Our Managing Agents, Brighton and Hove City Council, manage our complaints process. Your Housing Officer will help you through the process and explain your rights to you if you are unsure of how to make a complaint or what to do next. You can also read our Managing Agent’s full Complaints Policy.
How to make a complaint:
- use the online complaint form found on the council’s website
- write to Customer Feedback Team, 1st Floor, Hove Town Hall, Norton Rd Hove, BN3 3BQ
- phone 01273 291 229, the telephone service is available Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 1:30pm, except public holidays
- send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Equalities and access to the complaints procedure
The council does not insist on complaints about straightforward matters being put in writing and staff will be prepared to take down details of a complaint at a contact centre or over the phone. Complainants will be asked, however, to put complaints about more serious and detailed matters in writing.
If someone has difficulty writing and it is a serious or detailed matter the Customer Feedback Team will provide details of appropriate advocacy services and in exceptional situations arrange to meet with the complainant.
The aim of the first stage of the complaints procedure is to resolve problems as quickly as possible and, where the council has made a mistake, to put the complainant in the position they would have been in had the mistake not been made.
All complaints should be acknowledged in writing within two working days of being received. The acknowledgement letter should state:
- the name of the officer or the section dealing with the complaint and how they can be contacted.
- when the complainant can expect a reply. This should be within ten working days of the complaint being received.
Although the procedure allows ten working days to reply, every effort will be made to respond to the problem as soon as possible.
In some cases it may be appropriate and more efficient to phone or meet with the complainant to let them know what action has been taken in response to their complaint. This type of response will generally be appropriate for more straightforward matters which can be resolved quickly.
More complicated complaints should always receive a written reply. Responses sent in reply to complaints should:
- be clear, concise and avoid jargon and technical language as much as possible.
- answer all the points of concern raised by the complainant.
- explain the reasons for the failure in service, (if one has occurred).
- provide an apology where appropriate, and explain what action has been, or is being taken, to put things right and prevent the same thing happening in the future.
- offer a remedy where appropriate
- explain what further action the complainant can take if they are not satisfied with the department’s response
What if I’m still not satisfied?
If you are still unhappy after the complaint has been dealt with at Stage 1 you can ask for a further investigation to be carried out by a Customer Feedback Officer.
Requests for Stage 2 investigations should be submitted in writing by the complainant or their advocate, explaining why they are unhappy with the previous responses they have received and what outcome they are seeking.
The Customer Feedback Team will acknowledge the request within two working days of receipt. A Customer Feedback Manager will assess the request contact the complainant to let them know how their complaint will be dealt with.
Investigations will focus on the administrative process and whether the council has acted in accordance with the appropriate policies, processes and legislation. The Customer Feedback Manager cannot consider the merits of a decision or the professional judgement of officers. However, Customer Feedback Managers will consider if the service team has acted fairly, proportionately and reasonably.
On completion of the investigation the Customer Feedback Manager will reply to the complainant detailing the findings of the investigation.
Customer Feedback Managers aim to conclude all stage 2 investigations within twenty working days. Where this is not possible, in the case of particularly complex investigations for example, the Customer Feedback Team will ensure that the complainant is kept informed of progress.
The Customer Feedback Manager will discuss any learning and service improvement recommendations with senior managers and how those recommendations might be implemented.
At the end of Stage 2 the complainant will be advised of their right to contact the appropriate Ombudsman.