Make a complaint


A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action affecting an individual customer or group of customers.

A complaint can be made when we have:

  • Failed to provide a service when we should
  • Provided a poor standard of service
  • Made a mistake in the way we have provided the service
  • Failed to meet our existing service standards or complied with our policies

The complaint procedure is not for:

  • Making a request for service
  • Complaints about neighbours (these will be dealt with as antisocial behaviour cases)
  • Things that happened more than 6 months ago that haven’t been raised before
  • Complaints about other organisations, such as local authorities or the benefits agency
  • Disagreeing with our policies
  • Where a separate appeals process exists
  • Settling a dispute where legal action has been or is due to be instigated (by either party)

How do I make a complaint?

You can make contact with us via any method below.

Online Click here to make a complaint online
Email us
Call us 01332 346477
Fax us 01332-295025
Visit us Call in at our head office at the address below or report your complaint to a site based member of staff
Write to us Customer services
Derwent Living
No. 1 Centro Place
Pride Park
DE24 8RF

If you are deaf or hard of hearing and wish to contact us via Type Talk, please dial 18001 followed by 0845 602 4125.

We can visit you in your home if this is easier for you.


Our complaints policy

How to make a comment, compliment or complaint

It is easy to comment about our service. You do not have to fill in a special form or even put it in writing. Any member of any team can record your comment over the phone, in person or by email. You can also contact us by letter.

Download the Comments compliments and complaints policy

What happens when you make a complaint?

Quick fix

When you let us know that you have had a problem with our service, we will always try to fix things straight away. If the person taking the complaint can resolve things for you within one working day, we will log your issue with a unique reference number and class it as a ‘quick fix’.

For example, this would apply where we have missed an appointment but were able to make a new arrangement that suited you straight away. Where we do this, you will still receive a letter containing a complaint reference number to confirm that you experienced a problem, reported it to us and agreed a resolution. If you are not satisfied with this outcome, you can move onto the formal complaints process within five working days.
If you wish to make a formal complaint, a three-stage complaints process is followed.

Stage one

When we are unable to solve the problem immediately, we will move into our formal complaints process. We have the following service standards in place to ensure that you get a resolution in an appropriate time:

  • A complaint handler will acknowledge your complaint by telephone within two working days and confirm this in writing. They will discuss your complaint to ensure they understand the details
  • Give you a unique reference number and let you know who will be dealing with your complaint
  • Investigate your complaint and if necessary, telephone you with any updates or further questions
  • If further investigation is needed which will take longer than 10 working days, we will telephone you to agree when you will get a full response
  • Write to you within 10 working days to let you know the outcome.

Stage two

If you are not satisfied with our response, or if the previous stage has not been met, you can make a request for the complaint to be reviewed by a head of service or director who has not previously been involved with the complaint. All you have to do is let us know the reasons why you are not satisfied with the response you have received at the first stage within
20 working days and what you feel you would like us to do in response to your complaint. The head of service or director will confirm whether your complaint will be escalated to stage two, or you have pursued as far as you can with Derwent Living. If escalated the service standards concerning stage two complaints are:

  • We will acknowledge your request in writing within two working days
  • We will confirm that your complaint is being considered at the second stage of our procedure
  • We will let you know the name and position of the person who will look into the problem for you
  • We will offer you the opportunity for a personal telephone conversation or meeting about your complaint
  • We will aim to come back to you in writing within 10 working days to let you know whether the original action or response given is supported, or outlining any new or additional proposals
  • We will agree with you by telephone and notify you in writing if this target will not be met, detailing the reasons why and let you know when you can expect a full response
  • If the reason for a review is not a failure in service, poor service or a failure to meet standards, or we cannot meet the outcome you are asking for, we may decline your request for a review. If this is the case we will write to you to confirm this.

Final stage

If after all of the previous stages, you are still not satisfied with the response, you can apply for a review by the chief executive and two board members.

You will need to write to the chief executive within 20 working days of receiving the stage two response and outline why you believe we have not fulfilled our duty set out in our policies and procedures or required by law.

The chief executive will arrange a convenient date for you to meet or tell you if you have pursued the matter as far as you can with Derwent Living within 10 working days of receipt of your request. If a meeting is arranged the date may not be within this timescale.

Designated customer panel/designated persons

Once our complaints process has been exhausted, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you may contact a ‘designated person.’

We have registered our independent customer panel with the Housing Ombudsman as ‘designated persons’ to deal with your complaint. Alternatively you may contact an MP or your local councillor.

The ‘designated person’ may try to resolve the complaint, or pass it straight to the Housing Ombudsman. The panel (or person) does not have powers to enforce changes, but can mediate and suggest resolutions. Derwent Living is committed to resolving complaints locally. If the panel is unable to resolve the complaint it may refer it to the Housing Ombudsman.

If you wish to contact the Ombudsman without dealing with a ‘designated person’, you will have to wait eight weeks to do so after you have exhausted our internal complaint process.

If you are dissatisfied with this outcome, you may appeal to the:

Housing Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
Harbour Exchange Square
E14 9GE

Telephone : 0300 111 3000
Fax : 020 7831 1942
Email :

The Ombudsman will only consider the matter if you have exhausted Derwent Living’s complaints process and you contact them within 12 months of your original complaint.

You can find out more about the independent customer panel by downloading the information leaflet below.

Independent customer panel leaflet

Unreasonable complainant behaviour

The Housing Ombudsman’s definition of ‘unreasonable complainant behaviour’ is as follows:

“The actions of users who are angry, demanding, or persistent may result in unreasonable demands on staff, or unacceptable behaviour. It is these actions that we consider unacceptable, unreasonable demands, unreasonable persistence and aggressive and abusive behaviour (including language).”

Derwent Living must ensure that in using the complaints process, individuals who demonstrate unreasonable behaviour or are unreasonably persistent are still dealt with fairly, honestly and correctly. The resources of Derwent Living have to be used as effectively as possible and other customers or employees must not suffer any detriment because of the behaviour of others.

All reasonable measures will be taken to resolve complaints through the complaints process.

When someone repeatedly telephones, visits the office without appointment, sends irrelevant or duplicate documents, or raises the issues that have already been considered, Derwent Living may decide to:

  • Only take telephone calls from the customer at set times on set days, or put an arrangement in place for only one member of staff to deal with calls or correspondence from the complainant in the future
  • Require the customer to make an appointment to see a named member of staff before visiting the office, or that the customer only contacts the office in writing
  • Return the documents to the customer and advise them that further irrelevant documents will be destroyed
  • Take other action that we consider appropriate. We will, however, always say what action we are taking and why.
Find a home Report a repair Pay your rent MY Derwent Living