Feedback from our tenants, leaseholders, residents and customers helps us to know what we are doing right and, most importantly, where we need to improve.
Following the Housing Ombudsman Code released in July 2020, the commitment made in the 2020 Government White Paper - ‘The Charter for Social Housing Residents’ – that all social housing residents should have complaints dealt with “promptly and fairly”, and a consultation with our involved customers in October 2020, we launched a new and more customer-focused Complaints Policy.
Our new policy puts the customer first and that we welcome complaints as a chance to put things right and genuinely address your needs and help to strengthen relationships.
Meeting bi-monthly, our Complaints Learning Circle gives managers dealing with Stage 2 complaints the opportunity to share best practice, analyse trends, review case studies and identify opportunities for improvement.
Our Tenants Complaints Panel look at the whole complaints journey and feedback on ways we can improve our customer experience.
Complaints are sometimes assigned to the wrong team which causes delays in resolving issues for the customer.
Customers reported that they weren’t kept informed about the progress of their complaint.
The complaints procedure has been reviewed to improve communication with customers:
Customers were unhappy with how their reports of damp and mould were dealt with.
Communal bins in some areas were overflowing.
A dedicated team now completes a monthly inspection of all Torus communal areas. If issues are found, a manager will visit the site to ensure any issues are resolved.
Visitors to our website who had dyslexia, and other neurodiverse conditions, sometimes struggled with the accessibility of our website.
Tested different accessibility programmes for the website and, following positive feedback, have introduced ReachDeck which offers read-aloud, translations and easy read options.
A Housing Ombudsman case highlighted a case of poor communication with a leaseholder before works completed on their property
To learn from this and improve the customers’ experience, a change in process was introduced
An increase in ASB cases escalating through the complaint’s procedure and to the Housing Ombudsman.
In early 2021 Torus reviewed the volume of ASB cases and found trends in the escalated complaints related to the quality of responses.
The conclusion was in relation to the handling of the different types of ASB, statutory (regulated by the law) and non-statutory ASB (not covered by the law) and that non-statutory ASB would be more effectively handled by a specialist Safer Estates Team rather than by generic Housing Officers.
The teams have been restructured alongside the introduction of a new housing management system.
The Safer Estates Team has increased resources and improved line-management oversight and support.
Safer Estates Compliance Officers will deal with cases and training of the new officers will emphasise the importance of effective interventions including the use of informal agreements, acceptable behaviour contracts and mediation.
In response to the Social Housing White Paper, we are undertaking a project to respond to this issue, targeting dissatisfaction, delving deeper into causes and creating improvement actions.