Complaint Handling Code – Self-assessment

In July 2020, the Housing Ombudsman published its Complaint Handling Code.

This sets out how landlords should respond to complaints effectively and fairly.

We self-assessed against the code in December 2021. Here are the results:

Definition of a complaint

Does the complaints process use the following 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."


Does the policy have exclusions where a complaint will not be considered?


Are these exclusions reasonable and fair to residents?

Yes, evidence is relied upon.


Are multiple accessibility routes available for residents to make a complaint?


Is the complaints policy and procedure available online?


Do we have a reasonable adjustments policy?


Do we regularly advise residents about our complaints process?


Complaints team and process

Is there a complaint officer or equivalent in post?


Does the complaint officer have autonomy to resolve complaints?


Does the complaint officer have authority to compel engagement from other departments to resolve disputes?


If there is a third stage to the complaints procedure are residents involved in the decision making?


Is any third stage optional for residents?


Does the final stage response set out residents’ right to refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman Service?


Do we keep a record of complaint correspondence including correspondence from the resident?


At what stage are most complaints resolved?

Stage 1


Are residents kept informed and updated during the complaints process?


Are residents informed of the landlord’s position and given a chance to respond and challenge any area of dispute before the final decision?


Are all complaints acknowledged and logged within five days?


Are residents advised of how to escalate at the end of each stage?


What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage one?


What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage two?


What proportion of complaint responses are sent within Code timescales?
  • Stage one = 88%

Stage one (with extension) = 95%

  • Stage two = 80%

Stage two (with extension) = 98%

Where timescales have been extended, did we have good reason?


Where timescales have been extended, did we keep the resident informed?


What proportion of complaints do we resolve to residents’ satisfaction?

96% of complaints resolved within our internal complaints process

Cooperation with Housing Ombudsman service

Were all requests for evidence responded to within 15 days?


Where the timescale was extended, did we keep the Ombudsman informed?


Fairness in complaint handling

Are residents able to complain via a representative throughout?


If advice was given, was this accurate and easy to understand?


How many cases did we refuse to escalate?


What was the reason for the refusal?


Did we explain our decision to the resident?


Outcomes and remedies

Where something has gone wrong, are we taking appropriate steps to put things right?


Continuous learning and improvement

What improvements have we made as a result of learning from complaints?
  • Complaints regarding   complaint handling - 40 staff members including senior managers attended   Effective Written responses and Appropriate Remedies training delivered by   the Housing Ombudsman Service. 80 customer facing staff received complaint   handling code training to facilitate early resolution and right first-time   case handling.
  • Complaints about   service charge administration – We have re-structured the team and recruited additional   Service Charge Specialist/Analysts with requisite expertise to deliver an   effective and transparent service.
  • Complaints regarding   poor communication in relation to cladding/remedial work – We introduced a   dedicated page on our website for residents where they can keep up to date   with cladding FAQ’s and latest developments. We introduced bi-monthly resident   meetings. We also introduced a quarterly Building Safety Newsletter for all   residents. Topics include general building safety and cladding updates.
How do we share these lessons with residents, the Board and Governing body, and in the annual report?

Resident Panels as a standing item on each agenda with a report on performance, trends and learning.

Customer Services Committee as a standing item on each agenda with a report on performance, trends and learning. Group Board with a strategic overview on performance.

The annual report includes overall performance and themes. We are moving to more detailed measures in 2022 to include information on learning and service improvement.

Has the Code made a difference to how we respond to complaints?


What changes have we made?
  • Introduced new Complaints Policy and Procedure
  • Revised our complaints templates to align to Housing Ombudsman best practice
  • Introduced new Reasonable Adjustment’s Policy
  • Introduced new Compensation Policy
  • Delivered training to staff on Complaint Handling Code
  • Introduced new methodology to collect satisfaction data.