In July 2020, the Housing Ombudsman Service published the Complaints Handling Code. The code provides a framework for landlords to follow which supports effective handling and prevention of complaints, alongside organisational learning and development. More information about the code is available here.
As requested by the Housing Ombudsman, we have carried out a self-assessment against the code. We’re happy to say we comply with the code in the majority of areas, however there are some areas we need to improve on which we would like to share with our residents.
We need to increase residents’ awareness of our complaints process
Our aim is to provide an excellent customer service to our residents at all times, but sometimes despite our best efforts, occasionally things can go wrong. If they do we want to put it right, as soon as we can, to meet satisfactory levels of satisfaction. To make sure our residents’ concerns are heard, we need to publicise our complaints service more widely and regularly. We want our residents to know exactly what to expect if they need to make a complaint.
Anyone who has made a complaint is fully informed of the process, however, we are committed to sharing this process with all residents. Through 2021 and beyond we will regularly signpost our residents to access our complaints policy. We will take full advantage of all communication channels, including post, website, telephone, social media and face-to-face interactions.
We need to ensure we’re keeping residents ‘in the loop’ throughout their complaint
Residents have told us that there is nothing more frustrating than having to chase for an update on their complaint. To improve the quality and frequency of communications we have recently made some improvements to our service and we hope residents can start to feel the benefit of this straightaway. We have overhauled our complaints training to ensure all customer-facing colleagues deliver an excellent complaints service and we will start to monitor the satisfaction of our complaints handling via surveys and learn from feedback given.
We need to demonstrate learning from complaints and share with residents
In January 2021, we are introducing our ‘Learning Lab’. This group will meet on a monthly basis and will be responsible for exploring and learning from complaints (and other forms of resident feedback) and driving change to our services. Lessons learnt and improvements to service will be shared with residents and stakeholders via our website, social media and our annual report.
We need to evidence we’re co-operating with the Housing Ombudsman
The Housing Ombudsman asks that when they submit a request for evidence, we respond within 15 days. Although we typically respond within 15 days, we have no formal way of evidencing this. To demonstrate we are fully cooperating with the Housing Ombudsman, we will formally start measuring this in April 2021.
You can view the full self-assessment against the complaint handling code here.