18th July 2023
How to make a complaint about Tenant Services
How to make a complaint
Complete our online form
- Email: CCOHousing@wokingham.gov.uk
- Call: 0118 974 6000 - choose option 4 and ask to speak to the Housing Service Customer Care Officer
- Write to: Customer Care Officer, Housing Service, P.O. Box 154, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 1WN
- Organise a face-to-face meeting at one of our offices with the Customer Care Team (this is subject to availability of space and Covid-19 guidance)
What is a Housing complaint?
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about:
- The standard of service
- Service not provided
- Actions taken by us, our staff or those acting on our behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents
- Lack of action taken by us, our staff, or those acting on our behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents
Please be aware that the Housing service can only investigate complaints regarding Wokingham Borough Council, its own staff or those acting on its behalf. If you want to make a complaint about a Housing Association, we recommend you seek their Complaint Policy and Process or make contact with Citizens Advice or the Housing Ombudsman for support.
What is not a Housing complaint?
There are some circumstances as to why we will be unable to progress the issue through the Housing Complaint, Compliment and Compensation Policy.
- Anti-Social Behaviour reporting
- Complaints that are going through a court, tribunal or are within a legal process
- Dissatisfied with a Housing Allocations decision
- A query
- A first request for service (this is when a resident has initially raised an issue with the service requiring action from the landlord to put something right. The resident should allow for the Housing service to deal with their request initially, before raising with the Customer Care Team. A complaint can be raised when the resident is dissatisfied with the response to their service request)
- If the issue giving rise to the complaint occurred over 6 months ago. However, these will be considered on a case-by-case basis where safeguarding or health and safety are concerned
- If the resident has already been through the complaints process for the issue and has been provided with an in-depth formal response
Housing Complaints Procedure
We are currently working on an accessible format to the Housing Complaints, Compliments and Compensation Policy which will be update on our website after sign off with the Tenant and Landlord Improvement Panel. In the meantime, you can request the most up to date policy from the Customer Care Team through the contact details provided on this page.
This policy also includes a Reasonable Adjustments Policy to ensure that the process is accessible to all. If you would like adjustments to be made, please alert the Customer Care Team when making a complaint. An Unacceptable Complainant Behaviour Policy is also included and makes clear what is unacceptable behaviour during the Housing Complaint Process.
- 5 working days for Customer Care Team to acknowledge
- 10 working days to respond (The Service Manager may contact you to discuss actions for resolutions with a follow up formal response provided after this contact)
- Delays can occur. If the delay is over 20 working days from the original target date, it will be agreed between the Customer Care Team and the resident
- If you are dissatisfied with the stage 1 response, you can request escalation to Stage 2 within 20 working days of the receipt of a Stage 2 response
- 5 working days for Customer Care Team to acknowledge
- 15 working days to respond. This will be a formal letter response produced by the Service Manager and provided to the resident
- Delays can occur. If the delay is over 10 working days from the original target date, it will be agreed between the Customer Care Team and the resident
- If you are dissatisfied with the stage 2 response, you can request escalation to the Tenants Panel within 20 working days of the receipt of a Stage 2 response
- 5 working days for Customer Care Team to acknowledge and resident made aware of the next available tenant panel meeting
- Tenant Panel meeting held, case reviewed and actions for resolution provided. All personal information will be redacted (deleted or taken out), to ensure that the resident remains anonymous to the panel
- 5 working days from the date of the meeting for the Customer Care Team to provide the panel response to the resident. Timescales will be given in a response if the tenant panel believe further investigation is required
There are several people who can represent a resident during a complaint. These include:
- A friend
- Another Resident
- A Family Member
- Support Agencies, e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau
- Designated Persons, e.g. a Member of Parliament or Councillor
- The Housing Ombudsman
Consent will be required from the resident before a response or information can be provided to the representative. The Customer Care Team will seek consent and advise the representative of this.
When a designated person raises concerns, an issue or situation with the Housing Service on behalf of a resident, the Customer Care Team will establish whether this is a complaint or if this is a Councillor and MP enquiry. You can find a list of designated persons on our Councillors and MPs page. All complaints raised by a Councillor and/or Member of Parliament (MP) will be processed through the Housing Complaint process. Councillor and MP enquiries are processed separately to complaints. An enquiry may be a query raised by a designated person. Councillor and MP enquiries have 5 working days for the Customer Care Officer to acknowledge and a target to be responded to within 10 working days. The Customer Care Team will make it clear from acknowledging if it is an enquiry or a complaint.
The Housing Ombudsman can be contacted at any point during the Housing Complaint process and are set up by law to look at complaints and resolve disputes involving tenants and leaseholders of social landlords and voluntary members.
You can contact the Housing Ombudsman by the following methods:
- Call: 0300 111 3000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit the Housing Ombudsman website
- Address: Housing Ombudsman Service, PO Box 152, Liverpool, L33 7WQ or Housing Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, Harbour Exchange Square, Isle of Dogs, London, E14 9GE
Upcoming Housing Complaint Procedure and Policy Changes
In March 2021, we went out for consultation with internal and external stakeholders on a new draft complaints policy update. Please see the draft complaints policy (PDF document) that underwent consultation, including with the Tenant and Landlord Improvement Panel. Comments and feedback from the consultation are being collated and edits are being made, before the policy will seek sign off with all the involved tenant groups. This website will be updated regularly with updates on the progress of the policy and its implementation.
At present, the team, in partnership with the involved tenants are working to set up a Tenants Complaints Panel, produce a staff guide to complaints, tenant guide to complaints and provide training on the complaints process to staff and involved tenants. If you are interested in volunteering to be part of the Tenants Complaints Panel, you can register your interest by contacting email@example.com.
Housing Ombudsman Complaint Code Self-Assessment
In July 2020, the Housing Ombudsman published its Complaint Handling Code. Within this was a requirement for landlords to complete regular self-assessments of their complaints process. This has since been updated with a further Complaint Handling Code published in
We have now completed 2 self assessments and published these accordingly.
- Read our Housing Complaint Handling Code Self-Assessment Form – subject to sign-off from The Housing Ombudsman (PDF document) from December 2020
- Read Our Housing Complaint Handling Code Self-Assessment Form – subject to sign-off from The Housing Ombudsman (PDF document) from 31 March 2021 against the consultation proposals
- Read our Housing Complaint Handling Code Self-Assessment Form – subject to sign-off from The Housing Ombudsman (PDF document) from the 9 May 2022 against the updated Complaint, Compliments and Compensation Policy
The Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code promotes the progressive use of complaints, providing a high-level framework to support effective handling and prevention alongside learning and development.
This Code ensures complaint-handling data is being used consistently across landlord members and promotes engagement at different levels within a landlord and sets out expectations for boards or equivalent governance, senior executives and frontline staff.
The Ombudsman expects landlords to carry out regular self-assessment against the Code and take appropriate action to ensure their complaint handling is in line with the Code. We will continue to do this as we monitor the success of the new policy.
The Ombudsman expects landlords to report the outcome of their self-assessment to their board members. In the case of local authorities, self-assessment outcomes should be reported to elected members. A copy of these Self-Assessments have been shared with the Tenant and Landlord Improvement Panel, which includes elected members, Involved Tenant Volunteers, staff and co-opted members. The Ombudsman expects landlords to publish the outcome of their assessments.
A Compliment is a polite expression of praise or admiration for going over and above what is expected within the role or service. This can be received verbally or in writing to the Customer Care Team or Housing Service Staff Member. Anyone who has had contact from the Housing service can make a compliment. If you would like to make a formal compliment, please contact the Customer Care Team. More information can be found within the Complaints, Compliments and Compensation Policy (PDF document).
Compensation is a payment, either obligatory or discretionary, of a sum of money in recognition of loss or detriment to a complainant. Compensation being referred to, is that which is related to a complaint case raised with the Housing service. The policy cannot consider disrepair claims or compensation undergoing a legal process. Compensation should be appropriate and proportionate but is not automatic when a mistake is made. More information can be found within the Complaints, Compliments and Compensation Policy (PDF document).
Landlord's complaints procedure
All complainants can seek advice and support from the Housing Ombudsman at any point during the Housing Service Complaints procedure. Visit the Housing Ombudsman website for more details. When you contact the Housing Ombudsman you will be asked if you have gone through the landlord's complaints procedure. Then you will be asked if you have involved a Designated Person or Tenant Panel regarding your complaint.
You can contact a designated person; The Designated Person is not part of the Complaints Procedure. It is separate and independent. The function of the Designated Person is to either review your complaint and help come to a local resolution between you and us or to refer you directly to the Housing Ombudsman.
You can also request that someone else represents you. If this is the case, the Customer Care Officer will seek consent that you are happy the response is shared with your representative.
What is a Designated Person?
A Designated Person is any MP in England or a local District or Unitary Councillor.
Please get in contact if you have any questions regarding the complaints process, email CCOHousing@wokingham.gov.uk or call us on 0118 974 6000. Select Option 4 for Housing and ask to speak to the Housing Service Customer Care Officer.