Complaints about housing services, where the council is the landlord, will be managed by the Housing Ombudsman. The Local Government Ombudsman investigates complaints about allocations, homelessness and private sector housing.
Complaints managed by the Housing Ombudsman will be investigated in 2 stages, as set-out within the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code.
You can make a complaint by email, phone or in writing. You will be given a reference number and sent an acknowledgement if you complain by email. Complaints by phone will be taken by a call handler.
: 0800 021 3016
If you need help to make your complaint, you can appoint someone to deal with it on your behalf. If you don't have anyone to assist, let us know so we can help find someone independent to speak for you.
Your complaint will be investigated within 7 working days by a member of staff from the service you complained about. Our complaints team will track your complaint.
If you are not happy with the response you may ask that it be escalated to stage 2. You must ask for this no later than 28 calendar days from our initial reply.
When you ask for your complaint to be escalated you must explain why. The response at stage 1 will tell you how to do this.
If your complaint is recorded at stage 2, your complaint will be considered by the Complaints Team as an independent review and not by the service area that is the subject of the complaint. Your complaint will be investigated within 15 working days. If your complaint is not recorded at stage 2, the Complaints Team will explain the reasons for this decision to you.
If you are still not satisfied after receiving your stage 2 response, you can refer the matter to a designated person or wait 8 weeks and refer directly to the Housing Ombudsman. The Housing Ombudsman will only consider complaints if our complaints system has been exhausted.
Tenant panels, MPs and councillors can play a more active role in resolving housing complaints locally. This role is known as a 'designated person'.
For detailed information about the role, go to the Housing Ombudsman: designated persons.
In summary, a designated person:
- can be an MP, a local ward councillor or a designated tenant panel
- has no legal authority over our complaints procedure other than the right to refer complainants to the Housing Ombudsman at the point the process has been exhausted
- only has the power of persuasion and negotiation
- is not an additional stage within the complaints process
- can recommend proposals and approaches that we may not have considered when investigating the complaint
- can only take up their formal role once the complaints process is complete
- must obtain written consent from the complainant to confirm they can represent them
We work on housing-related matters with a panel of residents called an 'Excellence Panel'. This panel includes complaints sub-group, which meets regularly to discuss any changes in the complaints process and any significant complaints issues. Panel members also volunteer in local community hubs and help customers to access the complaints process.
The Housing Ombudsman asks all landlords to complete and publish a self-assessment of their compliance with the Complaints Handling Code. Our self-assessment is published below.