Our Housing Department is regulated by the Regulator of Social Housing and falls under the remit of the Housing Ombudsman for complaints. This is different to the rest of the council which is overseen by the Local Government Ombudsman.
Due to this reason, Housing has a separate complaints process.
The Housing Services Team is committed to delivering an excellent housing service. Whilst we strive to meet your needs, on occasions we may fall short of your expectations.
In such circumstances we would always encourage you to contact us at the earliest opportunity as we may be able to simply resolve or put the issue right for you.
If however, you do feel that a complaint is appropriate, the housing services complaints policy - available in the related document section of this web page - sets out how the council will deal with complaints relating to its social (council) housing services. By this we mean those services delivered to council tenants in council homes. Complaints about other council services, such as private sector housing, are dealt with under the council’s complaints handling policy.
Our investigations will:
- review the history of the situation and examine relevant documentation
- carry out interviews with employees or relevant persons.
Our decision making will be:
- within stipulated time scales
- effectively communicated
- proportionate - if a complainant makes unreasonable demands, which are outside the boundaries of our service delivery this will be communicated to the complainant as early as possible.
Putting things right
We are committed to using the complaints process as a learning experience and where appropriate we will put things right. This can be done in a variety of ways including, re-attending a job, reviewing a decision, offering an apology or explanation, and/or arriving at a solution which may prevent issues reoccurring.
We will also make amendments to policies or procedures or to the way a service is provided if it is found these are leading to dissatisfaction with the service. We will always seek to rectify the situation where possible.
Making a complaint
You can make a complaint through:
- our form - found in the related documents section of this web page
- email: email@example.com
- telephone: 01623 608888
- by post:
Ashfield District Council
Sutton in Ashfield
Notts, NG17 1AL
If you do feel that it is necessary to make a complaint about our housing service it is extremely helpful if you can explain what you are concerned about and how you would like it resolved; as this may mean we can rectify the issue for you in a much quicker timescale and to your satisfaction.
Complaints managed by the Housing Ombudsman will be investigated in 2 stages, as set-out within the Housing Ombudsman Housing Complaints Code.
Stage One: Formal response from the head of service or service manager
The complainant submits the complaint which will then be investigated by the appropriate Head of Service/Service Manager.
Time Scale: the complainant will receive a written response within 10 working days from the date we receive the complaint to advise on what action, if any, will be taken.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the response the complaint can be escalated to Stage Two. The request should contain new/additional information.
Stage Two: Review and response from the Director of Housing and Assets (Deputy CEO)
The complainant can request their complaint to be reviewed by the Director of Housing and Assets (Deputy CEO).
Time Scale: a full review will be undertaken and a written response will be provided within 20 working days of the date the request to review is received.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the Director of Housing and Assets (Deputy CEO) response, they have exhausted the complaints process. If you are still not satisfied after receiving your stage 2 response, you can refer the matter to a designated person or wait 8 weeks and refer directly to the Housing Ombudsman. The Housing Ombudsman will only consider complaints if our complaints system has been exhausted.
Designated Person Stage
A complainant has the choice refer their complaint to a ‘designated person’ for a review or wait 8 weeks from the date of our Stage Two complaint response and complain directly to the Housing Ombudsman. The designated person stage is included as it provides an option to resolve the complaint at a local level and via people independent of the Housing Service, but have experience of knowledge of the service and/or experience of being a tenant.
A ‘designated person’ can either be:
- an independent panel of tenants (Ashfield’s Tenant Gateway Members are recognised and trained by the Ombudsman to provide this service)
- a councillor
- a Member of Parliament.
If referred to the Tenant Panel, the Tenant Panel will meet and fully review the responses made and the processes followed to that point, a response will be made within 20 working days.
The complainant can also go directly to the Housing Ombudsman after 8 weeks of the Second Stage decision. Once a complaint is received by the Housing Ombudsman a decision will be made on whether or not:
- to investigate the complaint
- to discontinue investigation of the complaint.
Once the Housing Ombudsman has given their decision this will be communicated to both the complainant and Ashfield District Council in order that any recommendations are implemented.
The Housing Ombudsman Service contact details are set out below and you can find out more on their website.
- telephone: 0300 111 30 00
- Fax: 0207 831 19 42
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing Ombudsman Service
PO Box 152
Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code: Self-assessment
The Housing Ombudsman asks all landlords to complete and publish a self-assessment of their compliance with the Complaints Handling Code. Our self-assessment is available in the related documents section of this web page.