Complaint Form and Procedure
EastendHomes is committed to providing high quality, efficient and effective services to all its residents and applicants for housing but recognises that sometimes people may be dissatisfied with its services or mistakes might be made in service delivery.
EastendHomes is keen to obtain feedback from service users to review the service it provides and the way in which it provides them. EastendHomes wishes to learn from the complaints received and as such the Housing Management Team will consider the ‘learning outcomes’ relating to each complaint as a standard agenda item. Where training needs are identified this is recorded and progressed by the manager.
EastendHomes will operate clear and well-publicised procedures for receiving and dealing with complaints and compliments.
All complaints will be processed within the stated timescales. The completion of timely responses is monitored by the Senior Management Team and considered by the EastendHomes Board and Service Review Committee as a Key Performance Indicator.
All complaints will be dealt with promptly, courteously, with consistency, systematically, fairly and with appropriate regard to confidentiality.
EastendHomes recognises the value of involving residents in reviewing complaints and the final stage of the complaints process allows for members of the EastendHomes board, alongside members of the Resident Scrutiny Panel, to consider complaints that have been progressed to Stage Three. In addition the Service Review Committee is able to review EastendHomes' complaints performance across service areas and focus on particular concerns where they arise.
EastendHomes will operate a complaints procedure which:
EastendHomes will ensure that all staff likely to be involved in handling complaints are familiar with the procedure.
EastendHomes belongs to the independent Housing Ombudsman Service scheme.
Enquiries will be received in a variety of possible ways, including:
Residents or applicants for housing, who are dissatisfied with the service they receive, should in the first instance be advised to contact the relevant section responsible e.g. the Housing Centre, the Rents, Regeneration Section. If the problem cannot be resolved by this initial contact, it can be pursued as a formal complaint.
Where a resident or applicant wishes to pursue a formal complaint, they will be sent a copy of EastendHomes' formal complaint form, together with information on how to make a complaint. All complainants will be encouraged to put their complaints in writing, but complaints will be dealt with if they are made in person or on the telephone. Where a complaint is made in this way, the officer taking the complaint will be expected to write the complaint down on a complaint form and send a copy to the complainant. (Assistance will also be offered to people whose first language is not English, or who have special needs such as literacy problems.) Formal complaint forms are also be available for residents to download from the EastendHomes website. EeH is unable to deal with complaints made anonymously.
Once a complaint form is received, a holding reply will be sent within 3 working days acknowledging receipt and informing the complainant that the complaint is being dealt with.
The complaint will be dealt with by the service manager e.g. the Leasehold Service Manager, the relevant Housing Centre Manager or the Regeneration Project Manager. The complainant will receive a response in writing within 10 working days. Where this is not possible for a particular reason, a response will be provided within 7 working days, explaining why a full response is not possible at that time giving a date by which a full response will be provided. All full responses will detail the action that has been taken and the outcome. If further action is necessary to resolve the issue, the complainant will be kept informed of such action and the outcome.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied, they can request that the relevant Director consider the complaint as a formal Stage Two complaint. The complainant should make this request within 15 working days of receiving a response under Stage One, setting out the reasons why they are not satisfied with the response already received. A written acknowledgement will be sent to the complainant within 3 working days and a full written response within 15 working days. If further investigation is required which means a full written response within 15 days is not possible the complainant will be notified within 10 working days of their request in writing with an indication of when a full response will be sent.
If the resident or applicant is still not satisfied with the response received under Stage Two they can ask within 15 working days of receiving the response for the complaint to be considered under Stage Three stating the reasons why they are dissatisfied with the response received under Stage Two. A panel comprising of a minimum of two members of the EastendHomes Board and two tenant scrutiny panel members will consider all Stage Three complaints. If, for any reason, it is not possible to fulfil the representation of residents with Tenant Scrutiny Panel members, resident board members may take the positions of Scrutiny Panel members to ensure that residents are represented amongst the panel membership. EastendHomes will aim to convene the Panel within four weeks of the request from the complainant, to ensure that all complaints are heard in a timely manner. Members should not hear cases from complainants where there is a conflict of interest. This includes friendships, family relationship, a financial stake, close residential proximity, or being involved in current or previous disputes.
The complainant will have the right to present their case to the panel. The complainant will also have the right, at their own cost, to have a representative, friend or advocate present, provided that EastendHomes is informed at least twenty four hours in advance. The meetings of the Complaints Panel are not, however, open to the general public or observers and complainants can have no more than one advocate present.
The panel will be minuted and the decision notified to the complainant within 10 working days of the meeting. No indication of the decision of the panel will be given at the time of the hearing. A note of the meeting will be provided; however minutes of the deliberations of the panel will be confidential. If the panel is unable to make a decision and requires additional information, the complainant will be advised of this.
EastendHomes may wish to interview the complainant at any stage of the complaints process. The complainant will have the right, at their own cost, to have a friend or advocate present but should inform EastendHomes first.
As part of the investigation at every stage, the investigating officer will indicate whether the compliant was upheld or not as part of the written response to the complainant.
Where a mistake has been made EastendHomes will apologise in writing, and may also seek to compensate the complainant appropriately.
Payment of compensation may on occasion be made as a good will gesture, and will not necessarily indicate an admission of culpability.
Complaints investigators and panel members should make reference to the Compensation and Payments Policy, and associated guidelines, to determine appropriate levels of compensation..
If the complainant remains dissatisfied following the outcome of Stage 3, she or he can complain to the independent Housing Ombudsman Service. EastendHomes have no control over this aspect of the complaints procedure and the Ombudsman is completely independent of EastendHomes. Complaints to the Ombudsman must be made within 12 months of completion of the EastendHomes complaints process, in accordance with the requirements of the Housing Ombudsman Service.
On receipt of a request from the independent Housing Ombudsman EastendHomes will make the necessary arrangements to respond to requests for relevant information and correspondence.
The complaints procedure will be publicised and available for use by anyone wishing to complain about any aspect of EeH's service provision or service delivery, including standards of customer care.
The procedure will be widely advertised, through the EastendHomes web site, Tenants' Handbook, Leaseholders' Handbook, newsletters and posters in local housing offices. Information about the procedure will also be provided in translation.
All complaints received will be monitored, and details recorded of the date received, the nature of the complaint, the date action was taken and the nature of the action taken. EeH wishes to learn from the complaints received and as such the Housing Management Team will consider the ‘learning outcomes’ relating to each complaint as a standard agenda item. Where training needs are identified this is recorded and progressed by the manager. The Senior Management Team will regularly monitor the performance of the complaints procedure across all Directorates.
EeH will ensure that an officer will be responsible for:
Presenting statistics on complaints performance and presenting these as part of the of the KPI report to the Service Review and EeH Board.
Registering the learning outcomes from each complaint.
Undertaking a post complaint satisfaction questionnaire which captures complainant’s satisfaction with how the complaint was dealt with and the final outcome. This information will be monitored by the Service Review Board.
COMPLIMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS
EeH will encourage residents to provide general suggestions and compliments. EeH will ensure that where compliments are received that these are generally recognised within the organisation and seen as part of the overall learning process.
EeH has introduced a Customer Care Excellence Award Scheme which allows residents and staff to nominate staff members who have excelled in their contribution to the work of the organisation particularly in the area of customer care.
Where gifts are received for staff these will be entered into the hospitality register.