22nd October 2021

Complaints Policy

https://myspacehousing.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/My-Space-Complaints-Leaflet.pdf

Purpose and Scope

My Space Housing Solutions is committed to providing excellent services however we realise that things can occasionally go wrong. Where this happens, it is important for our customers to be able to tell us so that we can address these concerns.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that our residents, service users and any person or group of people who are affected by an activity or service carried out by the Association can raise their complaint and have it thoroughly investigated and resolved in a timely manner.

The Association welcomes complaints as a means of identifying recurring problems and areas of policy and practice requiring improvement. This policy outlines the way complaints will be managed within the Association. It defines what we mean by a complaint, the action we will take to resolve complaints and the way we will ensure and monitor the service improvements we need to make or good practice we can share.

Defining a Complaint

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the Associations actions, lack of action or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the association. My Space will take all expressions of dissatisfaction seriously, whether they are offered as comments, or whether they are raised informally or formally through this policy

Complaints are different to everyday enquiries such as reporting repairs or reporting anti-social behaviour. Examples of a complaint can include where the Association has:

  • Failed to do something that should have been done
  • Failed to meet service standards
  • Treated a customer unfairly
  • Made a mistake
  • Not carried out a repair properly

Exclusions

 Some problems are not covered by this complaints policy. These include situations like:

  • An initial request for a repair or other service
  • Disagreement with a My Space policy or procedure. We encourage comments and feedback on our policies and procedures through our co-production structures
  • Appeals against decisions such as issuing a warning or an allocation decision. These will be dealt with under the relevant appeals processes
  • Complaints about other tenants, noise, harassment or other neighbour disputes. These will be dealt with under our anti-social behaviour policy
  • Complaints or concerns that relate to a safeguarding issue such as abuse or neglect. This will be dealt with through our safeguarding processes
  • Where the matter is part of current legal proceedings or has previously been taken to court or tribunal
  • Any issue that has previously been addressed through this policy

Confidentiality and anonymous complaints

We will respect the confidential nature of the complaints we receive and if the complainant asks us not to speak to particular individuals we will respect their wishes but this may restrict our ability to resolve the complaint

In keeping records about complaints and any access to our complaints register we will comply with relevant data protection requirements under the General Data Protection Regulations

Where complaints are made anonymously we will investigate wherever possible however without specific details this may not always be possible although we will always record such complaints.

My Space has a zero tolerance approach to victimisation of complainants and complainants can be assured that they will not be treated in a negative way as a result of making a complaint.

Group complaints

Occasionally the same complaint may be made by a number of people. A group complaint will be dealt with using the same process as a complaint made by one person. In these circumstances, where it is appropriate we will communicate with the “lead complainant” if one is identified.

Support for people wishing to complain

A leaflet outlining the complaints policy and procedure is available and can be made available in different formats on request.

My Space will work with family members and other advocates such as social workers or the CAB in order to resolve a complaint. Complainants are also able to speak with the Housing Ombudsman for support during the process of a complaint.

Timescales

My Space Housing Solutions has a two stage process for addressing complaints, however it is good practice to try and resolve minor complaints at a local level. 

When a concern is raised locally it should be dealt with immediately as part of good customer care. Low level complaints should still be logged locally as a complaint even if dealt with immediately. A response letter detailing the actions taken should still be sent and attached to the complaint on our internal system.

We will assess whether we feel we could resolve the issue for you quickly. If we think we can do so, we will contact you to discuss this with you within 24 hours of receipt of your complaint with the hope of resolving your issue.  If we cannot, your complaint will be dealt with in the following way:

Investigation

  • We will acknowledge all complaints within 5 working days.
  • We will send a full written response within 10 working days of the receipt of the complaint. If an investigation requires longer than this, we will contact the complainant and keep them fully informed of the progress of their complaint and when they can expect a full response. This should not exceed 20 working days from receipt of the complaint without good reason.

Review

  • If the complaint is not satisfied and is escalated we will send a response no later than 20 working days from the request to escalate. If a review requires longer than this we will contact the complainant and keep them fully informed of the progress of their complaint and when they can expect a full response. This should not exceed 30 working days from request to escalate without good reason.

The complaints policy and procedure stages are sequential and any complaint will be dealt with fully under each stage. There is no option to skip to specific stages. We will only usually investigate complaints which were made within 12 months of the event which caused the complaint

Housing Ombudsman Service

If a complaint has been through our internal complaints procedure and still not been resolved, complianants have the right to ask their complaint to be looked at by the Housing Ombudsman. My Space will cooperate fully with the Housing Ombudsman and their timescales.

Monitoring and Learning from Complaints

Regular monitoring will take place by the Chief Operating Officer to ensure that procedures are being followed. Reports will be provided to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) every quarter and to Board every year. The reports will highlight:

  • The number of complaints.
  • The nature of complaints.
  • Trends in the numbers and types of complaints and action taken or proposed to improve these areas of service.
  • Areas of concern.
  • Any compensation paid.

Performance indicators on complaints will also be provided to the Board and they will be notified immediately of any major complaints.

The number and type of complaints will be published in the Association’s Annual Report.

Random or specific customer satisfaction checks will be undertaken to ascertain whether complainants are satisfied with the way that their complaints have been handled.

Staff Training

Staff will be trained to ensure the proper implementation of the Complaints Policy and supporting procedures and this will be included in induction training for all new members of staff. Staff will be trained to adopt a positive attitude to customer feedback. They will be expected:

  • To try to put things right quickly if this is within their power. If it is not, they will refer the matter to the appropriate person as outlined in the complaints guidance
  • To give appropriate information to make it easy for someone to complain in a way that suits them

Persistent or Repetitious Complaints and Unacceptable behaviour

My Space wishes to respond positively to any concerns or complaints however very occasionally we may reject a complaint without a detailed investigation if we feel that it is deliberately repetitious. This is most likely to apply where the matter has been the subject of a previous complaint that has been dealt with to the best of our ability or the complainant is asking us to look at the same matter again

Relatively few of our customers behave in a way that is unacceptable or unreasonable however on occasions a complainant may behave in a way that is angry or aggressive towards staff. Where complaints result in a situation where My Space needs to protect staff from unacceptable behaviour such as unreasonable persistence or offensive behaviour from the complainant, the Association has adopted the Ombudsman’s Unacceptable Actions Policy.

Unacceptable behaviour may result in a restriction of the contact the Association has with the complainant and threats or use of physical violence, verbal abuse or harassment may result in the incidents being reported to the police.

Review of this policy

This policy will be reviewed where:

  • There are significant changes to legislation or regulation
  • There are found to be deficiencies in this policy as a result of complaints or findings from any independent organisations.

In any event this policy will be reviewed no later than 3 years from the effective date of this version