Our complaints process explained
Complaints can often be considered a negative thing but for us they are a way to learn and change. We have a clear process in place for any resident who wishes to raise a complaint and a timeframe in which we should communicate and respond to the complaint.
In line with the Housing Ombudsman’s complaint handling code, we follow a two-stage process for all the complaints we receive.
Stage One explained
The complaint is allocated to a dedicated handler who will be the key point of contact throughout this stage, so the complainant knows who will be listening to and investigating their concern.
The process begins with the dedicated handler contacting the resident once the complaint is recorded, followed by them investigating the complaint and proposing a resolution. This is confirmed in an outcome letter, all within a 10-day timeframe, although extensions can be agreed with the complainant for more complex cases.
Stage Two explained
Of course, not everyone will be happy with the proposed outcome, so the complainant is given the opportunity to move on to Stage Two of the process.
This involves allocating the complaint to a different handler, with an impartial view and a fresh pair of eyes to review the handling of the complaint at Stage One and consider any additional points raised. This provides a further opportunity for us to try and resolve the complaint and help provide complainants with assurance that all issues have been addressed and their complaint has been handled correctly.
Taking the complaint to the Housing Ombudsman
If after this, we have been unable to agree a resolution and the complainant is still unhappy, they can ask the Housing Ombudsman to investigate further.
The Housing Ombudsman’s role is to investigate complaints as an independent party and determine whether a landlord has handled a complaint correctly or not. If the Ombudsman finds that a landlord has done something wrong, they can make orders to put the matter right, award compensation and make recommendations about how to improve services.
The Ombudsman also publishes all their decisions on their website for residents and landlords to read and learn from. The Ombudsman is available to provide advice at any point during the complaints process but will not usually carry out a full investigation until the landlord’s complaint process has been completed.
Learning from our complaints
Town & Country Housing always tries to learn from the complaints we receive.
This can include things like changing or creating processes and procedures, arranging new or refresher training for staff or providing feedback or coaching to individuals. We always try to share any changes made with our residents to build confidence that we are listening to the feedback we receive.
Even if we don’t find any errors in the way the case has been handled, we still seek to understand why the resident felt they needed to complain, and whether we could improve our processes to help other residents.
Most recently, as a result of Ombudsman’s determinations, we have reviewed the way that we deal with items left in a home when a resident temporarily moves out to allow for repairs to take place.