New complaints policy coming to Cornwall Housing

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We’re launching an updated complaints policy on Friday 31 March 2023, with a renewed focus on putting things right for customers.

The housing sector as a whole is experiencing an increase in the number of complaints received. Cornwall Housing has taken the opportunity to examine and update its existing policy to make sure it complies with the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code and prioritises fixing problems for our customers.

Hayley Austin, Executive Director of Housing Operations, explains: “Cornwall Housing is changing. We have a new senior management team in place and we are absolutely committed to putting our customers first.

“We know there have been issues with our previous complaints policy, so we wanted to tackle that head on by updating it and putting in place a policy that meets with current guidance and best practice, as well as being in tune with our customers’ needs and wants.” 

We carried out a survey with some residents earlier this year to gather views about what they expected and needed from the Complaints Policy. A similar survey was also sent to Cornwall Housing staff to understand what they need to be able to respond effectively to customer complaints.

The proposals were also discussed with tenants, including the Tenant Forum, who put forward their questions and concerns, and discussed issues with senior managers. One of the changes highlighted by tenants as a concern was the replacement of the Tenant Appeals Panel at Step 2, with a Stage 2 led by a Senior Manager within the organisation.

Senior Managers explained that the new policy will empower and encourage staff and Senior Managers to take responsibility for a complaint and ensure swift solutions are put into place. Complainants will be provided with a named member of staff within the organisation that they can contact directly about their complaint, ensuring ownership and accountability.  

To make sure the organisation is ready for the launch of the new Complaints Policy, every member of Cornwall Housing staff was invited to complaints training, which has been taking place throughout March and will be ongoing into April 2023.

Hayley continued: “The launch of our new complaints policy marks our renewed commitment to getting things right for our customers. We know we still have some way to go but we are working incredibly hard to provide staff and customers with the information and tools to get problems solved as quickly as possible. That’s what our customers told us was the most important thing to them when making a complaint.”

The new Complaints Policy will go live on the Cornwall Housing website on 31 March 2023.