time.

We value all complaints, including anonymous complaints, and will take action to consider them further wherever this is appropriate. If we are unable to accept your complaint, we will let you know the reasons why and direct you to the appropriate procedures

 

Our Complaints Procedure

Our complaints.png

Put it right

When you let us know that you have had a problem with our service, our priority is to ‘Put It Right’ for you. If the person taking the complaint can ‘Put It Right’ for you within 24 hours, we will consider your complaint as resolve

 

Stage 1- Frontline resolution

If we are unable to resolve the complaint within 24 hours, we will open a Stage 1 complaint in the first instance.

We have the following service standards in place at this stage:

  • We will acknowledge your complaint within five working days
  • We will discuss your complaint with you to ensure we understand the details. We will accept any evidence you may have at this point, and also clarify with you the outcome you are seeking to your complaint
  • We will send you an acknowledgment letter with a unique reference number
  • We will investigate your complaint and, if necessary, contact you with updates or further questions
  • We will telephone within 10 working days to explain the outcome (though sometimes we will need to put the decision in writing). In some cases, the investigation may take longer than 10 working days. This may happen in more complex cases, or if we are awaiting further information. In such cases, we will contact you detailing the reasons why and let you know when you can expect a full response.
  • We will tell you how you can escalate your complaint to Stage 2
 

Stage 2 - Investigation

If you are not satisfied with our Stage 1 response, you can ask us to review the outcome.

  • We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days
  • A manager who has not previously been involved with the complaint will review the complaint and will discuss your complaint with you to ensure we understand the details and the outcome you are seeking.
  • We will respond to you within 20 working days to let you know the final outcome to your complain.
  • In some cases, the review may take longer than 20 working days. This may happen in more complex cases, or if we are awaiting further information. In such cases, we will contact you detailing the reasons why and let you know when you can expect a full response.
  • We will tell you how you can progress your complaint for an independent external review.
 

Designated person/Housing Ombudsman

Once the complaints process has been exhausted (closed at stage 2), if you are not happy with the outcome, the following options are available to you:

Designated person

You may contact a designated person. This can be a Member of Parliament, a local councillor, or our Independent Complaints Panel, which we have registered with the Housing Ombudsman as a designated person.

The designated person does not have powers to enforce changes, but can mediate and suggest resolutions. The designated person may try to resolve the complaint, or pass it straight to the Housing Ombudsman.

Housing Ombudsman

If you remain unhappy with the outcome following the involvement of a designated person, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman.

Alternatively, if you wish to contact the Housing Ombudsman without approaching a designated person, you will need to wait eight weeks after you have exhausted our internal complaint process (closed at Stage 2) to do so. The Housing Ombudsman will also only consider the matter if you have contacted them within 12 months of your original complaint.

The Housing Ombudsman can be contacted using the following methods:

Website: https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/ 

Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk 

Telephone: 0300 111 3000

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

Freehold homeowners and leaseholders

If you are a freehold homeowner, or in some cases a leaseholder, you may not be able to access the Housing Ombudsman. Please click here for our Freehold Homeowner and Leaseholder Complaints page for more information such as details of separate appeals processes.

Compensation

There may be occasions where, if we feel there has been a failure in our service, we may consider awarding compensation. We will follow our Compensation Procedure in such situations.

Dependent upon the level of compensation awarded, you may be asked to sign a disclaimer agreeing to the amount as full and final settlement of the matter.

Unreasonable complainant behaviour

Any unreasonable complainant behaviour will be addressed in line with our Unreasonable Actions / Behaviour Policy.

Monitoring and learning

We are committed to learning from the feedback we receive from customers. If learning is identified from a complaint at any level, this is recorded internally. We work with those teams and contractors concerned to identify how we will implement the changes needed to learn from the complaint, and we will monitor this to ensure the service has improved.

We analyse all complaints received and produce an internal complaints and compliments report every month for all Places Homes management and main contractors. We also produce and publish annual customer reports which contain the key facts regarding complaints received and completed.

Download our complaints handling procedure

You can download a copy of our complaints handling procedure.

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