Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code: Self-assessment form

Compliance with the Complaint Handling Code

1. Definition of a complaint

An expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by the organisation, its own staff, or those acting on its behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents.

Self-assessment questionAnswerComments
Does the complaints process use the above definition of a complaint? YesSee Complaints Procedure, the definition is very similar as defined by the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman when the Policy was first drafted in 2012.
Does the policy have exclusions where a complaint will not be considered?YesN/A
Are these exclusions reasonable and fair to residents?YesParagraph 2.1.6 – 2.1.10 of the Complaints Procedure. This includes
• complaints revolving around Council policy,
• a complaint that has already been dealt with at all stages of the procedure,
• a complaint made more than 1 year after the grounds to make representation arose
• it may prejudice legal proceedings
• anonymous complaints

2. Accessibility

Self-assessment questionAnswer
Are multiple accessibility routes available for residents to make a complaint?Yes
Is the complaints policy and procedure available online?Yes
Do we have a reasonable adjustments policy?Yes
Do we regularly advise residents about our complaints process?Yes

3. Complaints team and process

Self-assessment questionAnswer
Is there a complaint officer or equivalent in post?Yes
Does the complaint officer have autonomy to resolve complaints?Yes
Does the complaint officer have authority to compel engagement from other departments to resolve disputes?Yes
If there is a third stage to the complaints procedure are residents involved in the decision making? No third stage
Is any third stage optional for residents? No
Does the final stage response set out residents’ right to refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman Service?Yes
Do we keep a record of complaint correspondence including correspondence from the resident?Yes
At what stage are most complaints resolved?Stage 1

4. Communication

Self-assessment questionAnswerComments
Are residents kept informed and updated during the complaints process?YesN/A
Are residents informed of the landlord’s position and given a chance to respond and challenge any area of dispute before the final decision? NoAfter stage 1 they can request a stage 2
Are all complaints acknowledged and logged within five days?YesN/A
Are residents advised of how to escalate at the end of each stage?YesN/A
What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage one? 44.6%N/A
What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage two?58.3%N/A
What proportion of complaint responses are sent within Code timescales?43.7% (stage 1 with exclusion)

16.7% (stage 2 with exclusion)
Where timescales have been extended did we have good reason?
Where timescales have been extended did we keep the resident informed?YesN/A
What proportion of complaints do we resolve to residents’ satisfaction?35.7%N/A

5. Cooperation with Housing Ombudsman Service

Self-assessment questionAnswer
Were all requests for evidence responded to within 15 days?Yes
Where the timescale was extended did we keep the Ombudsman informed?Yes

6. Fairness in complaint handling

Self-assessment questionAnswer
Are residents able to complain via a representative throughout?Yes
If advice was given, was this accurate and easy to understand? Yes
How many cases did we refuse to escalate? This is not measured – however we would only refuse to escalate those who fall into the categories in point 1
What was the reason for the refusal?Outside of the scope of the Complaints Procedure as listed in point 1
Outside of the scope of the Complaints Procedure as listed in point 1Did we explain our decision to the resident?

7. Outcomes and remedies

Self-assessment questionAnswer
Where something has gone wrong are we taking appropriate steps to put things right?Yes

8. Continuous learning and improvement

Self-assessment questionAnswer
What improvements have we made as a result of learning from complaints?What improvements have we made as a result of learning from complaints?
Our Repairs Quality Forum has a regular agenda item to review complaints and identify learning. Changes that have been made or are being made as a result of learning from complaints include:
• Reviewing the way work orders are managed to encourage operatives to complete work in one go and keep tenants informed when materials have to be ordered.
• Allocating specific tasks to helpdesk staff to track materials on order.
• Employed a quality assurance officer to independently inspect work prioritising areas where complaints have been made.
• Amended our Kitchen Fitters Risk Assessment with regard to identifying gas pipes following a leak at one property.
• Trialling PIV systems instead of traditional extractor fans in response to complaints about mould and condensation
How do we share these lessons with residents? the Tenant Scrutiny Panel receives completes information both as part of their scoping exercise to identify areas for further investigation and as part of each investigation carried out. In addition articles are included in our tenant newsletter, Housing News and the Annual report
How do we share these lessons with the board/governing body
Do we share these lessons in the Annual Report?Yes
Has the Code made a difference to how we respond to complaints? Letters have been amended to reflect the new code. We are in the process of reviewing how best to adopt to the Code within the current corporate complaints procedure, This has to be agreed with Members and Senior Managers. We will look to repeat the self assessment following the review in 6 months
What changes have we made?This is to be confirmed once the review is complete.