How to make a complaint

Make an online complaint

Complaints Form and Procedure [pdf] 669KB

EastendHomes is committed to providing high quality, efficient and effective services to all its residents and applicants for housing but we recognise that sometimes people may be dissatisfied with our services or mistakes that 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 a Complaints Panel. 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:

  • is well publicised
  • provides clear stages for the progression of a complaint.

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.

PROCESS

Enquiries will be received in a variety of possible ways, including:

  • by telephone to the Complaints Officer at Head Office
  • by submission through our online form
  • by letter
  • by completing a Complaints Form and sending it to 'FREEPOST EASTENDHOMES' or handing it in at your local housing office

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.

Stage One
 

Where a service user wishes to pursue a formal complaint, they will be referred to or sent a copy of EastendHomes' complaint form, together with information on how to make a complaint. All complainants will be encouraged to put their complaints in writing either in hard copy or on-line, but complaints will be progressed however they are made. Where a complaint is taken on behalf of a service user, the officer taking the complaint will write the complaint down on a complaint form and send a hard copy or by email to the complainant to sign and return as an accurate statement of their issues and concerns. In line with the Equality Act 2010, where there are individual needs the policy, procedures and processes for complaints will be adapted to accommodate the particular requirements. The timeline for response to the complaint will start when the completed form is returned with the complainant’s signature or equivalent on-line. Formal complaint forms will also be available for residents to download from the EastendHomes website or may be made directly through website contact.

Once a complaint form is received, a written acknowledgement will be sent within 5 working days acknowledging receipt and informing the complainant that the complaint is being dealt with, who will be responding to it, and the timescales for a response.

The complaint will be dealt with by the service manager e.g. the Home Ownership 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, an interim response will be provided explaining why a full response is not possible at that time and giving a date by which a full response will be provided. This should not exceed a further 10 days without good reason. All final responses will detail the action that has been taken, the outcome, and whether the complaint has been upheld. If further action is necessary to resolve the issue, the complainant will be kept informed of such action and the outcome(s). The reply will explain to the complainant the process by which they can escalate their complaint if they remain dissatisfied.

Stage Two

If the complainant remains dissatisfied, they can request that a review panel consider the 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 and the outcome they would like. Additional information can also be provided as long as it arrives at least two working days before the panel meets and considers the case.

It will aim to consider the complaint within 20 working days of the request for a review. If this target is not possible an explanation and a date when the stage two response will be received. This should not exceed a further 10 working days without good reason
The panel may hold a ‘virtual’ meeting – where the papers are circulated and discussions are held by video, email or on the phone but the people involved are not in the room together. EastendHomes will explain why this is appropriate before going ahead.

Or if the meeting is to be held in person a suitable time and place will be agreed with you so the complainant can attend in person.
The complainant will have the right to present their case to the panel either in person or virtually. 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. This does not include legal representation. 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 reserves the right not to convene a Complaints Review Panel in certain circumstances, as defined by EastendHomes Vexatious, Frivolous or Unreasonably Persistent Complaints Policy. Where the decision is taken not to convene a Complaints review panel, the response sent to the complainant will indicate that the EastendHomes internal complaints procedure has been exhausted and explain to them their options for external complaint resolution if they wish to pursue the matter.

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.

OUTCOME/FURTHER ACTION

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 will make reference to the  Compensation and Payments Policy [pdf] 189KB , and associated guidelines, to determine appropriate levels of compensation.

If the complainant remains dissatisfied following the exhaustion of the EastendHomes complaints process, 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.

PUBLICITY

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.

IMPROVEMENT PLANNING

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:

  • Registering and monitoring complaints and performance in response times.
  • Receiving comments on EeH policies.

Presenting statistics on complaints performance and presenting these as part of the of the KPI report to the Service Review Committee 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 Committee.

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 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.