Complaints Policy and Procedure
This policy has been reviewed considering the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code – October 2022.
jLiving aims to provide an excellent service to all tenants and leaseholders and always welcomes and embraces constructive comments, suggestions and ideas on how to continuously improve all of the services that we offer. However we realise that as an organisation we may not always get it right.
jLiving believes that by working together positively and constructively with tenants and leaseholders most problems can be overcome and easily resolved, therefore we will always try to get it ‘right first time’ and will always seek to resolve matters informally at the time that a complaint is made.
What is a complaint ?
The Housing Ombudsman’ Complaint Handling Code defines a complaint as ‘…….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’. A complaint could therefore be :
- We have failed to adequately respond to an initial request
- We have been unhelpful or rude
- We have failed to meet our stated standards or promises
- We have given unclear, misleading or unsuitable advice.
- We have not complied with our own policies and or procedures.
What is not a complaint ?
A complaint is NOT a first attempt to request a service or an enquiry.
A complaint is NOT a report of anti social behaviour. Anti social and nuisance behaviour is dealt with under a separate procedure and will not be dealt with through the complaints procedure unless we have failed to meet our stated standards.
We will not deal with the following via the complaints procedure :
- Complaints about other tenants or leaseholders
- Any matter that has or is being dealt with by a solicitor
- Any matter that is being dealt with by our insurers
- Complaints that are already being considered by the Ombudsman or MP
- Any matter that occurred more than 6 months ago
- Complaints that have already been considered under the procedure and process and that are, in the opinion of jLiving, being pursued in an unreasonable way.
- Complaints that fall outside of jLiving’s jurisdiction
- Decisions where there is already a right of appeal, unless we have not followed our own procedures.
- Service charge queries – unless we have failed to provide an acceptable service.
If jLiving decides not to accept a complaint, a full explanation will be offered as to why the complaint is not suitable for the process.
How to make a complaint
Complaints can be made by telephone, in writing, by email or in person to a member of staff. Our staff are trained and experienced and understand that complaints are an opportunity to improve services and are not a threat. Staff are encouraged to identify potential complaints and to assist tenants and leaseholders to raise them.
Tenants and leaseholders may prefer that a family member or friend raises a complaint on their behalf, if this is the case we would ask that we have your consent for somebody to act on your behalf, either in writing or in person.
How will jLiving respond to complaints ?
jLIving will make every effort to resolve a query or complaint as quickly and as informally as possible. In many instances it is possible to resolve a complaint as soon as it is raised or reported, however there will be occasions where we may need to gather more information or seek advice. jLiving staff will make every endeavour to advise how long the process is likely to take.
If this approach does not resolve the problem, the matter will then be referred to the 2 stage formal complaints procedure as detailed below.
The nominated officer for the organisation is the Head of Housing.
Stage 1 Complaint & Timescale
If the matter or complaint cannot be resolved informally, it will be escalated to Stage 1 and the Head of Housing or other designated manager will contact you within 2 working days to discuss the matter further and try to agree a positive resolution. Where possible the matter will be discussed in person or by telephone. A timescale will be agreed and the relevant manager will then complete their investigations as quickly as possible. They will feedback to you again in person or by telephone or an agreed means of communication, and will then send an outcome letter advising of the outcome and any actions to be taken.
In accordance with timescales set out by the Housing Ombudsman – Stage 1 decision – within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint. If this is not going to be possible, an explanation will be offered and a revised timescale advised. This will not normally exceed a further 10 working days without proper reason.
Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1 of the Complaints Procedure, you should proceed to Stage 2 as follows below. This should be submitted within 10 working days. If the request to escalate is not received within 10 working days, the matter will be considered to be closed.
Stage 2 Complaint – Review & Timescale
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1 you may request for your complaint to be reviewed. The complaint will only be escalated to this stage where you are seeking a clear resolution. This review will be carried out by the Chief Executive or a member of the Board in her absence, who will complete a further investigation as quickly as possible. An outcome letter will then be sent detailing any actions to be taken. The outcome of the review stage will be final.
In accordance with timescales set out by the Housing Ombudsman – Stage 2 decision – within 20 working days from the request to escalate. Again if this is not going to be possible an explanation will be offered and revised timescale advised. This will again not normally exceed a further 10 working days without proper reason.
This is the end of jLiving’s internal complaints procedure.
If you are still dissatisfied
If you remain dissatisfied following the completion of jLiving’s internal complaints procedure you can now approach a designated person such as your MP or local councillor but this does not form part of the revised procedure and you may direct your complaints to the Housing Ombudsman as below :
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DESIGNATED PERSONS OR THE HOUSING OMBUDSMAN – PLEASE VISIT THE WEBSITE – WWW.HOUSING-OMBUDSMAN.ORG.UK
OR TELEPHONE THEM – 0300 111 3000
The Ombudsman may not consider complaints which, in the Ombudsman’s opinion:
- are made prior to having exhausted a member’s complaints
procedure, unless there is evidence of a complaint-handling
failure and the Ombudsman is satisfied that the member has
not taken action within a reasonable timescale;
- were brought to the Ombudsman’s attention normally more
than 12 months after they exhausted the member’s
- were not brought to the attention of the member as a formal
complaint within a reasonable period which would normally
be within 6 months of the matters arising;
- concern policies which have been properly decided by the
member in accordance with relevant and appropriate best
practice, unless the policy may give rise or contribute to a
systemic service failure;
- concern the level of rent or service charge or the amount of
the rent or service charge increase;
- concern matters where a complainant has or had the
opportunity to raise the subject matter of the complaint as
part of legal proceedings;
- concern matters where the Ombudsman considers it quicker,
fairer, more reasonable or more effective to seek a remedy
through the courts, other tribunal or procedure;
- concern the terms and operation of commercial or
contractual relationships not connected with the
complainant’s application for, or occupation of, a property for
- concern terms of employment or other personnel issues, or
the ending of a service tenancy following the ending of a
contract of employment;
- concern matters raised by a complainant on behalf of
another without their authority; unless the following applies
a representative of any of the people above who does not
have the capacity to authorise a representative to act on their
behalf. The Ombudsman must be satisfied that the
representative has the legitimate authority to act on the
person’s behalf; or
a person with authority to make a complaint on behalf of any
of the people above who is deceased
- fall properly within the jurisdiction of another Ombudsman,
regulator or complaint-handling body;
- are being pursued in an unacceptable manner;
- seek to raise again matters which the Housing Ombudsman,
or any other Ombudsman has already decided upon;
- are about matters which relate to the processes and
- decisions concerning a member’s governance structures;
- concern matters which, in the Ombudsman’s opinion, do not
cause significant adverse affect to the complainant; or
- concern matters where the complainant is seeking an
outcome which is not within the Ombudsman’s authority to
jLIving reserves the right to refuse, consider or review complaints when a tenant or leaseholders conduct, action or behaviour is considered to be unreasonable and or unacceptable.
Whilst jLiving will always seek to find a resolution before making this decision and will always endeavour to respond in a fair, balanced and proportionate manner, on occasion we shall need to invoke this clause to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff and ensure that the Associations resources are utilised in a proportionate way. As a small organisation jLiving is mindful that any complainant behaving in an unreasonable and disproportionate manner can impact on resources within a small team which in turn can negatively affect service delivery to other tenants and leaseholders.
Examples of unreasonable complaints :
- The complainant is using aggressive, threatening and or offensive language or displaying associated behaviour
- The volume of emails, calls or correspondence being received are extensive and unmanageable
- The outcomes being sought are unreasonable
- There is nothing further that jLiving can do to assist
- The complainant continues to raise the same or related complaint when the complaint process has been exhausted and concluded
- The resources required to deal effectively with the complaint are disproportionate to the benefit of the outcome being sought.
If a complaint is identified as being unreasonable, jLiving will :
- Explain this clearly and set out our expectations moving forward
- Assess the needs of the complainant and refer them for additional support if required.
In the event that matters continue to persist and there is no change in the conduct of the complainant, a warning will be issued that their behaviour is unacceptable and that the Unacceptable Behaviour Policy will be applied.
For further advice or information please contact
jLiving – Head Office – 0208 381 4901 or email firstname.lastname@example.org