Ashfield’s 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 this reason Housing has a separate complaints process but all timescales and responses mirror those operated by the rest of the Council.
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 following complaints process 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
Ashfield District Council
Sutton in Ashfield
Notts, NG17 1AL
The Housing Services complaints process consists of 2 stages.
Stage One: Service Manager
The complainant submits the complaint which will then be investigated by the appropriate 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: Director of Housing and Assets
The complainant can request their complaint to be reviewed by the Director of Housing and Assets.
Time Scale; A Full review will be undertaken and a written response will be provided within 15 working days of the date the request to review is received at our offices.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the Director of Housing and Assets response they have exhausted the complaints process. A complainant will be made fully aware of their options at this stage to enable them to make a decision on how they can seek external advice and support to resolve the complaint.
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 go directly to the Housing Ombudsman after 8 weeks of the Second Stage decision or directly after hearing from the ‘designated person’ (Equally the designated person may decide simply to direct the complaint on to the Housing Ombudsman)
Once a complaint is received by the Housing Ombudsman a decision will be made on whether or not;
- To investigate the complaint, or
- 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.
Housing Ombudsman Service
Harbour Exchange Square,
Isle of Dogs,
London E14 9GE
Tel - 0300 111 3000
Fax - 0207 831 1942
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Website - www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk