At Derwent Living we always want to provide an excellent service. This policy provides our customers with all the information they require to let us know when we have achieved this, or make suggestions. We also know that sometimes things can go wrong. If this happens, please tell us. Once we know, we can put things right, and prevent similar things happening in the future by learning from our mistakes.
How to Provide Feedback
It is easy to compliment, make a suggestion, or complain 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 log this for you, and the following options are available to you:
- Your MY Derwent Living account
- The Derwent Living app
- Using the online form
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call us on 01332 346477
- In person at our head office
- Any other appropriate means of communication.
When you have had an excellent experience of customer service, we would love to hear from you. Receiving praise for providing good customer service helps teams and individuals to improve and share areas of best practice. Your compliment will be sent to the line manager and the colleague(s) concerned, and we then share these within the organisation.
If you would like to provide feedback on the service you have received, but would not like to follow the complaints process, we are happy to receive your suggestions and log these as an observation. Your comments would be referred to the relevant manager to consider, and there would be no further contact with you about the matter.
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, where the initial response is not proven satisfactory.
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
- Where applicable, a complaint can also be raised as formal appeal to actions or decisions, for example a lettings offer we have chosen not to proceed, or a rechargeable repair.
The complaint procedure is not for:
- Making a request for service or information
- Anonymous complaints
- Reports of antisocial behaviour (these will be dealt with as antisocial behaviour cases)
- Things that happened more than 6 months ago which have not been raised since
- Complaints about other organisations, such as local authorities
- Where a separate appeals process has been instigated
- Settling a dispute which is considered a legal matter
- Insurance claims.
This list is not exhaustive.
Help in Making a Complaint
If you would like someone to help you with the complaints process, please contact the Customer Services Team. Examples of the ways in which we could help you are:
- We may appoint a designated person to help you through the process
- We may give you help to overcome barriers due to language or disability
- We accept complaints from advocates authorised to act on a customer’s behalf.
Our complaints procedure
Put It Right
When you let us know that you have had a problem with our service, our priority is to ‘Put It Right’ for you. If the person taking the complaint can ‘Put It Right’ for you within one working day, we will consider your complaint as resolved.
Where we do this, you will receive a letter with a unique reference number, confirming the problem you experienced and explaining what we did to put the matter right for you.
If you are not satisfied with the ‘Put It Right’ outcome, you can request the complaint be escalated to the next step – ‘Investigate It’. You should do this within 5 working days of receiving your ‘Put It Right’ outcome letter.
Alternatively, if we are unable to solve the complaint on the day, we will open the case as an ‘Investigate It’ complaint in the first instance.
We have the following service standards in place at this ‘Investigate It’ stage:
- We will acknowledge your complaint by telephone within two working days and will discuss your complaint to ensure we understand the details. We will accept any evidence you may have at this point, and also clarify with you the outcome you are seeking to your complaint
- We will send you an acknowledgment letter with a unique reference number
- We will investigate your complaint and, if necessary, contact you with updates or further questions
- We will telephone and write to you within 10 working days to explain the outcome
- In some cases the investigation may take longer than 10 working days. This may happen in more complex cases, or if we are awaiting further information. In such cases, we will contact you detailing the reasons why and let you know when you can expect a full response.
If you are not satisfied with our ‘Investigate It’ response, you can ask us to review the outcome. You should do this within 20 working days of receiving your of the ‘Investigate It’ outcome letter.
This request will be considered by a manager who has not previously been involved with the complaint, and will determine if the complaint merits a review based on the details of your request.
We have the following service standards in place at this ‘Review It’ stage:
- If the reviewing manager decides that your complaint does not warrant a review, we will telephone you within 2 working days and write to you within 10 working days to explain this decision and confirm the complaints process is now exhausted.
- If the review is accepted, the manager will telephone and write to you within 2 working days to advise that the ‘Investigate It’ outcome will be reviewed.
- The manager will review the complaint and, if necessary, contact you with updates or offer a meeting
- We will aim to telephone and write to you within 10 working days to let you know the final outcome to your complaint
- In some cases the review may take longer than 10 working days. This may happen in more complex cases, or if we are awaiting further information. In such cases, we will contact you detailing the reasons why and let you know when you can expect a full response.
Once the complaints process has been exhausted (closed at the ‘Review It’ stage), if you are not happy with the outcome, the following options are available to you:
You may contact a designated person. This can be a Member of Parliament, a local councillor, or our Independent Complaints Panel, which we have registered with the Housing Ombudsman as a designated person.
The designated person does not have powers to enforce changes, but can mediate and suggest resolutions. The designated person may try to resolve the complaint, or pass it straight to the Housing Ombudsman.
If you remain unhappy with the outcome following the involvement of a designated person, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman.
Alternatively, if you wish to contact the Ombudsman without approaching a designated person, you will need to wait eight weeks after you have exhausted our internal complaint process (closed at the ‘review it’ stage) to do so. The Ombudsman will also only consider the matter if you have contacted them within 12 months of your original complaint.
The Ombudsman can be contacted as follows:
Housing Ombudsman Service
Harbour Exchange Square
Telephone: 0300 111 3000
Freehold Homeowners and Leaseholders
If you are a freehold homeowner, or in some cases a leaseholder, you may not be able to access the Housing Ombudsman. Please see our Freehold Homeowner and Leaseholder Complaints page for more information such as details of separate appeals processes.
There may be occasions where, if we feel there has been a failure in our service, we may consider awarding compensation. We will follow our Compensation Procedure in such situations.
Dependent upon the level of compensation awarded, you may be asked to sign a disclaimer agreeing to the amount as full and final settlement of the matter.
Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour
Any unreasonable complainant behaviour will be addressed in line with our Unreasonable Actions / Behaviour Policy.
Monitoring and Learning
We are committed to learn from the feedback we receive from customers. If learning is identified from a complaint at any level, this is recorded internally. We work with those teams and contractors concerned to identify how we will implement the changes needed to learn from the complaint, and we will monitor this to ensure the service has improved.
We analyse all complaints received and produce an internal complaints and compliments report every month for all Derwent Living management and main contractors. We also produce and publish annual customer reports which contain the key facts regarding complaints received and completed. View the customer report.