Our Housing Department is regulated by the Regulator of Social Housing and falls under the remit of the Housing Ombudsman for complaints. This is different to the rest of the council which is overseen by the Local Government Ombudsman.
The Housing Services Team is committed to delivering an excellent housing service. Whilst we always strive to meet your needs, on occasions we may fall short of your expectations.
In such circumstances we would always encourage you to contact us at the earliest opportunity as we may be able to simply resolve or put the issue right for you.
If, however, you do feel that a complaint is appropriate, the housing services complaints guide - available in the related document section of this web page - sets out how the council will deal with complaints relating to its social (council) housing services. By this we mean those services delivered to council tenants in council homes. All complaints (housing specific and non-housing) will be dealt with under our Complaints and compliments policy; this sets out how the council will deal with complaints.
Our investigations will:
- review the history of the situation and examine relevant documentation
- carry out interviews with employees and/or relevant people.
Our decision making will be:
- within stipulated time scales
- effectively communicated
- proportionate - if a complainant makes unreasonable demands, which are outside the boundaries of our service delivery this will be communicated to the complainant as early as possible.
Putting things right
We are committed to using the complaints process as a learning experience and where appropriate we will put things right. This can be done in a variety of ways including re-attending a repair job, reviewing a decision, offering an apology or explanation, and/or arriving at a solution which may prevent issues reoccurring.
We will also make amendments to policies or procedures or to the way a service is provided, if it is found these are leading to dissatisfaction with the service. We will always seek to rectify the situation where possible.
Who can complain?
Any tenant or leaseholder who feels that they have had a poor service from us or from someone providing the service for us and has tried to get the problem solved by speaking to someone in the relevant department.
We understand that you may be unable or reluctant to make a complaint yourself. Therefore, we can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate, on your behalf. If you ask someone to make a complaint on your behalf, we will ask you to give formal consent for them to discuss your personal information or send any documents containing personal information to you directly, for you to share with your advocate, should you wish to.
If you are not a tenant or leaseholder of the Council you cannot use the Housing complaints procedure to complain about someone who is a tenant or leaseholder.
Making a complaint
You can make a complaint through:
- online form
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- telephone: 01623 450000 (option 1)
- by post or by visiting our offices:
Ashfield District Council
Kirkby in Ashfield
- via our Facebook page
- or via Twitter.
If you do feel that it is necessary to make a complaint about our housing service it is extremely helpful if you can explain what you are concerned about and how you would like it resolved as this may mean we can rectify the issue for you in a much quicker timescale and to your satisfaction.
Complaints managed by the Housing Ombudsman will be investigated in 2 stages, as set out within the Housing Ombudsman Housing Complaints Code.
Stage One: Formal response from the Head of Service or Service Manager
The complainant submits the complaint which will be acknowledged in writing within 5 days and then investigated by the appropriate Head of Service or Service Manager.
The complainant will receive a written response to their complaint within 10 working days from the first working day after the date we receive the complaint. The response will confirm the outcome of the investigation and what action, if any, will be taken.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the stage one response, they can request that the complaint is escalated to stage two. The request should contain new or additional information that is relevant to their continued dissatisfaction.
Stage Two: Review and response from the Director of Housing and Assets (Deputy CEO)
The complainant can request their complaint to be reviewed by the Director of Housing and Assets (Deputy CEO).
The complaint will be acknowledged in writing within 5 days and then investigated by the Director of Housing and Assets (Deputy CEO).
A full review of the case will be undertaken, and a written response will be provided within 20 working days from the first working day after the date we receive the complaint.
Stage two of the complaints process concludes out complaints process and once complete will have exhausted our internal process. If a complainant remains dissatisfied with the response and findings by the Director of Housing and Assets (Deputy CEO), at stage two, they can refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman.
Out tenants can contact the Housing Ombudsman for support and advice regarding our landlord functions or existing complaints at any stage of the process, including prior to submitting a stage one complaint.
However, the Housing Ombudsman will only commence formal investigation into a complaint if the complainant has exhausted our complaints process.
Once a complaint is received by the Housing Ombudsman a decision will be made on whether to:
- investigate the complaint
- discontinue investigation of the complaint.
Should the Housing Ombudsman decide to undertake an investigation into a complaint, they will liaise with us to request any information they require to support their investigations.This will typically include any copies of documents, policies and information that supported the decision making at each stage of the process. Once the Housing Ombudsman has completed their investigation, they will communicate their decision to both the complainant and Ashfield District Council in order that any recommendations can be actioned or implemented.
The Housing Ombudsman Service contact details:
- telephone: 0300 111 3000
- fax: 0207 831 1942
- email: email@example.com
Housing Ombudsman Service
PO Box 152
You can find out more information about the Housing Ombudsman on their website:
- website: Housing Ombudsman
Housing Ombudsman complaint handling code: Self-assessment
The Housing Ombudsman have a complaint handling code, which sets out their expectations of how member landlords will manage complaints received, that fall within their jurisdiction. Some areas of the code are mandatory; these are specified as 'must' in the code by the Ombudsman and others are given as advisory, specified as 'should' in the code.
To demonstrate compliance with the code, the Housing Ombudsman requires all member landlords to complete and publish an annual self-assessment against the code.
Our self-assessment is available in the related documents section of this web page, the outcome of which has been reviewed by senior managers and elected members.
Housing complaints satisfaction
Once we have responded to a stage one housing complaint, we'd like to know how satisfied the complainant is with how their complaint was handled and the outcome.
When we respond to a stage one housing complaint we will include information on how we have fully considered your complaint in line with our complaints policy. We will also include details of how the complainant can complete a short satisfaction survey.
In order to assist with improving our services we are grateful for complainants taking the time to provide feedback with how satisfied they are with their complaint was handled and / or the outcome of the complaint.
You can do this through our online form, or download a copy to send back to us from the related documents section of this page.
Completing the survey
The survey asks you to indicate if you were satisfied with:
Handling of the complaint
- The handling of your complaint
This refers to issues such as how we communicated to you during the process or the length of time we took to respond.
- The staff who dealt with your complaint were helpful and polite
This refers to the approach of our staff when dealing with your complaint.
- How easy the process to access and understand
This refers to how easy it was for you to understand what is required to follow the process.
Outcome of the complaint
- The outcome of your complaint
This refers to issues such as whether we addressed all the issues which concerned you and whether we resolved those issues to your satisfaction or in a reasonable manner.
- The areas of your complaints were addressed
This refers to your complaint and that we have set out how we have addressed each element of your complaint.
- The reasons for the outcome of your complaint were fully explained
This refers to issues regarding the explanation and that we set out the reasons for our decision.
Contacting us regarding Housing complaints
If you have any questions regarding the Housing complaints process, you can contact the Complaints Standards Lead Officer:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- telephone: 01623 450000 - option 1