Making a Complaint
Please complete our online reporting form to make a complaint about the service you have received from us.Report a complaint form
For other complaints regarding Neighbour Disputes, Neighbour Nuisance or any other Anti-Social Behaviour, please contact our Tenancy Services Team by phoning 0800 833 160 or by email.
If you'd like to know more, you can download and read our full Complaints Policy & Procedure.pdf [pdf] 509KB
What will we do when we receive a complaint?
All complaints will be registered and logged by our Corporate Resources Team. This team will decide which service area your complaint relates to and will ask the relevant service manager to investigate and provide you with a reply. The Corporate Resources Team monitor all complaints and ensure that a reply is sent out to you within the agreed timescale. We aim to provide a full response to your complaint within 10 working days.
If you would prefer to log a complaint via email rather than the online form please email SEHComplaintsandFOIS@seh.southend.gov.uk
Need help making a complaint?
There is lots of helpful advice on how to make a complaint to your landlord on the Housing Ombudsman Service website.
Unhappy with our response to your complaint?
If you’re unhappy with South Essex Homes’ response to your complaint, then you can make a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman. You can contact them at any point during the complaints handling process and the Housing Ombudsman will investigate fairly and impartially. For the purpose of completing their online form please note that the name of your landlord is listed as Southend-on-Sea City Council.
Please download and read our Compensation Policy and Procedure.pdf [pdf] 171KB
If compensation is awarded, a request for a compensation payment will be sent to the Finance Team who will usually register it within one working day of receipt. The payment is then authorised by two approvers and, providing bank details have been supplied, payment should clear in the recipient's account within 7 working days of approval.
Requests are monitored to ensure payments are made within a reasonable timeframe.
Definition of a Complaint
Effective complaint handling should be a customer friendly process that enables residents to be heard, listened to and understood.
The starting point for this is a mutual understanding of what constitutes a complaint.
The resident does not have to use the word ‘complaint’ for it to be treated as such. We should recognise the difference between a service request, survey feedback and a formal complaint and take appropriate steps to resolve the issue for residents as early as possible.
A complaint is also able to be submitted via a third party or representative and will still be handled in line with this Policy.
We classify each complaint we receive under one of the two stages of complaint:
• ‘Stage One’ formal complaint
• ‘Stage Two’ formal complaint
The Housing Ombudsman 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 a group of residents.’ South Essex Homes recognises this definition and adopts it for this policy.
South Essex Homes will accept a complaint unless there is a valid reason not to do so, for example.
- The issue giving rise to the complaint occurred over six months ago. Where the problem is a recurring issue, the landlord should consider any older reports as part of the background to the complaint if this will help to resolve the issue for the resident. There may be situations where we would accept a complaint where the issue occurred over six months ago, e.g. where complaints concern safeguarding or health and safety issues.
- Legal proceedings have been started. We will not look at a complaint where you have ongoing court proceedings or have already had a decision from the court about the same issues which you would like us to investigate.
- Matters that have already been considered under the complaints policy.
- The complaint is being pursued in an unreasonable manner or is considered vexatious.
If South Essex Homes decides not to accept a complaint, a detailed explanation should be provided to the resident setting out the reasons why the matter is not suitable for the complaints process and the residents right to take this decision to the Housing Ombudsman.
Timeframes for responding to a complaint
Logging and acknowledgement of complaint – five working days from receipt.
Stage One Formal Complaint decision – 10 working days from acknowledgement of complaint – if this is not possible, an explanation and a date by when the stage one decision should be received will be provided.
Stage Two Formal Complaint decision – 20 working days from acknowledgement to escalate the matter – if this is not possible an explanation and a date when the stage two decision will be received will be provided.
In all cases the person who considers the Stage Two Complaint will be a senior member of staff and different to the person who considered the Stage One Complaint.
All responses to a resident complaint will make reference to the right of our residents to access the Housing Ombudsman service at any stage for further help and guidance.
Extending initial response times
There is discretion to extend response times by ten days at stages one and two if there is a ‘good reason’. Examples of a ‘good reason’ could include:
- a delay by a third party, over which South Essex Homes has no control, in providing information.
- requiring further time to undertake interviews.
- needing longer to acquire all the information required from multiple sources to enable South Essex homes to properly investigate a long-standing, complex case.
Whether an extension is required should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and residents will be kept informed.
Our commitment to dealing with complaints
South Essex Homes is committed to always providing its customers with a high standard of service. However, we accept that there may be occasions when you are not satisfied with the service which you have received and as a result you may wish to make a complaint.
We try to make it easy for our customers to make a complaint and accept complaints in most formats and from a variety of sources, including email, our online feedback form, letter, telephone, text or message via Facebook or Twitter.
All complaints will be dealt with promptly and in a professional manner by appropriate member(s) of staff. Confidentiality will be preserved as far as is possible.
Complaints relating to nuisance or harassment by neighbours will be dealt with separately, under the Anti–Social Behaviour Policy.
All complaints will be registered and logged by our Corporate Resources Team. This team will decide which service area your complaint relates to and will ask the relevant service manager to investigate and provide you with a reply.
The Corporate Resources Team will log all complaints on our Complaints Database and save a copy of the complaint and our response on to Civica (the application that we use to save documents electronically). This team will monitor all complaints and ensure that a reply is sent out to you within the agreed timescale.
Monitoring Our Performance
The Complaint Handling Code - Housing Ombudsman (housing-ombudsman.org.uk) sets out good practice that helps us respond to complaints effectively and fairly. Our latest self-assessment against that code can be viewed here: SEH Self-Assessment - Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code - July 2023.pdf [pdf] 185KB
Details of the number of complaints we receive and compliance with our performance indicators are reported as part of our year end performance information. Wherever possible we will learn from the complaints we receive, and, in each case, we will identify where a lesson or amendment to a service has been identified to improve how we do things. We will record these lessons learned and report them to our Management Team.
As part of the monthly performance monitoring, the Executive Management Team will receive updates on Complaint stages and performance against complaints responded to in target time. The Board will receive information on complaints performance annually.
We ensure that we benchmark against our peers to learn from other organisations within the housing sector on how they provide their service.
South Essex Homes ensures that it monitors the complaints about our contractors. Each contractor will be expected to have a Complaints Policy comparable to the Policy of South Essex Homes. In particular, complaints about the service provided by our larger contractors will be reviewed and discussed with individual contractors at client management meetings and reported to the Board on an exception basis.