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  • Writer's pictureKarolis Duoba

Effective Complaint Handling

10 steps to become a Complaint Handling Champion your citizens and tenants deserve

Complaint Handling in housing and local government

In November 2023, The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) and the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS) asked for feedback on a single set of rules. Over 150 councils, 250 landlords, and 360 members of the public shared their thoughts. 


This resulted in two separate documents:   


The two individual codes have a unified approach but recognises the different contexts in which the Ombudsman schemes work. 

Here are 10 most important points from the new Complaint Handling Codes. *

*applicable to both council services outside of housing as well as landlords/housing authorities.

  1. ❄️ Handle with care.  Organisations must not take a blanket approach to excluding complaints; they must consider the individual circumstances of each complaint. Every complaint is unique and needs to be handled individually.

  2. 👂Keep your ears open.  An individual does not have to use the word ‘complaint’ for it to be treated as such. Whether it's labelled a complaint or not, every voice matters. 

  3. 🚩Spot the difference.  Organisations must recognise the difference between a service request and a complaint. 

  4. 🗣️Be proactive and transparent.  Where an organisation asks for feedback about its services through a survey, it must provide details of how individuals can complain where possible. Including complaint instructions at different touch points will help prevent future complaints. 

  5. 🟢Take it as a signal.  High volumes of complaints must not be seen as a negative, as they can be indicative of a well-publicised and accessible complaints process. 

  6. 👥Own it.  Every complaint needs a champion. Organisations must have a person or team assigned to take responsibility for complaint handling.

  7. 📊Tap into the data.  Organisations must use complaints as a source of intelligence to identify issues and introduce positive changes in service delivery. Each complaint is a window into customer experience. Our complaint handling platform CaseTracker makes it easy to use the data for service improvement.

  8. 💡Process is King.   Organisations must have a stage process in place to consider which complaints can be responded to as early as possible. This should include details on the two-stage process, what will happen at each stage, and the time frames for responding. 

  9. 📝Be ready.  Organisations should produce an annual complaints performance and service improvement report for scrutiny and challenge. We are ready, annual reports are easy with CaseTracker.

  10. ✅Set the standard.   All organisations must comply with all provisions in the Code as this represents best practice in complaint handling. The two individual codes have a unified approach but recognises the different contexts in which the Ombudsman schemes work. Only the Housing Ombudsman Service Complaint Handling Code is statutory. The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s Code is published with the expectation that local councils will carefully consider the code when developing policies and procedures. 

Act now. 

Our effective complaint handling system, CaseTracker enables public sector organisations to uphold accountability and transparency.  

  • It ensures that individuals' issues are addressed promptly and fairly within a two-stage proccess, fostering positive relationships, and preventing minor issues from escalating.   

  • It enables organisations to gain valuable insights from complaints, driving continuous improvement in service delivery and enhancing overall organisational performance.   

  • It allows you to adhere to the Complaint Handling Codes and demonstrate commitment to excellence in customer service and governance, ultimately contributing to a more responsive and accountable public sector. 

CaseTracker is your single policy for dealing with complaints and staying compliant. Avoid the mistake of having improvised and uncontrolled processes, leading to delays and confusion, learn more here.

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