Customer feedback is vital to us. Having received almost 114,000 customer contacts over the past year (April 2022 to March 2023), your comments about your experiences - whether it’s a complaint or other contact - are regularly used to understand how our services are performing, and to make improvements to the services we offer.
Some of the feedback we receive may be recorded as dissatisfied contacts or as formal complaints:
A dissatisfied contact is usually a minor issue you have raised, which requires action to be taken including putting things right.
A formal complaint is where you have raised a more serious issue, or where you contacted us about something you were dissatisfied with, which you feel is still unresolved after we have had an opportunity to deal with it.
Learning from Complaints:
Over recent months, we have made the following changes because of your feedback, by reviewing the learning points from complaints you have made:
We are working with Platform Property Care (PPC) and our other contractors to monitor more closely delays to repairs. This involves contractors maintaining timely communications, both with you, the customer, and with us on any issues arising; explaining the reasons for delays; and logging any follow on works appropriately. We are also monitoring contractors more closely regarding submitting reports to us (for example following property inspections); and confirming works have been completed.
We are holding weekly operational meetings with our primary contractor, PPC, to identify any failures in customer service and deficits in our joint processes, which impact your experience, in order to address these and improve our repairs service.
We are also working closely with PPC to ensure that their contractors understand the standard of work and behaviour that we expect of them when visiting your home. They are to arrive at jobs appropriately equipped and staffed, and are to conduct themselves courteously and respectfully.
PPC holds a monthly toolbox meeting with their operatives to update them as a group on various operational matters. Some of these meetings are now held at Rooftop’s Head Office in Evesham, which provides a valuable opportunity to share experiences between PPC and Rooftop.
Anti-social Behaviour cases:
If you experience anti-social behaviour (ASB) and it is recorded as a formal case with Rooftop, your Neighbourhood Officer will emphasise the importance of completing and returning log sheets to identify the cause and frequency of incidents. They will explain to you that we will need your log sheets to take further enforcement action against the alleged perpetrator(s) of the ASB.
We are reviewing our processes in relation to noise nuisance complaints to determine whether there is scope for further action on our part. Staff have undertaken Customer Care training and are required to review their understanding of our policy on tackling ASB.
Our customer facing staff have received training on Rooftop’s complaints process, and associated training on logging and updating dissatisfaction contacts and formal cases on our housing management system. This will provide a complete history of what you have reported to us, and what action we have taken, so that all our customer-facing colleagues have access to the same information. This means we can keep you updated about matters you have raised with us, to hopefully prevent problems from escalating to formal complaints.
Our guidance on complaints has been amended to ensure that your right to escalate a dissatisfaction as a formal complaint is made clearer. This was covered in refresher training sessions held during May and June.
A new role of Property Resolutions Coordinator has been well received by customers and colleagues, by providing a first point of contact and coordinator for property related cases, which may involve PPC and other contractors. This is helping to facilitate and support an effective approach to complaint management on the Repairs team.
We have met with our Out of Hours service provider and have requested retraining of their call handlers, working on Rooftop’s behalf, in all of our processes to ensure they provide a consistent level of good customer service. This is to include taking detailed information about a repair to assess the level of urgency and ensure the correct trade is deployed to the job; and to pass on any messages to operatives and other staff dealing with the repair, such as requests for call backs and updates, and when someone will be at home, to avoid a wasted visit by an operative.
Complaints and Dissatisfied Contacts 2023/24 Quarter 1: April to June 2023
Complaint Stage 1 (complaint cases):
During the three months to June, there were 47 new Stage 1 complaints (about 16 each month). This is two and a half times the number of cases received in the first quarter of 2022/23 (19 or about 6 each month). In the past 3 months, 81% of new cases were about repairs or housing matters (62% and 19% respectively), compared with 53% 12 months ago (repairs 32% and housing 21%). The main difference is that rent and service charge cases, and complaints about new development accounted for 37% of new Stage 1 cases in 2022/23, compared with only 9% of cases this year. In both years, these four areas accounted for 89% of Stage 1s, or almost 9 in every 10 cases.
Complaint Stage 2 (complaint appeals):
One case about repairs has escalated to appeal so far this financial year. There were 3 Stage 2 cases in the first 3 months of 2022/23 although, given the very small numbers involved, it is not practical to compare the figures at this early stage of the year.
Housing Ombudsman cases:
Over the past 12 months or so, we are finding that customers are increasingly prepared raise complaints with the Housing Ombudsman (HO). In such instances, the HO Service will contact us and we log and track the case. Ombudsman cases essentially fall into one of the following:
The customer has not raised the case with us already, so we need to log it as a new case and progress it through the usual internal two-stage process.
The case is currently progressing through our complaints process, but in the meantime the customer has escalated their complaint to the HO. We need to respond to the customer at Stage 1 or Stage 2, depending on how far the case has got.
Our complaints process has been exhausted and a final response has already been provided to the customer, which they are not satisfied with. We must provide a copy of our response to the HO Service for further investigation and their adjudication.
Five cases were taken to the Housing Ombudsman in Quarter 1: 3 were about repairs, 1 was a housing case and the other related to service charges. This compares to 1 Ombudsman case in 2022/23 Q1, and a total of 7 cases raised throughout the whole of last year.
188 contacts were classified as dissatisfactions in the three months from April to June. There were 77 more dissatisfied contacts in the same quarter of the previous year. Whilst dissatisfaction has reduced by almost 30% at the first point of contact, a far greater proportion of customers are now escalating these issues as formal complaints. In comparison to the breakdown of formal complaints in 2023/24 Q1, a slightly lower proportion of dissatisfied contacts (55%) were in relation to repairs (62% for formal complaints). Conversely, there was a slightly higher proportion of dissatisfied contacts about housing related matters (27% versus 21% for formal complaints). The combined proportion of dissatisfied contacts, 82%, is almost identical to repairs and housing related Stage 1 complaints at 81%.