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Learning from complaints – March 2024

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As you may know from previous learning from complaints blogs, we’re at a critical point in time when it comes to dealing with your complaints.

The Housing Ombudsman service has changed many of its approaches to looking at the way housing associations like us handle your cases, and this means that we have to change too.

What hasn’t changed is that learning from your complaints is a top priority for us so that we can eradicate mistakes, improve our services and make things easier for our customers.

Here’s what we’ve learned over the last few months.

Reasonable adjustments

Everyone is unique and has their own challenges to deal with when they wake up every day. We understand that one size does not fit all, which is why it’s really disappointing to hear that sometimes customers feel as though we don’t take this into account when they ask for help.

That’s why we have enrolled everyone who works at Stonewater on our reasonable adjustments training to help them understand that small things can make a big difference to improving our services.

For example, this can be thinking about the best way to communicate messages to make sure customers fully understand them, thinking about the language it’s delivered in or thinking about any health conditions that customers have told us about that might things more complicated.

This training has been delivered across all of Stonewater over the last three months, and is helping us to address some of the issues you’ve told us about. We know that there is still a lot of work to do to fully embed the knowledge this training has given us, and we’re planning to develop this further to make sure everyone who works at Stonewater understands the importance of it.

Getting back to you

Another area which we know needs to be improved is making sure that we’re acknowledging the issues you’re telling us about in a reasonable time frame.

Whether that’s letting you know we have your complaint or that you’ve told us that you want it to be escalated to the next stage, your feedback has told us that this isn’t always clear.

We’re also aware that there are times when customers are having to repeat themselves at various points of the complaints process, which we understand is very frustrating when you just want something sorted.

Better record keeping will help us to make sure that these important steps are taken when you get in touch to speak to us about anything as well as the way we handle your complaints.

If you'd like to remind yourself of out complaints process, including the time frames we work to, then you can see it here.

We have launched an internal deep-dive into these issues to find out how we can improve the quality and timeliness of communication, as well as how we can make sure we’re capturing important information when you share it with us.

In the last few months, we have also been hearing that we could be better at letting you know about communal repairs, as well as other issues such as when we switch contractors. All of this is forming a key part of our Customer Service Action Plan which will help us to focus on the areas which you tell us aren’t quite right.

Customer Complaints Learning Panel

We’ve recently been recruiting volunteers for our new Customer Complaints Learning Panel (CCLP) to help us gather even more feedback about your complaints.

Applications have now closed and the new team will be formed as soon as we’ve selected our members.

The team will be:

  • Reviewing closed complaints and share your feedback about how they’ve been handled by our Customer Relations team
  • Sharing your experiences and what you think is important for Stonewater customers
  • Looking at how we can do things differently
  • Highlighting areas where we’ve done something really well, so that we can continue to do this for future complaints cases
  • Working in partnership with Stonewater and our Scrutiny Panel

We’ll have more news on our CCLP soon.

Making a complaint

If you want to make a complaint, then there are a number of ways you can do so.

You can:

OR write to us at:

Stonewater Suite C, Lancaster House Grange Business Park Enderby Road Whetstone Leicester LE8 6EP

You can find out more about making a complaint on our website here.