In September this year the Housing Ombudsman introduced a new Complaint Handling Code as part of the revised Ombudsman Scheme. The new code sets out to establish some consistent best practice in handling complaints from residents and covers areas such as making our complaints procedure easily accessible, how quickly we respond to residents’ complaints, and learning from complaints to achieve improvements.
Landlords had to undertake a self-assessment to see how their existing policies and processes sat in terms of the requirements within the code.
So how did we do?
Currently, our assessment shows that we have met 31 out of 36 of the code’s requirements. The remaining five are currently ‘met in part’, and none are being missed. Our target is to be fully compliant by the end of March 2021; to not only meet the requirements of the code but also to do the best we can for our customers. To achieve this we have created an action group internally to ensure that we make all the necessary changes in the allotted timeframe.
Some of the main areas in which we are compliant are:
– Keeping a record of complaints correspondence
– Having a reasonable adjustments policy
– Updating our policy to include the Ombudsman’s definition of a complaint and prescribed timescales for responses
– Making sure the that our policy and procedure is accessible on our website
Some of the areas in which we ‘met in part’ are:
– Understanding what improvements need to be made as a result of learning from complaints
– Sharing those lessons with residents
– Providing regular advice to customers about our complaints service
The outcome of our assessment has been shared with the Group Board and we will be keeping both the Board and residents updated between now and the end of March with our progress against the five remaining criteria.
It’s important to us that we work to follow the guidelines that have been set but not just to tick boxes. Listening and working with our residents to ensure that their complaints are heard and remedied as soon as possible is a priority.