Complaints Policy – June 2024

Owner: Customer Experience Manager

Version 8.0

Purpose/Changes Compliance review

Approval Date 13/06/2024

Approved By Heads of Service

Suggested Review Date April 2027

Version 7.2/7.1/7.0 – Purpose/Changes Compliance Review/Compliance Review/Annual Review – Approval Date 11/05/2023/13/10/2022/14/02/2022 – Approved By Heads of Service/Heads of Service/Community Voice Suggested Review Date February 2025

Version 6.0 – Purpose/Changes Compliance Review – Approval Date 26/01/2021 – Approved By Group Common Board Suggested Review Date January 2022

Version 5.0 – Purpose/Changes Health Check – Approval Date 03/04/2019 Approved By Heads of Service – Suggested Review Date December 2021

1.1 A complaint shall be defined 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.

1.2 At Ongo, we do our best to get things right and provide an excellent level of service. However, we recognise that things can go wrong and that there may be reason to complain.

1.3 We welcome all feedback via all communication channels to ensure that we continue to improve our services and learn from complaints and feedback to prevent similar problems in the future.

1.4 We recognise any dissatisfaction with the level of service you receive as a complaint. However, if we can help resolve your problem straight away we will, and will give you a choice if you want to make a complaint.

1.5 We support you to make a complaint by making the process as easy as possible. We will always treat our customers with respect and will not treat differently because they have complained.

1.6 Your complaint will be resolved quickly and completely, ensuring we listen to your opinion and understand fully what your complaint is about. Your complaint will be considered on the individual set of circumstances presented to us.

2.1 All customers of Ongo Homes (OH) and those who may have been affected by a service we or someone working on behalf of us has provided.

2.2 Anyone helping to make a complaint on behalf of one of our customers (for example a family member, friend, support worker, MP or Councillor) or as part of a collective complaint, providing consent from the customer is given.

2.3 Non-tenants who have suffered or who have been negatively affected as a result of the actions of an employee, a contractor or work carried out by OH.

2.4 Only our employees and companies providing a service on behalf of OH are included in this policy. We cannot take complaints that are outside of our control (for example complaints about other landlords, Government Policies or external companies).

3.1 Requests for service, this is a request from you to put something right and usually a first request. These types of requests are not complaints but we will record these to ensure we resolve your request where we can. If you are not happy with our response to your request for service a complaint will be raised.

3.2 We will not take complaints about damage to personal property unless it has been caused by something we have done or have failed to do. We advise you take out appropriate household contents insurances in the event of any unforeseen incidents.

3.3 We will only accept complaints if they are made within 12 months of when you first became aware of the problem. We may apply discretion if there are exceptional reasons to accept a complaint outside of these time limits.

3.4 We will not investigate a complaint that has already been investigated through the OH complaints procedure unless new information is presented or it is a reoccurring problem that has not been resolved from your initial complaint.

3.5 Any complaints regarding anti-social behaviour or nuisance by your neighbours will be dealt under our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy. Although complaints about the way we have handled your anti-social behaviour case can be dealt with under this policy, reviews under the Community Trigger are subject to the Local Authorities external process.

3.6 We will not investigate complaints where a complainant’s behaviour is abusive or threatening in line with our Unacceptable Behaviour Procedure. This can include abusive or threatening behaviour, unreasonable demands and unreasonable persistence on the same issue. We always ensure we discuss this behaviour with the customer in the first instance before restricting contacts or refusing a complaint. We will always consider our duties under the equality act and ensure any reasonable adjustment are put in place to support a customer to access complaint services where appropriate.

3.7 Decisions around the allocation of our homes will not be dealt with under this policy and will be under the appropriate appeals process. However, if you are dissatisfied with the way in which your allocation has been handled, it will be covered under this Complaints Policy.

3.8 We will not accept the complaint under this policy if legal proceedings have started. This is defined as details of the claim, such as the claim form and particulars of claim, having been filed at court.

3.9 A detailed explanation will be provided to the customer setting out the reasons why the matter is not suitable for the complaints process. All explanations will be confirmed in writing to the customer. Customers have the right to challenge this decision by taking their complaint to the Housing Ombudsman. Where appropriate the Ombudsman will instruct the landlord to take on the complaint.

4.1 We will make every effort to resolve any expressions of dissatisfaction with you when you first contact us. We will consider each complaint based on the individual set of circumstances.

4.2 If we cannot resolve your complaint when we first speak with you or you feel that a complaint should be made, we will support you to make a complaint.

4.3 A representative can deal with your complaint on your behalf, and you can be represented and / or accompanied at any meeting with us where this has been requested or offered and where this is reasonable.

4.4 We can only resolve your complaint if you provide us with all the relevant information and are clear about what you want us to do to resolve the matter. We ask you to work with the complaint investigator to enable them to make the right decision based on accurate information and the facts. We cannot investigate anonymous, unsigned complaints but these may be kept on record.

4.5 Complaints can be made through all communication methods which include social media platforms made directly to Ongo newsfeeds or pages. When a complaint is made through social media, we will endeavour to resolve the issue at first point of contact. Should we need further information we will ask you to discuss the complaint in a private setting to ensure your privacy and confidentiality is maintained.

4.6 Stage 1 complaint investigation

4.6.1 We will acknowledge your complaint with 5 working days and let you know who will be dealing with your complaint and we will communicate the date we will respond by.

4.6.2 Your complaint will be investigated and completed within 10 working days. If we are unable to do this, we will inform you, explain the reasons why and we will then extend the complaint timescale by no more than ten working days.

4.6.3 We will keep you informed throughout the investigation where it has been agreed to do so.

4.6.4 We will discuss the findings of the investigation with you before responding with the stage 1 decision. We will try to find a solution to make the matter right where this is possible. We will then provide you with a written response of our decision at that time. On occasion there may be actions to resolve your complaint. We will continue to track these actions until they are completed and your complaint is fully resolved as agreed

4.7 Stage 2 complaint investigation

4.7.1 If you are unhappy with the outcome or handling of the stage 1 complaint, you can ask for your complaint to be looked at again. Your stage 2 request will be logged and acknowledged within five working days. Stage 2 will be investigated by an appropriate leader that is independent from the stage 1 decision.

4.7.2 We will review your complaint and the stage 1 response and provide you with a final decision within 20 working days of when the complaint was raised, in line with the Housing Ombudsman Code.

4.7.3 We will keep you informed throughout the investigation and will agree any extensions to timescales with you which will be no more than a further 20 working days.

4.7.4 We will discuss the findings of the investigation with you before giving you a final written response. We will try to find a solution to make the matter right where this is possible. This response will complete our complaint process.

4.8 If you are still unhappy

4.8.1 Although we will make every effort to resolve your complaint, if you are still unhappy with the outcome you have the following options:

• If you are a tenant, leaseholder or housing applicant, you can take the issue further by contacting the Housing Ombudsman (see below). We will ensure that the information on how to contact the Housing Ombudsman is easily available during every stage of the complaints process
• If your complaint is in relation to the reasonableness and costs relating to service charges, you can contact the First Tier Tribunal Service for further guidance4.7.1 We will acknowledge your complaint during your initial contact and let you know who will be dealing with your complaint.

4.9 Housing Ombudsman

4.9.1 The Housing Ombudsman Service can assist throughout the lifetime of a complaint. Complainants have the opportunity to discuss their ongoing complaint with the Housing Ombudsman Service.

4.9.2 The Housing Ombudsman will support complaint resolution between you and us and will formally investigate a complaint once you have completed our complaints process fully. We will co-operate fully with all requests from the Housing Ombudsman to support them in their findings and comply with the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code.

Contact details for the Housing Ombudsman are:
Housing Ombudsman Service
PO Box 152
L33 7WQ
Telephone: 0300 111 3000
Online complaint form:

5.1 Where things have gone wrong we will acknowledge this with you and consider what the appropriate remedies are to put things right. Remedies can take a range of forms, examples are – an apology, taking action, changing a decision, replacing an item or a financial payment. We will consider the most appropriate remedies to reflect the impact of the failure.

5.2 If it is found that compensation should be given as part of a complaint remedy, we will deal with it under this policy and not the compensation policy.

6.1 Our customer facing staff and those involved in complaint investigations will receive full complaints training, with periodic refresher training. Regular complaint information will be shared to all departments to enable service changes where required.

6.2 We will ensure our complaint policy and procedure complies with the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code. This will be published on our website along with information about the Housing Ombudsman.

6.3 We will monitor that we keep to agreed timescales through various performance reports to our management teams.

6.4 We will monitor that we have kept you informed, resolved your complaint fully and how happy you are with the handling of your complaint. We will do this via a satisfaction survey. This information will be reported to our Leadership Team, Customer Engagement structures of involvement and the Ongo Homes Board.

6.6 Our overall performance will also be monitored by our Tenants Complaint Monitoring Group which provides us with a customer perspective on the quality of our complaints handling, what trends are emerging and what we’ve done to prevent similar complaints happening again.

6.7 We will report on our performance and how we have improved our services through complaints to our customers. We will do this by publishing the Complaint Performance and Service improvement report on our website alongside our complaint handling code self-assessment; by providing a quarterly performance summary on our website. We share and publish any finding from the Housing Ombudsman and share our performance and self-assessment within our annual report each year.

6.8 A self-assessment against the latest Housing Ombudsman complaint handling code will be conducted annually. We will then ensure that the annual submission to the Housing Ombudsman will be carried before the stated submission deadline.

7.1 Other policies and legislation

Document or legislation and what it is

Anti-Social Behaviour Policy:

Any complaints from one resident about another are dealt with under the Anti-Social Behaviour Policy. We will only investigate complaints about the Ongo Homes Anti-Social Behaviour service. We cannot investigate complaints that refer to the Safer Neighbourhoods Community Trigger.

Compensation Policy:

Any compensation offered as part of a complaint will follow the guidelines set out in the compensation policy.

Choice Based Lettings Policy:

Initial appeals against an allocation decision are dealt with under the Choice Based Lettings Policy.

Customer Charter:

We will ensure we follow the principles of the customer charter whilst investigating complaints

Equality and Diversity Policy:

We believe everyone has the right to fair and equal treatment and recognise that people who use our services come from diverse backgrounds. We ensure we follow the principles set out in this policy.

First Tier Tribunal:

The First-tier tribunal – Property Chamber (Residential Property) provides an independent service for settling disputes involving leasehold property.

Housing Ombudsman Service:

The Housing Ombudsman is set up by law to look at complaints about housing organisations. The service is free, independent and impartial. Only tenants and resident leaseholders can use this service.

8.1 In three years time. An earlier review will be completed if required.