Homeless Stars Housing aims to provide accommodation where individuals can enjoy having somewhere safe and pleasant to live. It seeks to provide the highest possible quality of accommodation and support to all service users, however it is recognised that sometimes these standards slip and it may be necessary to make a complaint.
Homeless Stars Housing encourages all stakeholders to make use of the complaints system detailed in this policy. All complaints will be taken seriously and dealt with as quickly, fairly and efficiently as possible.
A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction with some element of the service provided by Homeless Stars Complaints may relate to:
- standard or type of accommodation
- repairs and maintenance
- type and quality of support provided
- organisational policy
- anti-social behaviour (by a resident/service user)
- behaviour of another resident/service user
- staff or volunteers
The handling of repairs is covered in the Repairs Policy.
How to complain
Complaints can be submitted via any reasonable form of communication, including:
- in person to a staff member or volunteer
- over the phone
- in writing (letter, email, text)
Recording and responding to complaints
All complaints will be acknowledged within 2 working days of receipt usually via the same form of communication as it was received. This acknowledgement does not have to be provided in writing.
Homeless Stars will maintain a record of all complaints submitted for monitoring purposes and to ensure each complaint is handled as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The information recorded will include the following:
- Date the complaint was received
- Individual submitting the complaint
- Summary of the complaint details
- Staff member who is handling the complaint
- Stage of the complaints process
- Date a response was provided
- Details including whether there is an advocate/support associated with the complainant, contact details and preferred method of communication
Full details of the complaint and any responses provided will be added to the case notes file r elsewhere as applicable.
There are three stages of the complaints handling process.
Stage 1 complaints will usually be handled by the member of staff who first received the complaint. A response will be provided within five working days usually in person or over the phone. The response does not have to be in writing.
The emphasis with a Stage 1 complaint is to ensure that the complaint is handled, and any issues rectified, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the Stage 1 response, Homeless Stars Housing must be informed within five working days of that response. The complaint will then be passed to a more senior or alternate member of staff for further investigation, for example:
- If the Stage 1 complaint was handled by the Volunteer Coordinator or Housing Support Worker, the Stage 2 complaint will then be handled by the Destitution Project Coordinator or the Homeless Stars Housing Manager depending on which project the complaint relates to.
- If the Stage 1 was handled by the Destitution Project Coordinator then the Homeless Stars Housing Manager will be responsible for handling the Stage 2 complaint and vice versa.
In scenario where this is not possible or the complaint is in relation to that particular staff member, a member of the relevant subgroup will be asked to investigate and provide a response to the complaint.
A response to a Stage 2 complaint will be provided in writing with 10 working days of receipt of the Stage 2 complaint.
If the complainant is still not satisfied following the Stage 2 response, Homeless Stars Housing must be informed within 10 working days of that response and a reason provided as to why the complainant believes the response to be incorrect, unfair or outside organisational policy
Stage 3 complaints will be passed to the Chair of the relevant project subgroup for further investigation and response. An acknowledgement will be provided in writing setting out when a full response to the complaint will be provided to the complainant. Therefore, timescales may differ between complaints at Stage 3.
If after each of these stages, the complainant remains dissatisfied with the response and the situation, then they can request that this be escalated to the Chair of the Board of Directors who will then determine the most appropriate response and action to be taken.
Complaints against staff
It is possible that complaints may be made against members of staff. These must be handled in a slightly different manner as it is not appropriate for the staff member to handle a complaint that has been made against themselves. In the first instance, complaints against staff members should be handled by the line manager of that staff member and escalated to the chair of the subgroup and Board of Directors as necessary if the complaint progresses through the subsequent stages.
If any complaint against a member of staff is upheld, the managers/directors should refer to the Disciplinary Policy and Procedures, as set out in staff contracts of employment.
If any complaint against a volunteer is upheld, the Project staff should refer to the Volunteer Policy relating to procedures to be followed.
Support for complainants
Any person, particularly residents, making a complaint are entitled to request support to do so or source their own support from another service user, a volunteer or another agency etc. This support can be engaged at any point during the complaints process and will not impact the way in which Homeless Stars Housing will handle the complaint.
A complainant may also wish to speak to an independent advocate, such as Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Homeless Stars Housing can provide any necessary contact details and signposting as required.
Homeless Stars Housing will monitor the information recorded regarding complaints and whether the timescales set have been achieved. Reports will be submitted to the subgroup on a regular basis and data regarding achievement of the target timescales for providing responses and the number of complaints received will also be provided to the Board of Directors for review.
Reviews of complaints and how Homeless Stars Housing can learn and improve from them will be undertaken on a regular basis.
Approved by the Board of Directors
This policy is reviewed every five years, unless legislation changes mean that an early review is applicable.
Date approved: November 2022
To be reviewed: November 2025.