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Complaints and feedback

We always want to hear your views on our services, both positive and negative.

When you tell us that you aren't happy with the service we have given, we use this feedback to put things right and make sure the same mistakes don't happen again.

For example, you can make a complaint if:

  • We have not delivered a service on time
  • We have not delivered a service at all
  • We have given you the wrong information
  • You received a poor-quality service
  • You have a complaint about a member of staff
  • You did not receive any information about an enquiry you have made to us
  • You are dissatisfied with the service you have received

How to make a complaint or give feedback

We want to know if you have any comments, suggestions or compliments about our services to help us continually improve.

How to make a complaint or give feedback:

  • email connect2@southtynesidehomes.org.uk
  • speak to a Customer Service Advisor through our LiveChat service on our website
  • tell your Neighbourhood Officer
  • ask someone to complain on your behalf (South Tyneside Homes will require your permission)
  • tell your Housing Plus Officer if you are in a Housing Plus Scheme
  • approach a councillor to make the complaint on your behalf (South Tyneside Council: Councillors and committees)
  • telephone 0300 123 6633
  • write to us: 
    Customer Service Team
    South Tyneside Homes
    Town Hall & Civic Offices
    Westoe Road
    South Shields
    Tyne and Wear
    NE33 2RL

What happens after I make a complaint?

Many problems can be resolved immediately. If not, we have a three stage complaints process and a Policy Review Log. At the end of the process, if you are still not happy, you will then have the right to take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Some complaints come about because of challenges to our policies or procedures. We may have followed the policy as it stands so these complaints are difficult to investigate, but the customer may actually disagree with the policy. In these cases we add your concerns on to the Policy Review Log and senior management consider where we may be able to change policy.

How is my complaint dealt with?

We will enter your complaint onto our electronic complaints system and give you a unique reference number. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, in writing or by telephone, within 3 working days.

If we have an informal complaint that we can resolve there and then we will enter it onto our electronic complaints system for monitoring purposes. You will not receive an acknowledgement letter.

Please note that all of our timescales for responding to complaints do not start until the first working day after the complaint is registered.

Stage 1

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and provide you with a unique reference number, by email or telephone within 3 working days.

We will try to resolve your complaint within 10 working days and respond to you via telephone or email.

If it is not possible to resolve your complaint within 10 working days, we will send you a holding letter to explain our reasons.

Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with our response at Stage 1, you can ask for your complaint to be investigated under Stage 2 of our complaints procedure. You must do this within 28 days. You must provide a clear reason to go to Stage 2. For example: not all issues have been addressed or there is outstanding work to be completed. A manager will investigate your complaint. We will acknowledge all Stage 2 complaints within 3 working days and reply to your complaint within 15 working days.

Again, if this is not possible we will send a holding letter explaining why.

For all complaints linked to debt advice provided by the Welfare Support service and which are subject to scrutiny by the Financial Ombudsman Service the maximum time for a written response to be sent to the Customer is 10 working days. All debt related complaints will be commenced at Stage 2, the remainder of Welfare Support complaints will follow the usual procedure.

Stage 3

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of Stages 1 and 2, you can ask for your complaint to be investigated under Stage 3 of our complaints procedure. You must provide a clear reason to go to Stage 3. For example: not all issues have been addressed or there is outstanding work to be completed. You must do this within 28 days by writing, telephone or e-mail.

Customer Services Team
South Tyneside Homes
Town Hall & Civic Offices
Westoe Road
South Shields
Tyne & Wear
NE33 2RL

Telephone: 0300 123 6633
Email: connect2@southtynesidehomes.org.uk

An independent team who has had no involvement at any other stage will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days. They will then investigate your complaint and respond within 20 working days.

Where we are not able to respond within the set timescales, we will keep you informed of progress and agree a new target date with you when we hope to have your complaint resolved.

For debt advice related complaints the same process will be followed as above, however there is a 30 working day time period, of which the 10 working days investigation at Stage 2 is part of.

If you are still not happy

If you are still not satisfied you may refer your complaint to one of the following:

The Designated Person

If you have completed all three stages of our complaints process you can contact a designated person to request a review of your complaint. A designated person is any local Councillor or Member of Parliament (MP)- South Tyneside Council's website will tell you who your local Councillor is at South Tyneside Council: Councillors and committees. The designated person will review your complaint and either make recommendations to South Tyneside Homes or refer your complaint the Housing Ombudsman Service. A designated person has no powers to enforce their recommendations, the only legally defined power they have is to refer a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service on a tenant's behalf. Details of how to refer your complaint to a designated person will be provided in your stage 3 complaint response letter.

The Housing Ombudsman Service

The Housing Ombudsman Service is an independent body which deals with disputes between social landlords and their tenants. You can contact the service directly without approaching a designated person if you wait eight weeks after receiving the Stage 3 response of your complaint from South Tyneside Homes. Or you can ask a designated person to refer you to the Ombudsman as explained above.

You can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service at:

Housing Ombudsman Service
PO Box 152
Liverpool
L33 7WQ

Email: info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk 
Telephone: 0300 111 3000

Details of how to refer your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service will be provided in your stage 3 complaint response letter.

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman

Any complaints relating to the management of the Allocations and Lettings & Anti-Social Behaviour Policies that South Tyneside Homes manages on behalf of South Tyneside Council can be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman. You can contact the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman at 53 - 55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH, online at www.lgo.org.uk (please note: this link will direct you away from South Tyneside Homes' website) or telephone: 0300 061 0614. Details of how to refer your complaint to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman will be provided in your stage 3 complaint response letter.

The Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service was set up by Parliament to resolve individual complaints that consumers and financial businesses aren't able to resolve themselves. South Tyneside Homes and the debt advice we provide is covered by this scheme as we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. If you are unhappy with our final response to your complaint about debt advice provided by South Tyneside Homes, or we have been investigating your complaint for 8 weeks (30 working days) and have been unable to provide a final response, you may make a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

You can contact the Financial Ombudsman, to make a complaint, in the following ways:

Telephone:

  • 0800 023 4567 (calls to this number are now free on mobile phones and landlines)
  • 0300 123 9123 (calls to this number cost no more than calls to 01 and 02 numbers)

Telephone lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 9am to 1pm.

The Financial Ombudsman Service will be happy to phone you back if you are worried about the cost of a call.

You can also text the Financial Ombudsman Service on 0786 002 7586 and they will call you back.

Email: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

In writing:

The Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
London
E14 9SR

Performance on complaint handling

 

Year

Complaints

received

Compliments

received

 

Completed within timescale

 

2014-2015

 

 

838

 

428

 

92%

 

2015-2016

 

 

964

 

489

 

93%

 

2016-2017

 

 

844

 

497

 

91.59%

 

2017-2018

 

 

678

 

464

 

91.26%

 

2018-2019

 

 

668

 

657

 

93.56%