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Dealing with complaints - how we perform

Updated: 23 Sep 2017
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Complaints help us improve our service
Making a complaint

Complaints performance April 2016 – March 2017

The Housing Executive’s complaints procedure is a key element of improving our service to the public.
The procedure provides for a two tier process for formal complaints:
  1. The First stage complaints are investigated by the Regional/Housing Benefit/Grants/Land & Regeneration Managers as appropriate, and if still not satisfied, the complainant may then appeal to the Chief Executive at the second stage.
  2. Where a complainant, after Stage 2, remains dissatisfied, they have recourse to the Commissioner for Complaints who may decide to investigate the case independently of the Housing Executive.

Context

A complaint is not looked upon as a negative to the Housing Executive and its staff but as a valuable vehicle for ensuring the delivery of a high quality service to our customers. The Housing Executive places importance on trying to put things right, when they’re in our control and solve complaints at an early stage. This is one of the reasons that home visits (when appropriate) play an important role at the first stage of the Complaints Process.
Response times as well as the quality of response are closely monitored. While it is important to meet the deadline, some cases, because of the complex nature of the complaint, take longer to resolve than others. The principle that is adopted is that an early response should not be at the expense of a full and thorough investigation.

Performance 2016 / 2017

During the last year, a total of 264 formal complaints were received. This compares with 245 received the previous year. 10 cases were referred and investigated by the Commissioner for Complaints in 2016/17, and only one was partially upheld.
One of the objectives of the complaints procedure is to act promptly to resolve the complaint, thereby reducing the flow of complaints from one stage to the next. During the year 2016/17, 187 First stage complaints were dealt with while 67 proceeded to the Second stage.
We aim to respond to all complaints within 15 working days. Our target is to adhere to this in at least 90% of cases. The overall performance for complaints was 63%.
The target of 90% is a challenging one in light of current restructuring and significant staffing changes, but the Housing Executive are committed to dealing with these challenges and continue to strive to improve our performance in complaints.

Performance tables

Performance 2016 / 2017

Stage 1 Stage 2 Commissioner Total
Within 15 days 158 (85%) 6 (9%) 2 (20%) 166 (76%)
Total 187 67 10 264

Complaints statistics break down of areas 2016/17

Complaints Overall Amount Under 15 days Percentage
1st Stage Belfast Region Landlord Services 51 45 88%
1st Stage South Region Landlord Services 27 24 89%
1st Stage North Region Landlord Services 84 70 83%
1st Stage Grants 11 7 64%
1st Stage Land & Property 0 0 n/a
1st Stage Finance 14 12 86%
2nd Stage Landlord Services 64 6 9%
2nd Stage Grants 3 0 0%
2nd Stage Land & Regeneration 0 0 n/a
2nd Stage Finance 0 0 n/a
Commissioner 10 2 20%
Overall 264 166 63%

Nature of complaints

The Complaints we receive tend to be mainly from Landlord Services with 66% received in relation to maintenance and repairs or housing. Other key significant areas are Housing Benefit, neighbour disputes and the attitude of our staff.
The issues highlighted during the investigation of complaints are continually monitored and, where appropriate, issues are highlighted with a view to improving our service or procedures. In addition, where the Commissioner makes a recommendation with regard to policy or procedural changes, these are followed up with the relevant Division.