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We know that sometimes things can go wrong. When this happens, we want to know about it so that we can put things right. Along with the information below, our complaints policy (PDF 133KB) explains more about how we manage your complaints and what you can expect from us if you do complain.
What is a complaint?
We have adopted the Housing Ombudsman’s definition of a complaint.
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by Sanctuary, its own staff, or those acting on its behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents.
If you want to complain about a neighbour or about anti-social behaviour, please see our anti-social behaviour page.
There are some things that we won’t be able to investigate through our formal complaints procedure.
How can you make a complaint?
We want to make it easy for you to tell us if you are unhappy with something.
The easiest way to complain is online using the complaints form.
You will need to provide as much information as possible to help us investigate your issue, including:
- What has happened
- When it happened
- What the impact on you and your family has been
- What you would like us to do to put things right
You can also contact us through any of the ways explained in Contact Us, including by phone to our Customer Service Centre.
What will we do when we receive your complaint?
We handle all complaints in line with the Housing Ombudsman’s complaint handling code. When you make a complaint, we will:
- Acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days
- Investigate your complaint thoroughly to ensure that we fully understand your complaint and look at all the information that is available to us
- Contact you every 3 -5 working days to keep you informed about our progress in investigating your complaint.
- Aim to respond to your complaint within 10 working days. Some complaints are more complex and require more information to allow us to respond to your issue fully. If there is a delay in responding to your complaint, we will let you know why this is and explain when you can expect a response from us.
- Contact you to discuss the outcome of our investigations. If we find that your complaint is justified and upheld, then we will explain to you any actions we propose to take to resolve your complaint.
- Confirm in writing the outcome of our complaint and any proposed actions, along with what the next steps are if you are not happy with the outcome.
If you remain unhappy with how we resolve your complaint at Stage 1 of our complaint process, you ask for your complaint to be reviewed. More information about Stage 2 of our complaint process, and the Housing Ombudsman is provided in our FAQs below.
What do you want to make a complaint about?
What happens if I am unhappy with the response at Stage 1?
If you are not happy with what we do to try and resolve your complaint, you can progress your complaint to Stage 2 of our complaints process. You should tell us why you are not happy and what else you think we should do to fix things for you.
What happens at Stage 2 of the complaint process?
At Stage 2 of our complaints process, your complaint will be reviewed in more detail by a more senior member of Sanctuary, who will:
- Look fairly and honestly at the concerns that you have raised.
- Carefully consider the impact that this has had on you and your family.
- Explain what action can be taken to resolve the complaint.
The purpose of our investigation is to assess whether staff have responded properly to a given situation and to decide whether their actions were fair under the circumstances.
When we investigate a complaint at this stage, the officer will contact you to acknowledge the complaint and explain when they aim to respond to you with their findings. They may also ask you to give more details about your concerns, or share any other information that you want us to look at. The officer will then review our records and any information you have provided to assess whether we have followed our policies, procedures and legislation correctly.
They will also consider any other factors which may affect your case need to ensure you have been treated in a reasonable way.
Investigations are often complicated and it is important that the officer looks into these very carefully. Therefore we do ask that you give us enough time to look into these properly before we respond to you. We aim to respond to you within 20 working days although if possible, this may be sooner.
What if I am unhappy with the response at Stage 2?
We always aim to resolve complaints so that you are happy with the outcome, however we recognise that this is not always possible.
If you are unhappy with our response and we have closed your complaint, you have the right to escalate your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service, an independent body that looks into how landlords have handled complaints. They will not normally consider a complaint until 8 weeks after receiving our final response. Alternatively you can approach a designated person to look at the complaint for you. The designated person can be an MP or Councillor.
Who are the Housing Ombudsman?
The Housing Ombudsman is an independent organisation which deals with disputes between social landlords and their residents. To find out more, you can visit the Housing Ombudsman website.
What is the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code?
The Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code aims to enable landlords to resolve complaints raised by their residents quickly and to use the learning from complaints to drive service improvements.
We review our compliance with the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code annually with of our Complaints Community of Interest Group.