What is a complaint?
We define a complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by us or one of our contractors.
You may feel that we have:
- done something wrong
- failed to do something we should have done
- given you the wrong information
- treated you unfairly
What is not a complaint?
The following issues are not considered to be complaints:
- A request for service, such as to carry out a repair, or a report of anti-social behaviour. We will however investigate service failures in the cases of these requests.
- Claims for compensation outside of those relevant to a complaint (all claims are dealt with in accordance with our Compensation and Payments Policy).
- Insurance claims. These will be dealt with in accordance with our Insurance Policy.
- The issue giving rise to the complaint occurred more than 6 months ago. This does not apply in instances relating to health and safety or safeguarding.
- We will not consider a matter where legal proceedings have commenced, or a letter before action has been issued.
- We will not consider a matter which has been previously considered under this policy.
- Services that we are not responsible for delivering, such as bins, council tax, planning and street lights.
* If you have a general query and would like to get in touch – you can do this via email or by calling us. Here is a list of our team’s contact details.
How can I make a complaint or compliment?
We accept these in whichever way is best for you. This can include via third parties, such as a family member or other agencies, on your behalf. Please note we will need your written permission to do this if we don’t already have this.
We also accept initial complaints via social media, but we will discuss the details with you outside of these sites. This is so we can ensure privacy and confidentiality.
We will make sure you have fair access that suits your individual needs. This could include providing translations and additional support for customers who have difficulty reading and writing when required, for example.
You can also write to us at:
Bury St Edmunds,
What will happen when I complain?
Our complaints procedure has two stages. We aim to resolve your complaint at the earliest opportunity.
When you first make a complaint to us, you will receive an:
Acknowledgement: you will receive an acknowledgement from us within five working days.
Stage 1: A designated complaints officer will investigate and respond at stage 1. They will contact you, ideally by telephone, to discuss your complaint and will agree on actions and timeframes during this investigation period.
If you do not wish to be called by telephone, we will agree on another method of communication.
They will work with colleagues across different teams to investigate your complaint fully.
You will get a response within 10 working days. If we need to extend this, for example, if the complaint is particularly complex, we will agree on an extended response date. This will be no longer than a further 10 working days.
Stage 2: If you’re not happy with the way your complaint has been handled at stage 1, you can escalate your complaint to stage 2.
The stage 2 review is not a repeat of the full investigation. The actions and decisions taken at stage 1 will be examined to check if they were thorough, reasonable and fair.
This will be reviewed Complaints Review Panel, comprises of involved residents, as well as a member of the Leadership team.
A response will be sent out no more than 20 working days from the request to escalate. If this is not possible, for example the complaint is particularly complex, we will extend this for another 10 days maximum. In these instances, we will contact you and discuss the reasons for this and keep in touch.
Housing Ombudsman Service
If, after stage 2 you are not satisfied with the way the complaint has been handled, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS). Contact details for the HOS are:
- Housing Ombudsman website
- Telephone: 0300 111 3000; or
- Address: Housing Ombudsman Service, PO Box 152, Liverpool L33 7WQ
As well as this being an option upon exhausting stage 2 of our process, the HOS has support advisors who can assist you during the life of a complaint.
Our self-assessment against the Complaints Handling Code is available here.
Our complaints policy is available here.