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Making a Complaint

At Westway Housing Association, we always want to provide an excellent service. This policy leaflet provides you with all the information you need to let us know when we have achieved this, where we haven’t met our required standards, and to comment or make suggestions.

We know that sometimes things can go wrong. If this happens, please tell us. Once we know we can put things right, learn from mistakes and prevent similar things happening in the future.

 

Comments

Westway is keen to involve all customers in shaping the services we

provide. Please feel free to make comments about the service we provide or give suggestions about how we could improve.

 

Compliments

When you have had an excellent experience of customer service, we would love to hear from you. Receiving praise for providing good customer service helps teams and individuals to improve and identify areas of best practice.

 

Complaints

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however, made about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by the company, its staff or contractors, affecting an individual customer or group of customers.

A complaint can be made when:

  • We have failed to provide a service when we should have
  • We have provided a poor standard of service
  • Made a mistake in the way we have provided the service
  • Failed to meet our existing service standards or complied with our policies

The complaints procedure is not for:

  • Making a request for a service
  • Making a complaint regarding neighbours( as this will be classed as anti social behaviour)
  • Things that have happened more than six months ago
  • Complaints about other organisations
  • Disagreeing with our policies

What happens when you make a complaint?

Quick fix

When you let us know that you have had a problem with our service, we will always try to fix things straight away. If the person taking the complaint can resolve things for you within one working day, we will log your issue with a unique reference number and class it as a‘quick fix’.

For example, this would apply where we have missed an appointment but were able to make a new arrangement that suited you straight away.

Where we do this, you will still receive a letter containing a complaint

reference number to confirm that you experienced a problem, reported it to us and agreed a resolution. If you are dissatisfied with this outcome, you can move onto the formal complaints process within 5 working days.

How to make a comment, compliment or complaint

It is easy to comment about our service.

You do not have to fill in a special form or even put it in writing. Any member of any team can record your comment over the phone, in person or by email. You can also contact us by letter.

If you wish to make a complaint, the process is as follows:

Stage one

When we are unable to solve the problem immediately, we will move into our formal complaints process. We have the following service standards in place to ensure that you get a resolution in an appropriate time.

  • Your complaint will be acknowledged within 2 working days of receipt.
  • Give you a unique complaint reference number
  • Let you know the name of the person who will try to resolve the problem or investigate the complaint
  • Aim to write to you within 10 working days to let you know the outcome of any investigation and offer a decision or resolution
  • We will notify you in writing when this target will not be met, detailing the reasons why and let you know when you can expect a full response.

 

Stage two

If you are not satisfied with our response, or if the previous stages have not been met, we can arrange for the complaint to be reviewed by the head of service or director who have previously been unconnected with the complaint. All you have to do is let.

us know why you are dissatisfied with the response you have received at the first stage within 20 working days and what you feel.

you would like us to do in response to your complaint. The service standards concerning Stage two complaints are:

  • Acknowledge your request in writing within 2 working days
  • Confirm that your complaint is being considered at the second stage of our procedure
  • Let you know the name and position of the person who will look into the problem for you
  • Aim to come back to you in writing within 10 working days to let you know whether the original action or response given is supported or outlining any new or additional proposals
  • We will notify you in writing when this target will not be met, detailing the reasons why and let you know when you can expect a full response.

 

Final stage

If after all of the previous stages, you are still dissatisfied with the response, you can apply to the Chief Executive for a review by the

complaints panel, which consists of the Chief Executive and two board members, one of whom will be a tenant board member.

You will need to write to the Chief Executive within 20 working days of receiving the stage two response and outline why you believe we have not fulfilled our duty set out in our policies and procedures or required by law. The Chief Executive will arrange a convenient date for you to meet the panel or tell you if you have pursued the matter as far as you can with Westway Housing Association within 10 working days of receipt of your request. If a meeting is arranged the date may not be within this timescale.

Designated Person

A role for MPs, Councillors, and Tenant Panels. Tenants of registered providers are able to request that their complaints be considered by a ‘designated person’ once they complete the internal procedure of their landlord.  Such a person can be an MP, a local Councillor, or a recognised Tenant Panel. The designated person may help resolve the complaint directly, may refer the complaint to the Ombudsman, or may decline doing either.  In the latter case, the complainant may approach the Ombudsman for his consideration of the complaint.   The complainant may also approach the Ombudsman directly if more than eight weeks have elapsed since the completion of the internal procedure of the landlord, without the need to approach a designated person first.

Ombudsman

If you are dissatisfied with this outcome, you may appeal to the:

Dispute Resolution Team
Housing Ombudsman Service
81 Aldwych
London
WC2B 4HN
Telephone: 020 7421 3800
Fax: 020 7831 1942
Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk

The Ombudsman will only consider the matter if you have exhausted Westway Housing Associations complaints procedure and you contact them within 12 months of your original complaint.

Unreasonable complainant behaviour

The Housing Ombudsman’s definition of “unreasonable complainant behaviour” is as follows:

“The actions of users, who are angry, demanding, or persistent, may result in unreasonable demands on staff, or unacceptable behaviour. It is these actions that we consider unacceptable, unreasonable demands, unreasonable persistence and aggressive and abusive behaviour (including language)”.

Westway must ensure that in using the complaints procedure, individuals who demonstrate unreasonable behaviour or are unreasonably persistent are still dealt with fairly, honestly and correctly. The resources of Westway have to be used as effectively as possible and other service users or employees must not suffer any detriment because of the behaviour of others.

All reasonable measures will be taken to resolve complaints through the complaints procedure.

When someone repeatedly telephones, visits the office without appointment, sends irrelevant or duplicate documents, or raises the issues that have already been considered, Westway Housing Association may decide to:

  • Only take telephone calls from the user at set times on set days, or put an arrangement in place for only one member of staff to deal with calls or correspondence from the complainant in the future
  • Require the person to make an appointment to see a named member of staff before visiting the office, or that the user only contact the office in writing
  • Return the documents to the person or, in extreme cases, advise them that further irrelevant documents will be destroyed
  • Take other action that we consider appropriate. We will, however, always say what action we are taking and why.

Learning Action Plan

Westway is committed to using complaints as positive feedback to improve performance and service delivery. We will carry out an analysis of complaints and use past complaints to prepare a learning action plan.

The Board will receive annual reports on the lessons learnt and changes made to improve systems and processes, and tenants will also be advised of these through our various communication methods.

We will also look to see what improvements we can make in how we handle and manage complaints, through customer satisfaction surveys.

Ways we can help

Pay your rent

Raise a repair

Raise a complaint

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