Following a review one year after it was introduced, which demonstrated overwhelming support for the Code, we updated it to strengthen provisions to support a positive complaint handling culture. The changes took effect from 1 April 2022.
What is the Complaint Handling Code?
Watch this helpful video that looks at what the Complaint Handling Code is.
Key areas in the Code
Key areas of the Code include:
- universal definition of a complaint
- providing easy access to the complaints procedure and ensuring residents are aware of it, including their right to access the Housing Ombudsman Service
- the structure of the complaint's procedure - only 2 stages necessary and clear times set out for responses
- ensuring fairness in complaint handling with a resident-focused process
- taking action to put things right and appropriate remedies
- creating a positive complaint handling culture through continuous learning and improvement
- demonstrating learning in annual reports
- annual self-assessment against the Code
The Code was introduced as part of the Ombudsman’s new powers in the revised Housing Ombudsman Scheme. The updated Code takes effect from 1 April 2022 and landlords have until 1 October 2022 to become compliant.
Changes to the Code are covered in an easy reference guide for landlords and residents together with a summary of the Code, updated Complaint Handling Code FAQs (housing-ombudsman.org.uk), and other supporting materials in the 'Helpful Links' section of this page.
Landlords must carry out an annual assessment against the Code to ensure their complaint handling remains in line with its requirements and publish the results, but please note that these do not need to be submitted to the Ombudsman. Non-compliance could result in the Ombudsman issuing complaint handling failure orders. Guidance on these orders has also been reviewed and updated.
The Code will act as a guide for residents setting out what they can and should expect from their landlord when they complain. The requirements in the Code also provide residents with information about how to make a complaint and how to progress it through the landlord’s internal complaints procedure.