Resident Scrutiny Team Report - Review of Complaints Policy (August 2016)

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The team review was to look at the complaints process and procedure, and make recommendation for improvements. 

The RST wanted to improve customer experience of the complaints process, to assist with the relationship between customers and the organisation.

They looked at the following to assist with their review of the complaints process and procedure: 

  • Benchmarking with various other organisations; mainly housing providers but other sectors too, comparing how complaints are handled.
  • Reviewed current version of policy document “Comments, Compliments & Complaints”
  • Carried out interview with Complaints Officer, Simon Cooke and Customer Services Manager, Maxine Swords.
  • Looked at Compensation Procedure.
  • Studied complaints trends and performance information from Derwent Living
  • Considered letters and correspondence sent out; identifying structure of complaints process.
  • Looked at how Derwent Living gather satisfaction with complaints handling

Conclusions 

The RST feel that Derwent Living’s complaints process and procedure is fit for purpose but there is room for improvements. 

Benchmarking carried out by the RST suggests that Derwent Living’s process is in line with similar organisations in terms of number of stages and timescales. 

The procedure document needs condensing and made easier to understand for customers. They want to encourage a uniform approach to complaints by all staff members, including contractors, to ensure consistency. 

 Recommendations 

  • Considering benchmarking findings, we feel that it is recommended to maintain the existing stages and timescales for complaints process. We feel the current process works well from the evidence we have seen. 
  • Establish method of recording and monitoring time spent on complaints handling, in order for true cost to the organisation to be identified and reduced if necessary. 
  • Introduce the option of using a mediator to resolve complaints; where mediation will help to assist between customer and Derwent Living. Make service available for Complaints Officer to tap into. 
  • Produce shorter, condensed version of complaints policy for customers to make it easier to understand. Include flowchart diagram of complaints process, as one document. 
  • Publicise the various ways that complaints can be made, including via app and text messaging. 
  • Set complaints reduction target for most common complaints categories, i.e. missed appointments. 
  • All customer facing staff to receive training on raising stage zero complaints every 6 months or as changes to process arise, to ensure thorough and consistent approach. 
  • Ensure complaint handling processes are mirrored by the contractors, particular regarding feedback and informing customers of the outcome of a complaint. 
  • Complaints Officer to keep record and produce briefing notes of attendance at team meeting, to evidence issues raised and staff have been made aware. In the hope that reoccurrence of problems will be avoided. 

The RST would also like to comment that the fact finding template is a useful document that helps to inform how a complaint is being dealt with and at what stage. Also, the complaint trends and statistics report is detailed and informative.