Ensuring a consistent and effective approach to dealing with complaints remains a priority for us.
Following a self-assessment against the Complaint Handling Code, which has been produced by the Housing Ombudsman (the sector body that has an overview of complaints), we have identified further actions that will improve our approach.
These actions will include:
- Developing an agreed approach to how we deal with complaints on social media; and how we support RCVE members when they receive customer complaints on RCVE social media channels.
- Reviewing our Customer Feedback Procedure.
- Introducing a revised Complaints Policy.
How we dealt with your complaints
We received 4,875 complaints between April 2020 and March 2021.
46% of the complaints we received were about repairs, 12% were about behaviour of staff and 8% were about how we manage tenancies.
Most complaints (93%; 4,553) were resolved by our local teams at the first stage of our process, whilst 320 were reviewed and resolved at the second stage of our process.
A small number of complaints (24) were considered by the Housing Ombudsman Service, a Government body that can look independently at a complaint when a landlord and customer have not been able to agree on the outcome. They found that Riverside had acted reasonably on 8 of the complaints, there had been failings in our service on 12 complaints (e.g. not responding in time, not providing a full response) and that we had not acted properly in response to four complaints. We carried out a full review on these four complaints, which related to our repairs service, The Right to Acquire Process, Tenancy Management, and a Tenancy application.
Learning from complaints
In the last financial year 2020/2021 there have been 12 Determinations where there has been a finding of service failure or maladministration by Riverside.
These complaints have resulted in the below change of practice:
- Riverside has committed to review the service charge for 2021/22 in the Liverpool City Region area.
- Recruitment of additional staff within Asset Services to support complaint handling for Riverside Home Ownership.
- Review of “rechargeable repairs” process by the Customer Experience squad and training sessions provided for Customer Service Centre staff. Rechargeable repairs will be included in both the Income Collection Policy & Responsive Repairs policy, both currently under review.
- In Care and Support region 5 (which includes the Midlands, West Midlands and South West) all warning markers were reviewed and the Warning Marker procedure now includes a mechanism to ensure markers are reviewed at set intervals throughout the year.
- The Building Safety team has reviewed Gas Servicing letters, which have been amended and are currently being reviewed by the Riverside Customer Voice Executive (RCVE).
- The Asset Management team has worked with their key cyclical decorating contractor to develop an improvement plan in response to those complaints. The RCVE was an integral part of this joint working and in driving forward some of these actions. This included reviewing and improving letters and introducing a new Customer Brochure which provides more detailed information regarding investment work we plan to carry out at an earlier stage in the process. This will supplement the Client Notification Letter which has historically only let customers know that work is to be carried out without providing real detail on what to expect.
- Riverside Direct has a recruited a Lead Planner directly as a result of complaints around appointment issues, which will help us improve in this area and ensure planners are working efficiently. There are now also Customer Care officers in post to manage complaints effectively.