Complaints, Compliments and Comments

Contents

Help us get it right

At CBH we aim to provide the best possible service to you, our customer. To do this, we need your help.

If you think we have done something particularly well (a compliment)

If you are dissatisfied with our services or staff (a complaint)

Your suggestions for improving our services (a comment)

A Guide to our Complaints process and policy

Colchester Borough Homes is committed to providing you with an excellent standard of customer service. For us to do this, it’s important that you let us know about your experiences of dealing with us.
 
The following information lets you know how you can contact us to tell us if you want to make a complaint.
  • How to complain
  • The Housing Ombudsman Service
  • How we deal with complaints
  • What to do if you’re not satisfied

How to Complain

You can make a complaint in the following ways:
 
By completing our Complaints form: Complaints – Colchester Borough Homes (cbhomes.org.uk) 
 
 
By telephone: 01206 282514
 
By letter: Freepost, Colchester Borough Homes, Sheepen Road, CO3 3WG
 
On Facebook or Twitter: @ColBoroughHomes

What is a complaint / What is not a complaint

The Housing Ombudsman defines a complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by the organisation, its own staff, or those acting on its behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents.

The Housing Ombudsman Service is set up by law to look at complaints about housing organisations that are registered with them, including housing associations and local authorities. 
 
You can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service for independent support or advice at any time with making a complaint. You can contact them online at www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk, by telephone on 0300 111 3000, or in writing at Housing Ombudsman Service, PO Box 152, Liverpool. 

We encourage our customers, staff and anyone affected by our actions to firstly approach the relevant service to express their dissatisfaction and give them the opportunity to put things right.

A complaint can relate to, but is not limited to:

  • Failure to follow the agreed policy or procedure.
  • The behaviour of a member of staff, board member or contractor.
  • Harassment, bias or unfair discrimination.
  • Unsatisfactory resolution of a claim for compensation.
  • Services provided, or not provided, are not within an acceptable timescale or are not of an acceptable standard.
  • Failure to properly take account of relevant matters when reaching a decision, apart from decisions made under Homeless legislation.
 

The following are NOT considered complaints and are not covered by the policy:

  • Cases where appropriate timescales or policy guidance have not elapsed.
  • These must be submitted in writing or emailed to CCC at insurance@colchester.gov.uk.
  • Matters where legal proceedings have been commenced or indicated.
  • Cases where there is a legal right to a review of the decision made such as homeless decisions and accommodation offers made under homeless duties.
  • Banding awards made under the Gateway to Homechoice Allocations Policy where there is a right to a review.
  • Cases regarding services not provided by Colchester Borough Homes.

If you remain dissatisfied, you can make a complaint.

How we handle complaints

We log all complaints and refer them to the most appropriate officer for investigation. We will send you an acknowledgement of your complaint within 5 working days. We aim to provide a full response within 10 working days from acknowledgement for stage 1 complaints or 20 working days for stage 2 complaints. We will let you know the outcome of your complaint. 
 
If we need more time to investigate your complaint, we will contact you to let you know and agree a new response date. For more details see our Complaints-policy

There are two stages to the formal complaints procedure

Stage 1 – Investigation by team leader/service area manager
We aim to acknowledge complaints within 5 working days of receipt with details of the complaint, what will be investigated and by whom. We will also ask for any more information that may be required. Stage 1 complaints will be investigated by an officer or manager that deals with the service the complaint is about. We aim to provide a full response within ten working days of acknowledgement of your complaint. If further time is required to investigate, we will let you know and will aim to provide a full response within twenty working days from the day of receipt.

Stage 2 – Review by senior manager
If you feel that your complaint has not been resolved at Stage 1 you are able to appeal the outcome.

Stage 2 complaints will be investigated by a member of our Corporate Management Team. We aim to provide a full response within twenty working days and will let you know the outcome of your complaint. If further time is required to investigate, we will let you know and will aim to provide a full response within thirty working days from the day of receipt.

The Housing Ombudsman Service have introduced a new Complaints Handling Code. To ensure that CBH Comply with this Code, we have carried out a self-assessment of our policies. You can see this self-assessment here. Following this, and after consultation, we have made changes to our policy.

Compensation and Remedies
At Colchester Borough Homes (CBH) we are committed to providing a high-quality service to our customers at all times. We recognise however, that there are times when services do not meet those high standards and customers are inconvenienced as a result. Please view our Remedies Policy and if you feel you have a claim for compensation, please complete the Compensation Claim Form.

What to do next if you are still not satisfied – Ombudsman

How to get independent support and advice when making a complaint –
 
The Housing Ombudsman Service is set up by law to look at complaints about the housing organisations that are registered with them. Their advice is free, impartial and independent.
 
You can contact the Housing Ombudsman at any time for help, support and advice when making a complaint and if you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint.
 

Online: Housing-ombudsman.org.uk

Telephone: 0300 111 3000

In Writing: Housing Ombudsman Service, PO Box 1484, Unit D, Preston PR2 0ET

We are required to self-assess our complaints handling service annually in line with the The Housing ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code.

CBH Complaints Annual Report

You can see the latest self-assessment at HO Code Self-Assessment 2023

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