Complaints

In line with the Housing Ombudsman’s reviewed Complaints Handling Code, York Housing Association believe a complaint is: ‘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’.  The aim of this sector wide complaint definition it to enable all social housing residents to be heard and understood.

We hope you never have cause to complain but should something go wrong or you receive a poor service from us, please do tell us about it so we have the opportunity to put things right. We greatly appreciate your time and view any feedback as an opportunity to improve our services.

If you have a complaint

If you have any complaints, compliments or feedback for us, please contact us first here.

 

Alternatively, you can speak to your Housing Officer / Support Worker or one of our Customer Relationship Advisors on 01904 636061. We’re always listening and ready to work hard to resolve your concerns straight away. If we are unable to resolve the problem there and then we will undertake a full investigation to understand the facts and get back to you within a maximum of five working days (unless there are mitigating reasons to extend this period).

Complaints Policy

We aim to provide an excellent service to all our customers, but we realise that there will be times when we get things wrong or could do better. We value complaints as these help us improve our services.  Sometimes as a result of a complaint we may make changes to policies and procedures.

If someone has cause for complaint we will take their complaint seriously.  We will try and resolve it there and then, but if this is not possible, we will deal with it through our internal complaints policy.

We have produced a separate leaflet for anyone who wishes to use our Complaints Process.

 

Front line staff will deal with the majority of complaints at the Resolution stage and will be empowered to provide a quick, professional service, responding appropriately to the needs of individuals.  If, however, the complaint cannot be resolved informally, it will be escalated to Stage One of our formal internal process and be reviewed by a Manager.  A written response will be sent to the complainant within five working days, although we may ask to extend that timeframe for a thorough investigation. 

 

If the complainant is not satisfied at the end Stage One, the complaint will be escalated to Stage Two for review by a Head of Service.  Again a written response will be issued to the complainant within five working days although we can ask for an extension.

 

If at the end of Stage Two the complainant remains dissatisfied, after a period of eight weeks, they can refer their complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service :

 

 

Housing Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower

Harbour Exchange Square
London
E14 9GE
http://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk
Telephone: 0300 111 3000
Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk

 

 

The Housing Ombudsman can be contacted at any time throughout the complaint process, not just eight weeks after a Stage Two response. 

 

Where a complaint is about a member of staff it will be referred to their line manager for investigation.

 

Managers will be available to offer advice and guidance and to monitor the quality of responses.

Where we have failed to deliver an appropriate level of service we will apologise and put matters right.  Sometimes it may be appropriate to offer a payment to address any loss or as a gesture of goodwill in recognition of a service failure (see separate compensation policy).

 

Where we find we have acted fairly and in line with our policies we will offer a full explanation.

 

We will ensure that all our staff and Board members are trained in complaint resolution, and staff will also be provided with detailed guidelines and procedures.

 

We will report on our performance in dealing with complaints to Board annually.

 

We will report on the number, type and outcome of complaints to tenants annually.

 

We will complete and publish to our website our self-assessment against the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code annually.

How to make a complaint

 

Anyone who receives a service from us, or who represents such a person can make a complaint. Where someone contacts us on behalf of a customer then we will check to ensure the person is authorised to act on their behalf.

 

Some minor matters can be resolved very quickly and informally, and we would always recommend that customers talk to us first by contacting any member of staff. They will try to resolve the issue immediately. If, however, this isn’t possible or hasn’t worked then a complaint can be reported in any of the following ways;

 

  • Calling our Customer Services team on 01904 63601.

  • Writing to us at 2 Alpha Court, Monks Cross Drive,  York YO32 9WN

  • Speaking to a member of staff whilst on site.

  • Visiting our website and completing our on line form.

  • Emailing: info@yorkha.org.uk

When it is not appropriate to deal with a complaint?

 

Generally we will not progress complaints if :

 

  • They are unreasonable

  • Where unreasonable demands about the outcome are being made

  • They are anonymous

  • They are an issue that has already been looked at through our complaints procedure

  • They are made more than three months after the customer became aware of the problem and should be made as soon as possible.

  • They are straightforward issues that should be easily dealt with through our normal policies and procedures rather than following the complaints procedure. 

    For instance

  • A contractor turning up late to carry out a repair would be followed up as a breach of our customer service standards

 

A concern about a neighbour’s behaviour would be dealt with in line with our anti-social behaviour policy.

Examples of unreasonable complaints or unreasonable demands

 

The list below provides some examples of unreasonable complaints or unreasonable demands :

 

  • Lodging numerous complaints about the same issue over a period of time

  • Using valid new enquiries or complaints to raise issues that have previously been responded to.

  • Attempting to submit a new complaint when the matter is clearly about an issue that has already been through our complaints process.

  • Refusing to accept the stance of YHA in terms of service delivery once the complaints process has been exhausted.

  • Refusal to accept that an issue is not within the remit of our complaints process.

  • Demanding outcomes that are unreasonable (e.g. dismissal of staff members, overturning court decisions, criminal prosecution of staff or tenants).

  • Making unnecessarily excessive demands on the time and resources of staff.

  • Unreasonably refusing to deal with members of staff who ordinarily would deal with the issue.

  • Canvassing for complaints from other customers

  • Refusal to co-operate with the complaints process (e.g. failing to provide information to help progress the complaint or failing to advise YHA of the customers preferred outcome from the complaint)

  • Electronically recording meetings, telephone calls and conversations without the prior knowledge, and/or consent of the other persons involved.

Independent external review

 

If a customer remains dissatisfied after Stage Two of our internal complaints process, they can contact a ‘Designated Person’ who may look into the matter themselves.

 

‘Designated Persons’ are defined in the Localism Act 2011 as an MP, a local Councillor for the district in which a complainant’s home is located, or a designated tenant panel recognised by the Housing Ombudsman. A ‘Designated Person’ does not have formal authority but will independently review a complaint and may make recommendations to resolve the issue. They can then refer the complaint to the Housing Ombudsman if they feel that they are not able to assist.  Our staff will advise the complainant about how to contact the local ‘Designated Person’ or tenant panel.

Alternatively they can wait eight weeks and contact the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS) direct.  The HOS is an independent national service that investigates complaints concerning tenants of housing associations and other social landlords.

Housing Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower

Harbour Exchange Square
London
E14 9GE
http://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk
Telephone: 0300 111 3000
Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk

Reporting our performance

 

The Head of Housing and Customer Service  is responsible for reporting on the number, type and outcome of complaints to tenants annually.

The Operations Director is responsible for reporting on the number of complaints, outcomes and performance against timescales to Board on a quarterly basis.

York Housing Association aims to provide an excellent service

If you need help or advice, talk to your housing officer

Call 01904 636061