GCHA is committed to ‘Putting customers First’ by improving the quality of our services and our customers’ experience of GCHA services.
As an organisation we promote ‘Empowerment’; Underpinned by a clear set of values that embraces a culture of adaptability, responsiveness, inclusivity, trust, and accountability.
We welcome our customers views as it provides us with an insight into what we are doing well and where we may need to focus improvements.
We respond to all customer feedback in a consistent and professional manner and where we have failed to deliver ‘customer excellence’, or meet our ‘customers’ expectations’, we will hold our hands up, apologise, and work with our customers to rebuild their trust, respect and aim to ‘put things right’.
Why we welcome your feedback
- Your compliments let us know when we are getting it right
- Your comments tell us what you think
- Your complaints help us to know where we need to improve.
How to give us feedback or make a complaint
We encourage our customers to contact us directly to discuss how we can make things right at first point of contact.
The easiest way for you to do this is by contacting one of our housing officers who will aim to make it right when they hear from you.
We understand that you may wish to contact us by other methods, so feel free to use any of the following ways to do so:
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (available for use 24/7)
• Telephone by calling 01474 369 830
• Website: Complete the complaints form on the side of this page.
• In person: 14 London Road, Northfleet, Gravesend, DA11 9JQ (Available weekdays 9am – 5pm)
• In writing: 14 London Road, Northfleet, Gravesend, DA11 9JQ
• Via social media platforms: X and LinkedIn
• Directly to any of our colleagues in person
• Via a representative or advocate (We must have written permission from yourself the customer to speak to a third party acting on your behalf)
Where we receive feedback via social media, we will contact the individual directly; not via (social media) to discuss the situation with them.
We will adapt our complaints policy, procedures, or processes to accommodate an individual’s needs as much as possible, making any reasonable adjustments where necessary.
The complaints process
Stage One – Investigation and Resolution
- We will aim to resolve the complaint as early as possible. If we cannot resolve your concerns at the first point of contact, your complaint will be referred to the Operational Lead for (Housing/Repairs), to review and respond to your complaint.
- In line with the Housing Ombudsman guidance, GCHA will acknowledge your complaint within five working days of receipt.
- The Operational Lead will explain what steps will be taken to investigate your complaint, which may include visiting you in person if they felt it would help them understand the context of the complaint and contribute towards the overall solution or outcome.
- The target time for responding to complaints is 10 working days from the receipt date.
- Although due to the type of complaint and complexities to resolve, it may not always be possible to complete all agreed actions within this period. If that is the case, the Operational Lead will contact you and agree a new response date and explain the reasons for this. The Operational Lead will keep in touch with you by telephone or email to keep you informed of the progress of your complaint.
- Once we have agreed a resolution and confirmed our decision in writing, we will either close the complaint at stage one or inform you that we will need to monitor the progress of any outstanding actions until these are complete, before making the decision to close.
- Together, we (GCHA/Customer) will agree what is an appropriate timeline to provide regular updates until the complaint is resolved.
- Where customers raise additional complaints during the investigation, these will be incorporated at stage one if they are relevant, and the stage one response has not been issued. If the stage one response has been issued, or it would unreasonably delay the response, the complaint should be logged as a new complaint. Where the complaint issues are very different to the initial complaint at stage one, we will log as a separate complaint.
- If the customer is dissatisfied with the resolution or outcome and requests to escalate their complaint to stage two, then we will communicate with the customer to try and understand the reason for their continued dissatisfaction and what will help resolve the complaint.
- If there is a way that we can resolve the complaint at stage one, we will.
- We will seek further clarification from the customer, and if they remain unhappy with our response after a discussion with the customer, give clear reasons why they believe their complaint should be escalated, GCHA will decide to decline or escalate the complaint based on a number of factors:
- Has the complaint been fully responded to at stage one and upon escalation, the response will remain the same
- Whether the complaint is vexatious and or the resident has demonstrated unreasonable behaviours towards staff making it difficult to resolve the complaint to a satisfactory level.
- We will only escalate a complaint once it has completed its stage one complaints process.
- If the decision is made to ‘not escalate’ the customers complaint to stage two, GCHA will explain clearly to the customer, the reasons why. This would deem GCHA’s complaints process as closed allowing the customer (should they wish) to pursue their complaint directly with the ‘Housing Ombudsman’.
- Any decisions to not escalate the complaint to stage two should be an exception to the rule and not common practice.
Stage 2 – Review and Decision
- The Chief Executive or where the Chief Executive is not available, another member of the Executive Management Team, will carry out a review of the complaint. This may include a Board Member.
- The identified lead will contact the customer within five working days to discuss the complaint concerns with them.
- The lead person will listen, ask the customer what a successful outcome would look like, investigate the complaint further and write back to the customer within a further 10 working days, with the outcome of their investigation.
- If the Lead is not able to resolve the complaint within this timeframe, a reasonable timeframe will be agreed with the customer.
Stage two of the complaint process will be the final review process. If a customer remains dissatisfied with how their individual situation has been handled and / or with the outcome, they may refer their complaint to the ‘Housing Ombudsman’.
Stage 3 – The Housing Ombudsman
- GCHA will await to hear from the Housing Ombudsman at this stage of the complaints process. On contact, GCHA will cooperate with the ‘Housing Ombudsman’s’ requests for evidence and provide this within 15 working days.
- We will explain the delay if a response cannot be provided within this timeframe. If accepted as reasonable, the ‘Housing Ombudsman’ will agree a revised date with us.
The Housing Ombudsman Service
GCHAs aims to resolve complaints before they get to Stage one or Stage two. However, should the customer remain dissatisfied at Stage two of our complaints process, they can ask for a review of the case by the Housing Ombudsman Service.
The Housing Ombudsman will only investigate a complaint where the customer has exhausted GCHA complaints process, although this must be done within six months of having completed GCHAs formal complaints process.
The customer must be a GCHA resident to complain to the Housing Ombudsman. The Housing Ombudsman’s contact details are:
Housing Ombudsman Service
Tel: 0300 111 3000
Lo Call: 0845 712 5973