Complaints process - Scotland

If you live in Scotand and we have not been able to deal with your problem when you first told us, we would then deal with your complaint in the following stages.

Home Group aims to deliver the best services possible to customers and positively encourages feedback in the form of complaints, compliments and comments.This information is extremely valuable and helps ensure we continually shape, improve and learn from all of the feedback. This allows us to improve our working practices and enhance the quality of our services received by our customers.

What is a complaint?

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.

What can I complain about?

You can complain about things like:

  • delays in responding to your enquiries and requests
  • failure to provide a service
  • our standard of service
  • dissatisfaction with our policy
  • treatment by or attitude of a member of staff
  • our failure to follow proper procedure.

 

Your complaint may involve more than one of our services or be about someone working on our behalf.

What can’t I complain about?

There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints procedure. These include:

  • A routine first-time request for a service, for example reporting a problem that needs to be repaired or initial action on anti-social behaviour
  • our policies and procedures that have a separate right of appeal, for example, if you are dissatisfied with the level of priority you have been given when applying for a house, you may have the right to appeal against the decision
  • Issues that are in court or have already been heard by a court or a tribunal
  •  An attempt to reopen a previously concluded complaint or to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given our final decision following a stage 2 investigation. If you are still not satisfied, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman for an independent review of the complaint.

If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns we will give information and advice to help you.

Who can complain?

Anyone can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service. Please also read the section on ‘Getting help to make your complaint’.

How do I complain?

You can make a complaint in the following ways:

• Write to us.

• Contact us through our website www.homegroup.org.uk using the ‘General Enquiry’ form. This can be found in the ‘Help Centre’ section of the website.

• Telephone us on 0345 141 4663.

• Give your feedback to any Home Group member of staff.

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our service the simplest and quickest way to deal with a problem is to discuss it with a member of staff at our Customer Service Centre on 0345 141 4663. Our staff are fully equipped to handle concerns or feedback about our service addressing most problems immediately over the phone.

 When complaining, tell us:

  • your full name and address
  • as much as you can about the complaint
  • what has gone wrong
  • how you want us to resolve the matter.

How long do I have to make a complaint?

Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of:

• The event you want to complain about, or

• finding out that you have a reason to complain, but no longer than 12 months after the event itself.

In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.

What happens when I have complained?

We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint. Our complaints procedure has two stages:

Stage one – frontline resolution

We aim to resolve complaints quickly. This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem.

We will give you our decision at stage one in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If we can’t resolve your complaint at this stage, we will explain why. If you are still dissatisfied you can ask for your complaint to be investigated further through stage two. You may choose to do this immediately or sometime after you get our initial response. We can help you with making this request.

There may also be occasions where it is appropriate to issue a first and final response to a complaint at stage one. If this is the case we will discuss this with you. This will not prevent you from escalating your complaint to the next stage, although the response received at the next stage of our complaints handling process may be the same response received at stage one if no new information is brought to our attention.

Stage two – investigation

Stage two deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at stage one and those that are complex and require detailed investigation.

When using stage two we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
  • where appropriate, discuss your complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for
  • give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 20 working days.

If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.

What if I’m still dissatisfied?

After we have fully investigated, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it. They have a number of resources on their website to help you.

The SPSO cannot normally look at:

  • A complaint that has not completed our complaints procedure (so please make sure it has done so before contacting the SPSO)
  • Events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago
  • A matter that has been or is being considered in court.

You can contact the SPSO:

In person: SPSO

4 Melville Street

 

Edinburgh

 

EH3 7NS

Freephone: 0800 377 7330

Online contact: www.spso.org.uk/contact-us

Website: www.spso.org.uk

Requests for discretionary compensation

Requests for discretionary compensation will be considered as part of the complaints handling process, in line with our complaints, compliments and comments policy. If compensation is awarded and you have any outstanding arrears and/or debt, your compensation award will be offset against either or both and any balance paid to you.

The SPSO does not normally look at complaints about our factoring service. Complaints about factoring should go to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). This works to resolve complaints and disputes between homeowners and property factors if a homeowner believes that the property factor has failed to comply with their factoring duties or the Property Factors Code of Conduct.

For more information please see www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/

Factored customer complaints process

All you need to know on making a complaint as a factored customer in Scotland. 

Mid-market rent properties

Customers of mid-market rent properties in Scotland do not have recourse to the SPSO because the landlord is Home Group and it is classed as a private landlord in Scotland. However, if the complaint relates to the state of repair of the property and the customer remains dissatisfied at the conclusion of the complaints handling procedure, they have the right to complain to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

The Housing and Property Chamber contact details can be found on their website www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/

Reporting a Significant Performance Failure to the Scottish Housing Regulator

The Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) can consider issues raised with them about ‘significant performance failures’. A significant performance failure is defined by the SHR as something that a landlord does or fails to do that puts the interests of its tenants at risk, and which the landlord has not resolved. This is something that is a systematic problem that does, or could, affect all of a landlord’s tenants. If you are affected by a problem like this, you should first report it to us. If you have told us about it but we have not resolved it, you can report it directly to the SHR.

A complaint between an individual tenant and a landlord is not a significant performance failure. Significant performance failures are not, therefore, dealt with through this complaints handling procedure. You can ask us for more information about significant performance failures.

The SHR also has more information on their website:

www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk

Or you can phone them on: 0141 271 3810

Getting help to make your complaint

We understand that you may be unable, or reluctant, to make a complaint yourself. We accept complaints from the representative of a person who is dissatisfied with our service. We can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate, if you have given them your consent to complain for you.

You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance

Tel: 0131 524 1975

 

Email: enquiry@siaa.org.uk 

www.siaa.org.uk

Citizens Advice Scotland

Website: www.cas.org.uk

Or check your phone book for your local bureau.

We are committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community. In line with our statutory equalities duties, we will always ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to help customers access and use our services. If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing please tell us.