Hightown Housing Association

Complaints

Hightown Housing Association aims to provide an efficient, effective and sympathetic service to its licensees, tenants, leaseholders and applicants.

From time to time, however, there may be occasions when our customers are less than happy with our response to a particular problem or request. When this happens and the dissatisfaction is brought to our attention, we will try to resolve the complaint as quickly as possible in accordance with the following procedures. To help us investigate your complaint you must bring it to our attention within six months, issues over six months old will not be considered.

At each stage we will consider offering the opportunity of mediation if it might help to resolve the complaint.

Early Stage

To attempt to resolve a complaint at the earliest opportunity, before the need for a formal approach, a complainant will be asked to take the matter within 6 months, in the first instance, to the member of staff concerned or their immediate line manager. We will aim to respond within 7 working days. They will be asked to state what they want us to do to resolve their complaint.

Formal Stage 1

If a complaint is not resolved during the informal stage, you can make a compliant within 14 days to the relevant Senior Manager for the Service, this can be in writing, by phone or in person. The Senior Manager will log your compliant and it will be investigated and we aim to respond within 10 working days.

Formal Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with the Senior Manager's response, within 14 days, you can request your complaint is passed to the Chief Executive who will look at the issue fully and aim to respond within 15 working days.

Formal stage 3

If the complainant is not satisfied with the response from the Chief Executive a panel will be convened within six weeks of hearing from the complainant, made up of the Chair (or Vice Chair of Hightown in the chair’s absence), the Chair of the relevant service Committee (or in their absence another Main Board Member who is a member of the relevant Committee), and a member of the relevant Committee who is a Hightown resident or a service user. The complainant will be offered the opportunity to meet with the panel. Where this may delay matters due to availability of panel members the opportunity will be to meet with at least one member of the panel who is also a member of the Main Board. 

External Remedies

If you still feel that Hightown has not dealt with your complaint satisfactorily you can contact a ‘Designated Person’ who will usually be a local MP or Councillor. The Designated Person may seek to resolve the complaint or progress it directly to the Housing Ombudsman.
 
Once eight weeks have passed since exhausting Hightown’s Complaints Process you may go directly to the Ombudsman, whether you have contacted a Designated Person or not. You can contact the Housing Ombudsman at:
Housing Ombudsman Service
81 Aldwych
London
WC2B 4HN
Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk
Tel: 0300 1113000
 
There may be occasions where the Ombudsman is unable to deal with a complaint as he may not have the authority to do so. The Ombudsman Service will advise you if this is likely to be the case.

Residents of a registered care home or a supported housing service registered under the Care Standards Act (2000) will be advised that they may also contact the Commission for Social Care Inspection at any stage.

Users of a Care & Supported Housing Service that is funded by the County Council, Health Trust or Primary Care Trust will be told that they may contact the relevant organisation if they are not satisfied with the response received from Hightown.

Where a property is managed by Hightown on behalf of another Housing Association the arrangements for making complaints under the management agreement will be made clear to residents / service users.

Leaseholders may apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) if they believe service charges are not reasonable, or if statutory consultation procedures have not been correctly followed. Decisions of the LVT are binding. 

Monitoring

Response times will be monitored through a central logging system and reported to the Senior Management Team, and to Service Committees.
Complaint volumes and outcomes, including changes made to policy or procedures will be published in the Residents newsletter and the Annual Report to Tenants.