We recognise that from time to time things go wrong and that our service may fall below the standards we aim to deliver. We encourage issues to be raised quickly with a member of staff or manager so that the matter can be resolved informally. If that approach is unsuccessful this policy explains how to make a complaint and how we will deal with it.
For the purpose of this policy, we define a complaint as:
‘an expression of dissatisfaction about action, lack of action, standard of service or a policy of Haig Housing’.
Important - this policy does not apply to complaints about neighbours or other residents, which will be dealt with by other internal procedures as appropriate.
2 Complaint Handling
2.1 We will try to put matters right as soon as practicable and so encourage early reporting. We will deal with complaints as quickly and fairly as possible, investigating the issues raised in a manner appropriate to the nature of the complaint. To enable us to do that it is important that issues are documented accurately and so all complaints are to be made in writing, by letter or email.
Valid complaints are submitted in this way will be acknowledged within two working days of receipt and an update provided within 15 working days. If it is not possible to resolve the complaint within that time further updates will be provided every 15 working days until the investigation is complete, or has been escalated.
We record all complaints and will try to use them as an opportunity to learn and improve our service.
2.2 Formal complaints will be investigated and where possible resolved by a senior manager. If that is not possible then the matter will be escalated as follows:
Stage 1 Corporate Director or Nominated Director
Stage 2 Chief Executive
Stage 3 Haig Housing Trustee
Stage 4 Housing Ombudsman / independent mediation.
2.3 Where possible we will try to discuss the issue with the complainant and provide help completing the complaint form. The policy and complaint form are available on the website; copies can be provided if requested. Significant changes will be highlighted in the Tenant Newsletter.
2.4 Complaints will be dealt with impartially, objectively and professionally. Making a complaint will not adversely affect the way in which a complainant is treated by Haig.
We will comply with appropriate regulations and legal requirements. If legal proceedings are involved the complaint will be suspended until those matters are resolved.
All complaints will be dealt with confidentially but in certain circumstances details may have to be disclosed in order to carry out a proper investigation.
4.1 We will explain the outcome of our investigation and decision in writing and explain the options if the complainant is not satisfied. If the complaint is upheld, we will apologise and where possible try to put matters right to the satisfaction of the complainant.
4.2 There is no automatic right to compensation, however we may make a discretionary payment, for example if due to circumstances within our control:
- We failed to deliver a key service normally provided for an extended period
- The complainant incurred additional expense or distress due to our failure to deliver a satisfactory service
- The complainant was significantly inconvenienced due to the time required to resolve matters
4.3 If the complainant is in rent arrears or has other charges that are outstanding, we reserve the right to offset compensatory payments against those amounts.
5.1 If the complainant is dissatisfied with the initial outcome of a complaint they can appeal the decision. To do so they must notify the Chief Executive in writing within four weeks of the date of the decision, stating clearly the reason for their appeal.
5.2 Stage 3 complaints are considered by Trustees who are volunteers and so it is not possible to give a timescale for the appeal, although it will be heard as soon as practicable. Although it is preferable to hear the appeal in person, arrangements may be made for the meeting to be held remotely. The complainant may be accompanied at the meeting by one other person and may ask that person to speak on their behalf. Legal representation will not be agreed.
5.3 The complainant has the right to appeal the Stage 3 outcome and take the complaint to Stage 4.
5.4 The Trust may waive Stage 3 if it considers the appeal to be invalid, and grant the complainant permission to take the complaint direct to Stage 4.
It is our hope that the need to complain will be infrequent and we encourage everyone to raise issues early so we can put matters right. If that does not work we want to try to resolve the complaint as quickly as possible using the process described in this policy. No one will be disadvantaged by complaining and we want to learn from our mistakes to improve our service.
If your complaint is about our fundraising activities and we are unable to resolve it to your satisfaction using the process above, you can ask the Fundraising Regulator, the self-regulator for fundraising in the UK, to consider it.
You can read the Regulator’s information about making a complaint here: https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/complaints/make-complaint
You can submit your complaint to the Fundraising Regulator by:
- Using the on line complaint form situated on the Fundraising Regulator website; this includes a number of initial questions that specify what sorts of complaints can be made to the Regulator and which should be made to other bodies.
- Calling the Regulator on 0300 999 3407
- Writing to them at: Fundraising Regulator, 2nd floor, CAN Mezzanine Building, 49-51 East Road, London, N1 6AH
Haig Housing Trust is a registered member of the Fundraising Regulator and we will abide by their decision. Please be aware that the Fundraising Regulator states that complaints should be made to them within two months of the organisation you are complaining about.
The Fundraising Regulator aims to acknowledge complaints within 2 working days of receiving them. If you do not agree with the Regulator’s final decision, there is no set process to appeal their decision, however you may request an external review if you can meet one or more of the following criteria:
- If new material evidence is submitted after the Regulator has rejected a request to re-open an investigation. An explanation about why the previous request was rejected is required.
- If there was a material defect in the process in which the final decision was made.
- If there is an allegation that the final decision was manifestly unreasonable (eg it wasn’t made sensibly in regards to all the relevant facts).
Full details of the Fundraising Regulator’s Complaints Process can be found here:
Complaints Policy Version 3: June 2021 – Review: January 2022 2