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Complaint handling code self-assessment

Complaint stages

Compliance status and additional notes for Section 5 criteria of the Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code: Stage 1 complaints
Code sectionCode requirementComply (Yes/No)Evidence, commentary and any explanations
5.1

Landlords must respond to the complaint within 10 working days of the complaint being logged. Exceptionally, landlords may provide an explanation to the resident containing a clear timeframe for when the response will be received. This should not exceed a further 10 days without good reason.

YesPolicy states that responses to Stage 1 complaints will be issued within 10 working days of the complaint being received for social housing residents. Other council complaints are 15 days.
5.5

A complaint response must be sent to the resident when the answer to the complaint is known, not when the outstanding actions required to address the issue, are completed. Outstanding actions must still be tracked and actioned expeditiously with regular updates provided to the resident.

YesIn accordance with timeframes all responses outline any agreed action and when this will occur. We are improving our processes for keeping tenants informed of outstanding actions at the point a formal complaint response is provided.
5.6Landlords must address all points raised in the complaint and provide clear reasons for any decisions, referencing the relevant policy, law and good practice where appropriate.YesComplaint investigations and responses will address all elements of a complaint where this is possible, whether are a significant number of elements to a complaint, the themes of these will be considered and the complaint investigation will ensure all themes of the complaint are addressed.
5.8

Landlords must confirm the following in writing to the resident at the completion of stage one in clear, plain language:

  • the complaint stage
  • the decision on the complaint
  • the reasons for any decisions made
  • the details of any remedy offered to put things right
  • details of any outstanding actions
  • details of how to escalate the matter to stage two if the resident is not satisfied with the answer
YesResponses meet the points outlined.
Compliance status and additional notes for Section 5 criteria of the Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code: Stage 2 complaints
Code sectionCode requirementComply (Yes/No)Evidence, commentary and any explanations
5.9

If all or part of the complaint is not resolved to the resident's satisfaction at stage one it must be progressed to stage two of the landlord's procedure, unless an exclusion ground now applies. In instances where a landlord declines to escalate a complaint it must clearly communicate in writing its reasons for not escalating as well as the resident's right to approach the Ombudsman about its decision.

YesComplainants are able to escalate the complaint to a further stage and the Council may also escalate straight to Stage 2. The Corporate Services Manager has the discretion to decide to escalate a complaint straight to Stage 2 of the complaint process should the complaint be of sufficiently serious nature to warrant this.
5.10

On receipt of the escalation request, landlords must set out their understanding of issues outstanding and the outcomes the resident is seeking. If any aspect of the complaint is unclear, the resident must be asked for clarification and the full definition agreed between both parties.

YesGuidance on responding to complaints in place.
5.11

Landlords must only escalate a complaint to stage two once it has completed stage one and at the request of the resident.

YesPolicy states that Stage 2 complaints occur when a customers initial complaint has not been resolved to their satisfaction at Stage 1 and the complaint therefore requires further investigation by a different person.
5.12

The person considering the complaint at stage two, must not be the same person that considered the complaint at stage one.

YesPolicy states that complaints will be considered at service level and answered by the Head of Service providing they have not been actively or directly involved in the initial complaint or response. Where this is the case, the compliant will be passed to another Head of Service to answer. The Head of Service must review the response provided at Stage 1 and conduct any further investigation required into the customers case.
5.13

Landlords must respond to the stage two complaint within 20 working days of the complaint being escalated. Exceptionally, landlords may provide an explanation to the resident containing a clear timeframe for when the response will be received. This should not exceed a further 10 days without good reason.

YesPolicy states that Stage 2 and Stage 3 complaints may require a more in-depth investigation and therefore responses will be issued within 20 working days of the complaint being received.
5.16

Landlords must confirm the following in writing to the resident at the completion of stage two in clear, plain language:

  • the complaint stage
  • the complaint definition
  • the decision on the complaint
  • the reasons for any decisions made
  • the details of any remedy offered to put things right
  • details of any outstanding actions

and

  • if the landlord has a third stage, details of how to escalate the matter to stage three
  • if this was the final stage, details of how to escalate the matter to the Housing Ombudsman Service if the resident remains dissatisfied
YesResponses meet the points outlined.
Compliance status and additional notes for Section 5 criteria of the Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code: Stage 3 complaints
Code sectionCode requirementComply (Yes/No)Evidence, commentary and any explanations
5.17

Two stage landlord complaint procedures are ideal. This ensures that the complaint process is not unduly long. If landlords strongly believe a third stage is necessary, they must set out their reasons for this as part of their self-assessment. A process with more than three stages is not acceptable under any circumstances.

NoThe Council uses a three stage process that links to the structure and wider Council services for consistency. The three stages are outlined within the policy with clear escalation routes and timeframes.
5.20

Landlords must confirm the following in writing to the resident at the completion of stage three in clear, plain language:

  • the complaint stage
  • the complaint definition
  • the decision on the complaint
  • the reasons for any decisions made
  • the details of any remedy offered to put things right
  • details of any outstanding actions
  • details of how to escalate the matter to the Housing Ombudsman Service if the resident remains dissatisfied
YesThis is part of three stage letters reflecting a template for use.
Last modified on 23 November 2023

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