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Dealing with complaints - how we perform

Updated: 29 Mar 2017
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Complaints help us improve our service
Making a complaint

Complaints performance April 2014 – March 2015

The Housing Executive’s complaints procedure is a key element of improving our service to the public.
The procedure provides for a two tier process: first stage complaints are investigated by the Regional/Housing Benefit/Grants/Land & Property Managers as appropriate, and if still not satisfied, the complainant may then appeal to the Chief Executive at the second stage.
Where a complainant, after Stage 2, remains dissatisfied, they have recourse to the Commissioner for Complaints who may decide to investigate the case independently of the Housing Executive.


A complaint is not looked upon as a negative to the Housing Executive and its staff but as a valuable vehicle for ensuring the delivery of a high quality service to the customer. The Housing Executive places importance on trying to resolve complaints at an early stage. This is one of the reasons that home visits (when appropriate) play an important role at the first stage of the Complaints Process.
Response times alongside the quality of response are closely monitored. While it is important to meet the deadline, some cases, because of the complex nature of the complaint, take longer to resolve than others. The principle that is adopted is that an early response should not be at the expense of a full and thorough investigation.

Performance 2014 / 2015

During the last year, a total of 315 formal complaints were received. This compares with 332 received the previous year. Of the 2 cases investigated by the Commissioner for Complaints in 2014/15, one was not upheld and a consolatory payment was offered for the other.
One of the objectives of the complaints procedure is to act promptly to resolve the complaint, thereby reducing the flow of complaints from one stage to the next. During the year 2014/15, 259 First stage complaints were dealt with. 54 went on to the Second stage, compared to 84 the previous year.
We aim to respond to all complaints within 15 working days. Our target is to adhere to this in at least 90% of cases. The overall performance for complaints, excluding informal complaints, was 74%, which was an increase from 69% in 2013/14. The target of 90% is a challenging one in light of restructuring and significant staffing changes, but improvement in performance is being made.

Performance tables

Performance 2014 / 2015

Stage 1 Stage 2 Commissioner Total
Within 15 days 207 (80%) 25 (46%) 2 (100%) 234 (74%)
Total 259 54 2 315

Complaints statistics break down of areas 2014/15

Complaints Overall Amount Under 15 days Percentage
1st Stage Belfast Landlord Services 72 56 78%
1st Stage South Landlord Services 53 48 91%
1st Stage North Landlord Services 92 65 71%
1st Stage Grants 11 9 82%
1st Stage Land & Property 4 4 100%
1st Stage Finance 27 25 93%
2nd Stage Landlord Services 43 19 44%
2nd Stage Grants 2 1 50%
2nd Stage Land & Property 4 1 25%
2nd Stage Finance 5 4 80%
Commissioner 2 2 100%
Overall 315 234 74%

Nature of complaints

Complaints received tend to be mainly from Landlord Services with 63% received in relation to maintenance and repairs or housing. Other significant areas are Housing Benefit, neighbour disputes and staff attitude.
Problems identified during the investigation of complaints are monitored and, where appropriate, issues are highlighted with a view to improving service or procedures. In addition, where the Ombudsman makes a recommendation with regard to policy or procedural changes, these are followed up with the relevant Division.
The informal part of the Complaints System is used and monitored only by Landlord Services. That showed that 465 informal complaints had been logged last year with approximately 40% of these relating to repairs and maintenance.