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Complaint handling code self-assessment

Complaint handling principles

Compliance status and additional notes for Section 4 criteria of the Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code
Code sectionCode requirementComply (Yes/No)Evidence, commentary and any explanations

Any decision to try and resolve a concern must be taken in agreement with the resident and a landlord's audit trail/records should be able to demonstrate this. Landlords must ensure that efforts to resolve a resident's concerns do not obstruct access to the complaints procedure or result in any unreasonable delay. It is not appropriate to have extra named stages (such as 'stage 0' or 'pre-complaint stage') as this causes unnecessary confusion for residents. When a complaint is made, it must be acknowledged and logged at stage one of the complaints procedure within five days of receipt.

YesPolicy includes statement on response within five days. Upon receipt of complaint into the email box an acknowledgment of the complaint will be issued to the complainant within five working days.

Within the complaint acknowledgement, landlords must set out their understanding of the complaint 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.

YesComplaint letters outline understanding of complaint.
4.6A complaint investigation must be conducted in an impartial manner.YesPolicy outlines approach.

The complaint handler must:

  • deal with complaints on their merits
  • act independently and have an open mind
  • take measures to address any actual or perceived conflict of interest
  • consider all information and evidence carefully
  • keep the complaint confidential as far as possible, with information only disclosed if necessary to properly investigate the matter
YesOutlined in policy statement under complaint investigation.

Landlords must adhere to any reasonable arrangements agreed with residents in terms of frequency and method of communication.

YesThis is agreed as part of the process of investigation and responding. Policy outlines how we are able to feedback according to the preference of the complainant.

The resident, and if applicable any staff member who is the subject of the complaint, must also be given a fair chance to:

  • set out their position
  • comment on any adverse findings before a final decision is made
YesThe process is clear that complaints are investigated impartially.

A landlord must include in its complaints policy its timescales for a resident to request escalation of a complaint.

YesTimescale for escalation is six months; if the issues raised are not satisfactorily resolved at this stage the customer can escalate their complaint to a (Stage 2) complaint. Any escalation must be submitted within six months of the Stage 1 response.
4.14A landlord must not unreasonably refuse to escalate a complaint through all stages of the complaints procedure and must have clear and valid reasons for taking that course of action. Reasons for declining to escalate a complaint must be clearly set out in a landlord's complaints policy and must be the same as the reasons for not accepting a complaint.YesPolicy outlines the escalation process and where complaints are not accepted.

A full record must be kept of the complaint, any review and the outcomes at each stage. This must include the original complaint and the date received, all correspondence with the resident, correspondence with other parties and any reports or surveys prepared.

YesThe Council has a policy setting out a standard set of conditions and a framework for complaint handling within the Council.
4.3Landlords should manage residents' expectations from the outset, being clear where a desired outcome is unreasonable or unrealistic.YesAssessed as part of complaint investigation on case-by-case basis.

A complaint should be resolved at the earliest possible opportunity, having assessed what evidence is needed to fully consider the issues, what outcome would resolve the matter for the resident and whether there are any urgent actions required.

YesComplaint process outlined in policy.

Landlords should give residents the opportunity to have a representative deal with their complaint on their behalf, and to be represented or accompanied at any meeting with the landlord where this is reasonable.


Complaints are accepted on behalf of a tenant. Complaint's from third parties who are authorised to act on the customers behalf will be accepted; responses to these complaints will be issued directly to the authorised party. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.


Where a key issue of a complaint relates to the parties' legal obligations landlords should clearly set out their understanding of the obligations of both parties.

YesOutlined in responses.
4.9Communication with the resident should not generally identify individual members of staff or contractors.YesPart of response process.
4.10Landlords should keep residents regularly updated about the progress of the investigation.YesPart of response process.

Landlords should seek feedback from residents in relation to the landlord's complaint handling as part of the drive to encourage a positive complaint and learning culture.

YesIntroduced new insight survey from April 2022 (sent out eight weeks after closure). This is also asked as part of regular perception surveys.

Landlords should recognise the impact that being complained about can have on future service delivery. Landlords should ensure that staff are supported and engaged in the complaints process, including the learning that can be gained.

YesLearning outcomes are captured and where possible improvements are made and training provided.

Any restrictions placed on a resident's contact due to unacceptable behaviour should be appropriate to their needs and should demonstrate regard for the provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

YesThe Council has a policy that addresses how we deal with abusive, persistent or vexatious complaints.
Last modified on 04 October 2022

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