Housing Ombudsman Complaints Code - self-assessment

Compliance with the complaint handling code

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?
No, but we do have a very similar one. Ours states: "A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, action or lack of action by the council or its staff, affecting an individual customer or a group of customers.” This is because we’re a local authority rather than an organisation that deals solely with housing.

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

Are these exclusions reasonable and fair to residents?
Yes. They only apply where there are other routes available. For example, to request a housing repair, or where the resident has already been notified of a repair and the repair is awaiting action within the agreed timescale.


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?
No, but this is information is contained in our Equal Opportunities 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?  

Can the complaint officer work together with other departments to resolve complaints and conflicts? 

If there is a third stage to the complaints procedure, are residents involved in making decisions?
There is no third stage to this complaints procedure.

Is any third stage optional for residents?
There is no third stage to this complaints procedure.

Does the final stage response set out residents’ rights 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?
At the first stage.


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 conflict before the final decision?
No, although there is sometimes informal dialogue with the responding officer outside of the complaints process.

Are all complaints acknowledged and logged within five days?
Yes, they are usually acknowledged and logged within two working days.

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

What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage one?
During the year 2021/22, this was 87%.

What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage two?
During the year 2021/22, this was 100%.

What proportion of complaint responses are sent within the Ombudsman's complaint code timescales?

  • Stage one: 83%
  • Stage one (with extension): 17%
  • Stage two: 67% (within 10 working days). This is based on a very low figure.
  • Stage two (with extension): 33%, although these were still well within the 20 working days as stated in the code. However, they were outside of our stated 10 working days and these only formed two complaints.

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?
In the year 2021/22, this was 100%.

Co-operation with Housing Ombudsman Service

Were all requests for evidence responded to within 15 days?
Not applicable in 2021/22. Previously, they were.

Where the timescale was extended, did we keep the Ombudsman informed?
Not applicable.

Fairness in complaint handling

Are residents able to complain via a representative throughout the process?
Yes, with appropriate permission for us to deal with the representative.

If advice was given, was this accurate and easy to understand? 
Not applicable.

How many cases did we refuse to escalate?

What was the reason for the refusal?
Not applicable.

Did we explain our decision to the resident?
Not applicable.

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?
We have ended certain housing repairs contracts and improved processes.

How do we share these lessons with residents?
The lessons we learn are considered and applied for cases involving residents in the future.

How do we share these lessons with senior managers and councillors?
We send an annual report to senior managers and councillors

Has the Ombudsman's complaint code made a difference to how we respond to complaints?
Not currently, this is being reviewed.

What changes have we made? 
Not applicable.

For further details on the complaints handling process and self-assessment form, please visit complaints handling code (housing-ombudsman.org.uk)

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Last updated: 19/01/2024 10:18