News & Info  /  Complaints & Compliments

Complaints & Compliments


The quick links below will take you directly to that particular information on this page.

Policy

We recognise that many of the decisions we make have a real impact on the lives of our tenants. Therefore, we are concerned to ensure that all our decisions are fair and reasonable ones.

We are also aware that, even in the best run organisations, mistakes can happen.

For these reasons, we have a Complaints Procedure for attempting to resolve grievances. It also ensures that the Board of Management is made aware of complaints through quarterly reports. In this way we can hopefully resolve matters for tenants as well as learning from the experience and hence improving our service delivery.

We monitor all of our complaints received including initial contacts to ensure that everyone is being treated equally by asking each complainant to complete an equal opportunities monitoring form (Appendix 1). Records are kept and the findings are reported to the Board of Management through quarterly reports.

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What Can You Complain About?

In general you can raise issues about all aspects of the service we offer you such as repairs, re-housing, etc. You can complain about any act or omission by WFHA that has disadvantaged you.

This may include:

  • A failure by the Association to meet its legal duty as a landlord.
  • That you feel you have been unfairly affected by the Associations policies and procedures.
  • That you believe the Association has not interpreted its rules properly or has failed to act efficiently.
  • That you feel a member of staff or a representative of the Association has behaved improperly or has been discourteous.

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How To Make A Comment Or Pay A Compliment

If you are happy with the level of service you have received from us we’d love to hear about it. We use your compliments and comments to help shape services for the future.

Any compliment we receive will be forwarded to the relevant staff member/team.

You can make a comment or pay a compliment in writing, by telephone or e-mail to any member of staff and WFHA Head Office.

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How To Make A Complaint?

In writing or by e-mail to any member of staff and WFHA head office info@wfha.org.uk.

Complete an online feedback form on our website.

We would not normally investigate events that occurred more that 12 months previously.

We want to solve any problems that you have as quickly as possible. We would hope that you contact us in the first instance to discuss any difficulties you are facing and allow us to sort the problem out as quickly as we can. We believe that normally this will be the quickest and most effective way of resolving matters.

With any correspondence will be our offer of a translation service whether this be written or verbal.

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Mediation

The Association will consider the use of authorised mediators, such as the service provided by the Independent Housing Ombudsman, where we consider it to be appropriate. If we think it may be useful in resolving a complaint, we will suggest it to you – there is no obligation for you or the Association to agree to use mediation. Details of organisations are listed within this policy.

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Advice

You can seek advice at any Advice Centre, such as a Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or Law Centre. A CAB might, for example, help in putting what maybe a complicated situation down onto paper for you.

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The Complaints Procedure

Initial Contact / Informal complaint

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Stage 1 - Housing Services Manager

This is the stage when we hope to resolve the majority of our complaints. When you call the office or contact us in person you will be asked if you wish to record your dissatisfaction. The member of staff dealing with your complaint will complete an “Initial Contact – Complaints Form” (Appendix 2). Your complaint will be dealt with within 10 working days and the outcomes reported back to yourself. You will be asked at this stage if you are satisfied with the conclusion and if so your complaint will be closed. This part of the process will be facilitated by the Housing Services Manager, who when necessary will come and visit you or for you to have a meeting at the office, to see if we can resolve your complaint in a timely manner.

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Stage 2 - Contact the Director of Housing and Support

If you cannot resolve matters with the Housing Services Manager, at the initial contact stage please contact the Director of Housing and Support, via letter, phone, fax or e-mail. You must provide full details of why you are not satisfied with the initial investigation stage 1 and what you would like the Association to do about it. We ask you to do so within 15 working days of receiving the response related to your initial contact.

A copy of your “Initial Contact Form” will also be passed to the Director of Housing and Support along with any correspondence that has been sent to you during the initial stage within the complaints procedure. The Director of Housing and Support, or their representative, will then investigate the complaint and provide you with a written response normally within 15 working days from receipt of your complaint at our Head Office. If it seems likely that your complaint will take more than 15 working days to reply to, you will be written to giving the reasons for the delay and when you can expect a full reply.

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Stage 3 - Contact the Chief Executive

If you are not satisfied with the Director of Housing and Support’s decision you can complain in writing to the Chief Executive within 15 working days of receiving the Director of Housing and Support’s decision.

You need to set out all of the relevant points and provide documentation, photos etc. where appropriate. The Chief Executive, or their representative, will investigate all of the points you raise and consider the Director of Housing and Support’s response and may contact you to discuss them in detail.

You will receive a written response, normally within 15 working days. If it seems likely that your complaint will take more than 15 working days to reply to, you will be written to giving the reasons for the delay and when you can expect a full reply.

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Stage 4 - Contact the Board of Management

If you are not satisfied with the Chief Executive’s decision an appeal can be made to the Board of Management within 15 working days of receiving the Chief Executive’s decision.

You should put all details of the complaint in writing along with copies of relevant documentation, photos etc. Mark the envelope for the attention of The Chair, (Complaint), WFHA Board of Management and send it to the Head Office address.

The Board Members will form an Appeals Panel of three members. Each is given copies of all the relevant paperwork prior to the appeal hearing. You will also receive a copy.

We will contact you to arrange a convenient hearing date. If you do not wish to attend a decision will be made in your absence. If you are unable to attend arrangements can be made for you to speak to the panel’s representative. The appeal hearing will comprise of the Appeals Panel, a representative of the Association and yourself, if you wish to attend.

The panel will conduct the meeting, and will also use a proforma to capture some of the key issues with your complaint, you will also be asked how you would like us to respond to your complaint, and what your preffered outcome would be. Although this may not be possible, we expect our Board to know what improvements/outcomes you would like. This data will also be reviewed if you purse your complaint and the Ombudsman investigates your complaint further.

After the hearing we will let you know the panel’s decision within 15 working days. Where the reply is likely to take longer than 15 working days you will be advised.

IF YOU ARE A TENANT OF ANOTHER LANDLORD IE L&Q OR SOUTHERN HOUSING GROUP, YOU MUST ALSO NOTE STAGE 3.1.

However, If you are a tenant of another landlord you must first contact them before you approach the Housing Ombudsman with the details of your complaint. This additional stage is to ensure that your landlord is satisfied that Waltham Forest Housing Association has investigated and responded to your complaint appropriately. If they do not believe that we have, recommendations will be made at this stage. If they are confident that WFHA have took appropriate action, they will then advise you to approach the Housing Ombudsman service.

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Stage 5 - Contact the Independent Housing Ombudsman Service

Ombudsman Scheme
If you are not satisfied with the Appeals Panel decision you may contact the Independent Housing Ombudsman Service within 12 months of the Appeals Panel decision.

Housing Ombudsman Service
81 Aldwych
London
WV
WC28 4HN
Telephone: 0300 111 3000
E-mail: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk

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Other Independent Services

For Sheltered tenants there are two additional ways to comment or express a concern about the services we provide. Complaints to these two external bodies may be appropriate if they are in relation to the Sheltered Services we provide to you. For example, Scheme Manager Services, the Warden call system, and the Control Centre.

Before contacting either of these external bodies, we would ask that you use our internal procedure first, as this would give us an opportunity to try and resolve the problem for you quickly and efficiently. However, unlike the Ombudsman, it is not a requirement to have gone through our complaints procedure to contact these organisations and express a concern.

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London Borough of Waltham Forest Supporting People Team

As the specialist services that we provide to Sheltered tenants is predominantly funded via Supporting People Grant, our tenants can express concerns about aspects of the service directly to the Local Authority SP Team. This can be done via the normal Council’s complaints procedure. Copies of leaflets are available from our offices, all council offices, local libraries and on-line at www.walthamforest.gov.uk.

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Centre for Sheltered Housing Studies (CHS)

WFHA has achieved the CHS ‘Code of Practice’ and this means that we have submitted evidence that we provide a high level of service, and you are entitled to receive that from us at all times. If you feel that you we have not given you the high level of service that we aim for, and you have a ‘serious concern’ about our service you can contact the Centre directly.

At the end of this page you will see an extract from the CHS guidance that gives full details.

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Where do you Complain?

You can contact us at the Association’s registered office at:

Energy Centre
31 Church Hill
Walthamstow
E17 3RU
Telephone: 020 8524 6987
Fax: 020 8524 9935
E-mail: info@walthamforestha.org.uk

The office is normally open from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

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Monitoring of Complaints

As part of the Complaints Policy we recognise the importance of feedback to the Board. They will receive a report at quarterly Board Meeting detailing the number of complaints that have gone through the Complaints Procedure, including equal opportunities monitoring.

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CHS Code of Practice: Serious Concerns Procedure

The Code of Practice: Serious Concerns Procedure is designed to:

  • preserve the integrity of the Code by providing a clear process by which residents and other stakeholders can report any activity taking place within a sheltered housing scheme which seems to them to conflict with the good practice required by the Code.
  • alert the organisation to activities taking place which are contrary to the good practice required by the Code.
  • offer everyone concerned the opportunity to fully investigate and respond to the concern which has been raised.
  • ensure changes or improvements to practice to take place within the organisation where necessary.
  • The Code already requires that residents whose housing provider is registered with the Code should be fully aware of the Code of Practice, and the good practice that it requires within its ten standards.

Any concern reported through the Serious Concerns Procedure is investigated by the Code ‘Serious Concerns Panel’. The Panel is made up of two members of the Code of Practice Practitioner Working Group, which oversees the Code, and two independent Code Advisors/Assessors, none of whom have any relationship with the organisation which is the subject of the concern. The CHS Code of Practice Co-ordinator acts as ‘secretary’ to the Panel.

Confidentiality is essential. Concerns received by CHS will be dealt with by CHS staff and the Serious Concerns Panel in a way which ensures the identity of the person raising the concern remains unknown to the organisation which is the subject of the concern (unless that person wishes to be made known to the organisation). However, anonymous complaints will not be accepted by CHS, and the identity of the person(s) raising the concern, together with their relationship with the organisation, must be clear in correspondence with CHS.

The Serious Concerns Panel and CHS staff will respect the organisation’s confidentiality at all times during the process of investigation of a concern.

Serious Concerns may be expressed by any resident, relative, member of staff, volunteer, board member, or other person involved with the residents and/or staff any sheltered housing schemes which are managed by a provider who is registered to work towards, or who has complied with the Code of Practice for Sheltered Housing.

‘Other persons’ can include professionals whose work allows them access to sheltered housing schemes, such as Supporting People officers, Audit Commission Inspectors, social workers, consultants, trainers etc. Such professionals may observe or discover practices which are in conflict with the Code, and which give rise to concern, during visits to schemes undertaken for other purposes.

If through the continuous monitoring of an organisations progress and implementation of the Code, it is deemed that an organisation is failing to adhere to the good practice required by the Code a serious concern can be raised by the CHS.

So far as possible, where the issue/area of concern observed by the visiting professional relates to an individual resident or staff member, the person concerned should be encouraged and supported to report it her/himself, with the support of an advocate if necessary. However, where this is not possible or practical, or where the concern is of a more general nature, the concern should be reported directly to CHS by the visiting professional.

Section 15 of the Tenants Handbook contains detailed information on how to report concerns to CHS.

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Language & Translations

Office Open Hours

The office is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 12:00pm to 5:00pm on Wednesday.


Answer Phone

From time to time we have staff training sessions during office hours: at these times you may reach our answer phone. The message will explain what to do in the event of an emergency.


Out of Office Hours Repairs Service

Tel: 020 8524 2822

Please only use this service if you need an emergency repair outside office hours.

For all Gas related repairs please call:
Robert Heath Ltd
Contact Tel: 0800 077 6270 (Freephone) or 020 8336 6767
This service is available 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week.

For all Gas Boiler, heating and hotwater or other gas Related Repairs and Landlord Gas Safety Registrations (LGSR).


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