All Ventures properties are managed on our behalf by South Tyneside Homes. Together we want to make sure we deliver the best services possible to our customers. We positively encourage feedback in the form of complaints and compliments. This information is extremely valuable as it can tell us and South Tyneside Homes, who deliver our services, how well we are doing and how we can improve.
If you have a complaint or want to make a compliment you should contact South Tyneside Homes. See their complaints and compliments policy. They regularly let us know about the compliments or a complaints they receive from Ventures tenants or stakeholders. This feedback is viewed as an opportunity to learn from what our customers feel about the services they have received.
South Tyneside Homes are best placed to listen to and seek to resolve complaints from Ventures tenants and stakeholders as they deliver services on our behalf. Ventures does not form a part of the complaint resolution process so you should direct your complaint to South Tyneside Homes.
The South Tyneside complaints policy has two key stages to enable complaints to be raised and addressed. The policy also covers what to do if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction including accessing the Housing Ombudsman.
Ventures are regularly updated about the numbers and types of complaints received. Where complaints are not resolved after the second stage of the process, South Tyneside Homes will inform us. We will review all complaints going beyond stage 2 in the policy to ensure:
The Housing Ombudsman Service requires social housing providers to comply with their Complaint Handling Code. Part of this code is a self assessment which housing providers must complete and publish by 31st December 2020. Our self assessment is provided below.
Compliance with the Complaint Handling Code
Definition of a complaint
Does the complaints process use the following definition of a complaint?
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.
Does the policy have exclusions where a complaint will not be considered?
Are these exclusions reasonable and fair to residents?
Evidence relied upon
First time report of a repair
If formal appeal e.g. about Allocations
If not reported within twelve months of the problem occurring
Are multiple accessibility routes available for residents to make a complaint?
Is the complaints policy and procedure available online?
About to be updated.
Do we have a reasonable adjustments policy? - however the policy does refer to the system being 'sensitive to the special needs and circumstances of the complainant
Do we regularly advise residents about our complaints process?
There is a reference and link on front page of STH website
Complaints team and process
Is there a complaint officer or equivalent in post?
Customer Feedback Officers
Does the complaint officer have autonomy to resolve complaints?
Customer Feedback Officers will report direct to the MD or one of two company directors
Does the complaint officer have authority to compel engagement from other departments to resolve disputes?
If there is a third stage to the complaints procedure are residents involved in the decision making?
There is currently a third stage that will be phased out in February 2020
Is any third stage optional for residents?
Designated person is optional and a resident can refer direct to the Ombudsman
Does the final stage response set out residents' right to refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman Service?
The website does refer to residents being able to refer to Ombudsman - after 8 weeks following stage 3 response
Do we keep a record of complaint correspondence including correspondence from the resident?
Policy / Procedure refers to a 'Corporate Feedback System' this enables recording and tracking
At what stage are most complaints resolved?
Most complaints are resolved at stage 1.
Are residents kept informed and updated during the complaints process?
Are residents informed of the landlord's position and given a chance to respond and challenge any area of dispute before the final decision?
Are all complaints acknowledged and logged within five days?
Policy states it should be logged immediately, the website refers to acknowledgement within 3 working days
Are residents advised of how to escalate at the end of each stage?
Yes the website advises of this
What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage one?
What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage two?
What proportion of complaint responses are sent within Code timescales?
· Stage one 100%
Stage one (with extension) - this information is not collected at the moment
· Stage two 100%
Stage two (with extension) - this information is not collected at the moment
Where timescales have been extended did we have good reason?
Extensions are only permissible when the investigating officer had agreed a new timescale with the customer
Where timescales have been extended did we keep the resident informed?
What proportion of complaints do we resolve to residents' satisfaction
50% of complaints were resolved at stage 1 of the complaints process and 42% were resolved at stage 2.
Cooperation with Housing Ombudsman Service
Were all requests for evidence responded to within 15 days?
Where the timescale was extended did we keep the Ombudsman informed?
Fairness in complaint handling
Are residents able to complain via a representative throughout?
If advice was given, was this accurate and easy to understand?
How many cases did we refuse to escalate?
We do not keep data on this, however for the new Complaint code we have started to make a log of refusals.
What was the reason for the refusal?
Did we explain our decision to the resident?
Outcomes and remedies
Where something has gone wrong are we taking appropriate steps to put things right?
Continuous learning and improvement
What improvements have we made as a result of learning from complaints?
STH do update their approach to complaints. This has been evidenced in informal conversations with staff
How do we share these lessons with:
b) the board/governing body?
c) In the Annual Report?
Has the Code made a difference to how we respond to complaints?
The Code has made us look at the arrangements with our managing agent. Whilst we view that arrangement as effective and have confidence in the way STH respond, we recognise that we need to give greater scrutiny to the process and outcomes.
STHVT have ensured that dealing with complaints and adherence to the Code will be covered in the specification for the Management and Maintenance contract.
As a result of the Code, complaints will be a standing agenda item on the Contract Management meetings.
The lack of detailed information about STHVT complaints will be addressed, using the code to pose the questions.
STHVT is proposing as part of an over arching policy to regularly review all complaints which progress beyond stage 2.
Communication with tenants is needed. Update in Tenants Annual report and STHVT website.
What changes have we made?
1. Adopting the reviewed and revised STH Complaints Policy and Procedures.
2. Overarching STHVT policy to Board for approval
3. Contract management meetings with STH with complaints on the agenda
4. Case review of every case not resolved to tenants satisfaction at stage 2