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Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code

Compliance with the Complaint Handling Code : Self-Assessment Form

  Standard Yes No
1 Definiton of a complaint    
 

Does the complaints process use the following definition of a complaint?

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.

Y  
 

Does the policy have exclusions where a complaint will not be considered?

Y  
 

Are these exclusions reasonable and fair to residents?

Evidence relied upon

We have ‘Unreasonably persistent complainant guidance’. This guidance also reflects the “Guidance note on ‘unreasonably persistent’ complainants and ‘unreasonable complainant behaviour’” issued by the Local Government Ombudsman in January 2007.

   
2 Accessibility    
 

Are multiple accessibility routes available for residents to make a complaint?

Y  
 

Is the complaints policy and procedure available online?

Y  
 

Do we have a reasonable adjustments policy?

Although we do not have a formal adjustments policy, the Council does make reasonable adjustments to support customers whenever this is required.

  N
 

Do we regularly advise residents about our complaints process?

We include information on the Council’s complaints process in our Tenants Handbook. Going forward we will also include regular items on complaints within our Tenants Newsletter.

  N
3 Complaints team and process    
 

Is there a complaint officer or equivalent in post?

Y  
 

Does the complaint officer have autonomy to resolve complaints?

Y  
 

Does the complaint officer have authority to compel engagement from other departments to resolve disputes?

Y  
 

If there is a third stage to the complaints procedure are residents involved in the decision making?

  N
 

Is any third stage optional for residents? 

  N
 

Does the final stage response set out residents’ right to refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman Service?

Y  
 

Do we keep a record of complaint correspondence including correspondence from the resident?

We keep records at stage 2 and 3, however not currently for the informal dissatisfaction stage, we will begin to do this from January 2021.

Y  
 

At what stage are most complaints resolved?

At present we do not log the informal dissatisfaction stage consistently, however given the number of these that move to a formal complaint stage, we believe most complaints are resolved at the initial dissatisfaction stage.

KBC are currently transitioning into a unitary authority, and from April 2021 will be part of North Northamptonshire Council. As of January 2021 we will be logging and monitoring complaints at every stage.

   
4 Communication    
 

Are residents kept informed and updated during the complaints process?

Y  
 

Are residents informed of the landlord’s position and given a chance to respond and challenge any area of dispute before the final decision?

Although we do not generally give residents an opportunity to challenge areas in dispute, we do so for particularly complex cases. 

  N
 

Are all complaints acknowledged and logged within five days?

Y  
 

Are residents advised of how to escalate at the end of each stage?

Y  
 

What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage one?

KBC are currently transitioning into a unitary authority, and from April 2021 will be part of North Northamptonshire Council. As of January 2021 we will be logging and monitoring complaints at every stage and will be able to analyse this information going forward.

   
 

What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage two?

KBC are currently transitioning into a unitary authority, and from April 2021 will be part of North Northamptonshire Council. As of January 2021 we will be logging and monitoring complaints at every stage and will be able to analyse this information going forward.

   
 

What proportion of complaint responses are sent within Code timescales?

  • Stage one
  • Stage one (with extension)
  • Stage two
  • Stage two (with extension)

KBC are currently transitioning into a unitary authority, and from April 2021 will be part of North Northamptonshire Council. As of January 2021 we will be logging and monitoring complaints at every stage and will be able to analyse this information going forward.

   
 

Where timescales have been extended did we have good reason?

Y  
 

Where timescales have been extended did we keep the resident informed?

Y  
 

What proportion of complaints do we resolve to residents’ satisfaction

At present we do not ask for feedback on satisfaction, however we will introduce this from January 2021.

   
5 Cooperation with Housing Ombudsman Service    
 

Were all requests for evidence responded to within 15 days?

Y  
 

Where the timescale was extended did we keep the Ombudsman informed?

Y  
6 Fairness in complaint handling    
 

Are residents able to complain via a representative throughout?

Y  
 

If advice was given, was this accurate and easy to understand?

Y  
 

How many cases did we refuse to escalate?

We have not refused to escalate any cases. However, we do ask that complaints are looked at by the relevant officer/manager in the first instance rather than straight to Head of Service or Executive Liaison Officer, in line with our Corporate Complaints Policy.

What was the reason for the refusal?

   
 

Did we explain our decision to the resident?

We do explain our complaints policy and procedure to residents who want to report a dissatisfaction/complaint.

   
7 Outcomes and Remedies    
 

Where something has gone wrong are we taking appropriate steps to put things right?

Y  
8 Continuous Learning and Improvement    
 

What improvements have we made as a result of learning from complaints?

On an ad-hoc basis we have put action plans in place where necessary.

Examples of improvements from these action plans include:

  • Learning from complaints forms part of team meetings
  • New and refresher staff training
  • Review of customer journey for Housing Options
  • Review of customer journey for Repairs
  • Learning from customer journey reviews placed on manager work plans
   
 

How do we share these lessons with:

 

  • residents?

From January 2021 onwards we will be sharing lessons learnt from complaints with residents via our resident newsletter, our Annual Report to Tenants and via our website.

  • the board/governing body?

Stage 3 complaints are shared with members of the Strategic Management Team on a quarterly basis.

Stage 3 complaints and MP enquiries are also reported to the Council’s Monitoring and Audit Committee, with a breakdown of the number and category for each service area.

  • In the Annual Report?

A lessons learnt from complaints section will feature in future Annual Reports to Tenants.

   
 

Has the Code made a difference to how we respond to complaints?

The code has highlighted gaps in our logging and monitoring processes and emphasised the need to regularly review and learn from complaints.

   
 

What changes have we made?

As of January 2021 we will:

  • begin a more consistent approach of logging and monitoring complaints at the informal dissatisfaction (initial) stage
  • include regular articles on how to make a complaint in our resident newsletter
  • regularly review the volume, category and outcome of complaints, analysing the issues and trends
  • publish learning from complaints in our Annual Report to Tenants as well as the resident newsletter
  • ask residents for their feedback as to whether their complaint has been resolved to their satisfaction