The Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code was introduced in July 2020 and sets out good practice that will allow landlords, like Orwell, to respond to complaints effectively and fairly. Following a review one year after it was introduced, it has been strengthened to further support a positive complaint handling culture.
The purpose of the Ombudsman Service’s Complaint Handling Code is to enable us to resolve your complaints quickly and to use the learning from complaints to improve our services. It will also help to create a positive complaint handling culture.
Because of the introduction of this Code, Orwell reviewed and updated their complaints policy (https://www.orwell-housing.co.uk/about-us/complaints-policy/) to ensure compliance, a process that involved gaining feedback from Orwell customers.
Areas where the code has been strengthened:
- Increasing the obligations of landlords to raise awareness of the complaints process and the Housing Ombudsman
- Setting good practice for a member of the governing body to be identified as having lead responsibility for complaints and for all landlord staff to have a standard objective related to effective complaint handling
- Reinforcing the importance of learning from complaints by being explicit that the self-assessment should be completed as an annual exercise.
Updates to the code took effect from 1 April 2022. We have until 1 October 2022 to be compliant.
One of the new initiatives in this updated policy means if a tenant has made a complaint and it reaches stage two of the procedure, they have the option to get feedback on it from a tenant panel. The tenant panel reviews all the information provided and can speak to the tenant about the complaint as well. Following the review, they can suggest potential options for resolution for Orwell to consider. Options suggested as an outcome of the panel meetings will be put into a report from the panel to the ombudsman
Alternatively, if the panel feels the complaint is not something they can advise on, they can refer it straight on to the ombudsman.
For this role, Orwell has established a Complaints Handling Assessment Team (CHAT) comprising Orwell customers who form a complaint hearing panel for this purpose. The CHAT also helps monitor Orwell’s complaints processes and outcomes quarterly.
Orwell are looking for additional members of CHAT, if you would like to join or find out more about this role email email@example.com