On 1 January 2021 we launched our new complaints policy. There is a requirement for all social housing landlords to comply with a new ‘Complaints Handling Code’ published by the Housing Ombudsman in July 2020. We have taken this opportunity to review our policy against the code which included consulting with our Complaints Residents Panel.
Complaints will still be dealt with by local management who have the knowledge and experience to respond to you. In the first instance you should contact your Court or Scheme Manager. This will be known as an ‘informal complaint’ with responses given within 10 working days. If this does not resolve the complaint, or it is too complex to be dealt with informally, then our next stage will be ‘Stage 1 formal complaint’.
The relevant line manager will contact the complainant to discuss their complaint and formally respond within 10 working days. If the complaint falls under a different policy such as anti-social behaviour and nuisance, then the complainant will be informed.
If a complainant is not satisfied by the outcome of a Stage 1 formal complaint, they can ask to escalate to ‘Stage 2 formal complaint’. This will be undertaken by the Executive Director of Service and will be completed within 20 workings days.
In all cases where a formal complaint response cannot be undertaken within the timescales an extension will be agreed with the complainant – usually 10 working days.
You can access this information via your court or scheme manager.
Summary of complaints process
- Informal complaint - Contact your Court or Scheme Manager
- Response within 10 working days
- Stage 1 format complaint
- Formal response within 10 working days
- Stage 2 formal complaint
- Completed within 20 working days
Performance on formal complaints
Below is a summary of the formal complaints’ performance for April 2020 to September 2020. We responded to 50 formal complaints about the services we provide during this period.
Under our current policy we aim to acknowledge formal complaints within two working days and respond in full within 15 working days. During this period, we acknowledged complaints within an average of 1.48 working days and responded within 9.4 working days.
Complaints are important to us because if we get something wrong there may be changes, we need to make to improve our services.
Examples of how we improved services as a result include:
- Improving the quality of our formal complaint responses by introducing new guidance and letter templates
- Working to improve our systems relating to the Direct Debit process
- Reviewed the way heating oil usage costs were apportioned at a court
- Staff training and development at a scheme in relation to responding to emergency alarm calls
- Addressed issues with a contractor not making effective lift repairs
- Trialling different options at a new court to resolve water leaking via shower doors
- Residents Complaint Panel recommendation to strengthen the complaints policy around complainants being informed clearly where an issue is not the responsibility of Housing 21