Working with residents throughout our complaints process

In August, L&Q and THT residents joined our Housing Quality Assurance team to help us explore and improve the way we handle complaints.

We know when a complaint is lodged, it’s usually because something’s gone wrong in your home. We’re sorry that sometimes the way we handle your complaint can add to the stress and worry you may already be feeling.

We want to get to a place where you don’t have a reason to complain to us, but when you do, you feel listened to and you’re confident that we’ll put things right.

In August, residents and officers came together to explore what a positive, solutions-focused approach to complaints handling looks like.

What you said

Residents agreed that the complaints process is an opportunity for us to work better with you towards a solution that everyone is happy with.

It’s also an opportunity to build shared understanding and trust with you by being open and clear about what we’ll do to help you.

Here are some key principles on how we can better our complaints handling process. You want us to:

  • recognise how serious and urgent the issue that you’re facing is, and empathise with you
  • acknowledge receiving every complaint and demonstrate that we’re listening no matter how a complaint has come in
  • make the process of raising a complaint easy. We should inform you when a certain complaint has already been raised 
  • keep you informed on the next steps and the process
  • manage expectations with realistic timescales
  • be transparent about how we’ll address the issue, by who and when. Provide a dashboard to show where you’re in the process
  • give you a single point of contact, someone who knows the ins and out
  • make sure you’re happy with the results before closing a case

What’s changing

Based on your feedback, we’ve developed our complaints-handling process and training for colleagues.

We understand that if you need to log a complaint with us, the next actions we take to resolve your concern are crucial. That’s why we aim to contact you by the end of the working day after logging your complaint, to acknowledge it and to ensure the person handling your complaint fully understands your concerns.

In general, this will be a phone call, unless you have told us that you prefer to be contacted in a different way.

You can make a complaint in many ways, like over the phone, in a letter, online and via a third party (with your consent). We also accept petitions from residents where there are five or more residents with the same issue.

We’ll make sure we introduce ourselves as your main point of contact and gather as much detail about your complaint. We’ll ask you what you want to see done, to make sure we get the best outcome for you. We’ll also talk you through the next steps, what to expect and when you will hear from us next.

After investigating your complaint, we’ll contact you to discuss our proposed resolution and make sure that we deliver the best possible outcome for you. We’ll always follow this up in writing, and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re happy with the results before closing the case.

We’ve also taken on board your comments regarding the way we write to you about a complaint and have made some changes.

Things for us to consider in the future

That’s not all – we’ll embed your views in our complaints handling process, and make sure our staff are consistently following the process when working with you.

Your feedback will help set up real-life scenarios and understand the impact that raising a complaint has on you. This will also help us develop best practice guides, which we aim to share across the business.

Some of your comments such as providing a dashboard to show you where you’re in the process are part of a longer-term system change.

Looking ahead – involving residents in quality assurance and complaints learning

Improving our complaints handling was one of many processes we got residents involved with. We now want you to be a part of and review our quality assurance process.

So, in the coming year, we’ll share these opportunities with you through our resident involvement mailing list. If you’re not already on the mailing list and would like to sign up.

We’ll also be looking at how we can reduce complaints by adapting our housing management services to you, with a particular focus on our services and reducing your reasons to complain to us.

Our goal is to prevent issues from happening in the first place, so you never have a reason to complain to us.