Number of complaints
The period April to June has been an extraordinary one. Our services have been affected by COVID-19 and for a while during lockdown some of these were paused.
It is not surprising we are reporting fewer complaints for this period – 137 compared to 208 for the same period last year. This is a 34 per cent reduction.
Around 80 complaints could not be resolved because they were linked to non-essential repairs, which we were not able to complete until lockdown restrictions eased. We kept in touch with these customers throughout to let them know when we could offer to complete the repairs and close their cases.
Length of time to respond
The length of time on average it takes us to respond to complaints has improved. The average is 12 working days against a target of 20 working days.
The reduction in number of complaints will have helped us to improve time taken to respond, but when older repairs complaints affected by lockdown restrictions are concluded, the average time taken to respond will increase.
However long our response takes, it’s important we keep residents updated. Currently, 75% of people tell us they are satisfied we kept them informed, up from 67% this time last year.
Currently, 63% of customers are satisfied with how we have handled their complaints between April and June 2020.
The end of year figure for last year was 54%, so there is evidence of real progress. We have made some changes to help our team work more consistently and we are focusing on the quality of our responses. We hope to further improve on this figure through the rest of the year.
Types of complaints and outcomes
Seventy per cent of our complaints have been about repairs. Our most common complaints about repairs involve leaks and issues with boilers. We also receive complaints about lifts, fencing and damp and mould.
We carry out around 200,000 repairs each year. The number of repairs complaints is a small fraction of this, but they are important because they frustrate and inconvenience our customers.
Other common complaints include service charges, communication and ASB handling.
We resolved 110 complaints between April and June 2020. Of these:
- In 36% of cases we did not agree we had failed in our service delivery
- In 40% of cases we agreed we had failed in our service delivery and agreed with the customer how to put things right
- In 24% of cases we agreed we had failed in part of our service delivery and agreed with the customer how to put things right
We work closely with the Housing Ombudsman Service. If you have a complaint, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service for advice at any point.
How complaints have helped us change our services
Hydewide Residents Eye, which is our resident inspection team has recently concluded a report on its inspection of the complaints service which took place earlier this year.
In response to residents’ recommendations, we have agreed to:
- Incorporate our ‘service recovery’ stage within, not before, the complaints process
- Review our website information with residents
- Wide adoption of the Housing Ombudsman Services’ training for our teams and our contractors
- Better scrutiny of our contractors’ early complaint responses
- Invite resident volunteers to join our Complaints Board – this will happen in September 2020