Making a Complaint
Please complete this online reporting form to make a complaint about the service you have received from us.
For other complaints regarding Neighbour Disputes, Neighbour Nuisance or any other Anti-Social Behaviour, please contact our Tenancy Services Team via 0800 833 160.
What will we do?
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.Report a complaint form
Definition of a Complaint
Informal complaints are defined as:
Expressions of minor dissatisfaction or minor failure in service which can be quickly rectified. Information complaints either do not warrant a full investigation, or the customer specifically states they do not wish to take the matter any further through the complaints’ procedure. When you make an informal complaint to us, we will try to resolve the problem, and this should happen within 10 days of you contacting us.
Effective complaint handling should be a resident 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.
A complaint is 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.
The resident does not have to use the word 'complaint' for it to be treated as such. We should recognise the difference between an informal complaint (pre-formal complaint), survey feedback and a formal complaint and take appropriate steps to resolve the issue for residents as early as possible.
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. (N.B. it may not be appropriate to rely on this exclusion 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. 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.
- The complaint is being pursued in an unreasonable manner or is considered vexatious.
Timeframes for responding to a complaint
Logging and acknowledgement of complaint (Informal/Formal) – 5 working days.
Stage Zero Informal complaint decision – 10 working days from receipt of informal complaint – if this is not possible, an explanation and a date by when the decision should be received.
Stage One Formal Complaint decision – 10 working days from receipt of complaint – if this is not possible, an explanation and a date by when the stage one response should be received.
Stage Two Formal Complaint response – 20 working days from request to escalate – if this is not possible an explanation and a date when the stage two response will be received.
Extending initial response times
There is discretion to extend response times by ten days at stages 1 and 2 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 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.
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.
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.
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.