Taff Housing Association is committed to welcoming all feedback and dealing effectively with any complaints about our services.
At Taff we always aim to build and maintain good relationships with our tenants and service users. This approach sees us focus on meeting the needs of our tenants and service users, and if something has gone wrong to not to cause further harm and put things right.
What is a complaint?
It is important that everyone has a common understanding of what a complaint is. The following definition is taken from the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW).
A complaint is:
- An expression of dissatisfaction or concern
- Written or spoken or made by any other communication method
- Made by one or more members of the public (someone or a group in receipt of or denied a service to which they are entitled by Taff)
- About Taff’s action or lack of action or the standard of service provided
- Something which requires a response
A complaint is not a request a service, a request to appeal a decision we may have taken, or to follow up on a request for a service – for example reporting anti-social behaviour or requesting and seeking an update on a repair. In those circumstances we would not consider that to be a complaint and this policy won’t apply.
- Normally, we will only be able to look at a complaint if told about it within 6 months of the event occurring. This is because it’s better to look into matters whilst the issues are still fresh in everyone’s mind.
- We may look at complaints which are brought to our attention later than this. However, in these circumstances there would have to be good reason why the complaint was not brought to our attention earlier and we will need to have sufficient information about the issue to allow us to consider it properly. In any event, we will not consider any complaints about matters that took place more than three years ago.
- If someone is making a complaint on behalf of somebody else, we’ll need the agreement of the person the issue has affected before we discuss the issue.
How to make a complaint
- Tenants, service users and members of the public can complain in any of the following ways:
- By completing the form on our website at: www.taffhousing.co.uk
- Get in touch with our complaint’s administrator on 029 2025 9165
- Speak to or email a colleague in any department and tell them they are unappy with our services and why
- Notify us via any of our social media channels
Write to us at:
Taff Housing Association
307-315 Cowbridge Road East
Cardiff CF5 1JD
It is our preference that complaints are submitted online via our website, however you can make a complaint in any way you wish.
Copies of this policy and the complaint form are available in Welsh, Arabic and Somali and as audio, large print by request.
Handling Informal Complaints (Stage 1)
When receiving any complaint, we take a restorative approach to finding a resolution. This is the best way of resolving the matter and maintaining and/or repairing our relationship with the tenant or service user.
Our focus is on finding a resolution to the matter that has been raised. We commit to doing everything we can to address the complaint at the first point of contact, removing the need to escalate the issue.
When we receive a complaint, we should attempt to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. If we receive a complaint that we believe can be resolved quickly and easily without the need for a detailed investigating, we consider the complaint ‘informal’. This stage of a complaint should not last any longer than 5 working days to resolve.
An informal complaint can be handled by a anyone receiving the complaint or the person who is best placed to resolve it. They should contact the tenant or service user to discuss the complaint and seek a resolution. The focus at this stage will be on finding a quick resolution and putting things right.
If the complainant is satisfied with the outcome, the complaint can be recorded and closed immediately within the 5-day period.
If we do not believe we can resolve the complaint informally or the complainant is unhappy with our proposed resolution, the complainant will be informed we will be carrying out a formal investigation. The complaint should be logged as Formal Complaint and passed to the relevant Head of Service/Exec Member/Chair to investigate as appropriate.
Investigating a Formal Complaint (Stage 2)
At the formal stage it will usually be expected that the relevant Head of Service is responsible for investigating the complaint. In this instance they should also inform the relevant Executive Team member of the complaint details.
If the complaint relates to a Head of Service or if they are absent, the relevant Executive Director will be expected to carry out the investigation, or delegate appropriately.
If the complaint is relating to a member of the Executive Team, then the CEO or Chair of the ARC should carry out the investigation as appropriate.
When carrying out a formal complaint investigation, the investigating officer should ensure we formally acknowledge the complaint and contact the complainant to introduce themselves. When commencing the investigation, the investigating officer should ensure the following:
- We’ve formally acknowledged the formal complaint within 5 working days of it being logged as ‘formal’
- Speak with the complainant where possible to do this and confirmed we use a restorative approach to find a suitable solution
- Seek clarification on the matter/s raised if appropriate
- Provide the complainant with the details of who is investigating their complaint, their contact details, the investigation process and the likely timescales
- Provide reassurance that making a complaint will not negatively impact upon them in terms of the service level we offer
It is important that even when investigating a formal complaint, a restorative approach should be used. When discussing the complaint with the complainant the following restorative questions can be used:
- What happened? During, before and since the incident/s
- What were you thinking? So how were you feeling? (at each point)
- Who was affected and how?
- What do you need?
- What needs to happen next to move forwards?
By working through these questions, it is more likely an agreement can be reached on what needs to be done to put the matter right and agree a timetable for actions required.
The investigating officer will usually need to see any relevant files. It is important permission is given from the complainant to do this.
We aim to resolve concerns as quickly as possible. We expect to deal with the vast majority of formal complaints within 10 working days of it being logged as a formal complaint. If the complaint is more complex and could take longer, it is important we inform the complainant:
- Why we think it may take longer to look into
- How long we expect it to take
- Provide regular updates, including whether our estimates may change.
By taking a restorative approach the person managing the formal complaint should have a good understanding of the issue and how we may resolve it. Prior to confirming the outcome of the investigation in writing, it is important that we seek to discuss the proposed resolution with the complainant verbally. If they are happy with the resolution confirmation of the outcome should be sent in writing to the complainant, the complaint can be logged and ‘closed and resolved’.
If a resolution cannot be found following the formal investigation and there is nothing more, we think we can offer, written confirmation detailing the outcome of the complaint should be sent and the complaint logged as ‘closed and unresolved’.
At this stage we may offer a restorative meeting facilitated by a trained restorative facilitator from within the business if appropriate, but this should not extend the process of the formal complaint handling period.
If the complaint is not resolved at the end of the formal process, the complainant should be advised that this is our final position and information given on how to report the matter to the Public Services Ombudsman – see section 8 for further details.
Once the complaint has been resolved, a feedback form should be completed by the complainant. This feedback will help us learn and improve.
Principles of Complaint Handling
- If we find that we made a mistake, we’ll put things right.
- If we find there is a fault in our systems or the way we do things, we’ll learn from the experience to improve our services.
- When we make a mistake, we will always apologise for it.
- In times of trouble or distress, some people may act out of character. There may have been upsetting or distressing circumstances leading up to a complaint. We do not view behaviour as unacceptable just because someone is forceful or determined.
- We believe that all complainants have the right to be heard, understood and respected. However, we also consider that our staff have the same rights. We therefore expect people to be polite and courteous when in contact with us. We will not tolerate aggressive or abusive behaviour, unreasonable demands or unreasonable persistence
Putting Things Right and Learning Lessons
If a tenant or service user have lost out as a result of a mistake on our part, we’ll try to put them back in the position they would have been in if we’d done things properly. There may be occasions where monetary compensation is appropriate. Circumstances where compensation will be paid are outlined in our Compensation Policy.
We take complaints seriously, ensure we log all complaints and track them, and most importantly, try to learn from any mistakes we’ve made.
Our Executive Leadership team considers a summary of all complaints quarterly and is made aware is made aware of all ‘formal’ complaints that require investigation.
Our Board also considers our response to complaints annually. We share summary (anonymised) information on complaints received and complaints outcomes with the Board as part of our commitment to accountability and learning from complaints. Dealing effectively with complaints forms an important part of our tenant engagement work and we should be able to demonstrate where we have learnt from complaints and improved our services as a result.
The Ombudsman is independent and can look into the complaint if the complainant believes they:
- Have been treated unfairly or received a bad service through some failure on the part of the service provider
- Have been disadvantaged personally by a service failure or have been treated unfairly
The Ombudsman normally expects the complainant to bring your concerns to our attention first and to give us a chance to put things right. Contact details for the Ombudsman are:
- Phone: 0300 790 0203
- Email: email@example.com
- The website: www.ombudsman.wales
- Writing to: Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae
There are also other organisations that consider complaints. For example, the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Office deals with complaints about services in Welsh.
Additional help for tenants and service users
If tenants and service users need extra assistance, we will put them in touch with someone who can help. Organisations like Age Cymru or Shelter may be able to support tenants if their services are relevant to the individual.