One of our priorities this year has been to work with customers to improve our approach to complaints, so they are dealt with more quickly and effectively. Our new process will mean more complaints can be resolved by our local teams, and we will update a customer on the progress of their complaint at an agreed time.
In 2019 we launched a new complaints satisfaction survey using text messages to reach more customers and get your views on how we have handled your complaints. Feedback we have received so far from this survey has shown that in some cases we have been closing complaints too soon, before they have been fully dealt with. We have made changes to make sure we only close complaints when we are certain that all agreed actions have been carried out.
To help us compare how we are doing, we share information about our performance with a group of housing associations of a similar type and size. We compare ourselves to the worst, average and best performers and use the latest available performance information.
We received 4,866 complaints between April 2019 and March 2020.
Half (50%) of the complaints we received were about repairs, 15% were about customer care and 8% were about how we manage tenancies.
The vast majority of complaints (86%; 4168) were resolved by our local teams at the first stage of our process. The remaining complaints (698) were reviewed and resolved at the second stage of our process.
Just under half of the complaints we received were upheld or partially upheld. One in three of your complaints were upheld at our first stage, and just under one in ten partially upheld. At our second stage just 7% of your complaints were upheld and 2% partially upheld.
Learning from complaints
We look at complaints outcomes and trends to learn how we can improve our service. Some examples in 2019-20 were:
- Senior managers in our repairs and maintenance teams met weekly throughout the year to look at complaints received, how they should be resolved, and whether we needed to change how we do things to prevent similar complaints in the future. We used information from complaints about missed appointments, lack of operative time to complete repairs and how we plan follow up work to improve how we provide services.
- We have improved how we communicate to customers about building safety checks. We now provide customer leaflets outlining the importance of these important checks, and how customers can contribute to the safety of their homes. We have improved how we identify and remove customers’ possessions that have been left in communal areas and present a fire safety risk. As well as putting stickers on items which need to be removed, we also send customer letters to advise them of the risk and to support their removal.