Contact us - complaints

If you are dissatisfied with any service provided by us or one of our contractors, let us know so we can try and resolve it with you. We will not normally consider a complaint that is made more than six months after you first became aware of the iss

Ashington (Head office)

Bernicia HQ, Oakwood Way,

Ashwood Business Park, Ashington,

Northumberland, NE63 0XF

Durham Office

Three Rivers House,

Abbeywoods Business Park,

Pity Me, Durham, DH1 5TG

Berwick Office

Unit 1, Windmill Way North,

Ramparts Business Park,

Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1TA

Opening hours

Monday to Friday: 8:30am – 5:00pm

Visit Head Office by car

Travel along the A189 heading towards Ashington. Exit at the junction with the B1334 and follow the signs for Ashwood Business Park. Take the first exit at the next roundabout onto Oakwood Way. Our Head Office is the first building on your left. Visitor parking is available at the entrance to the office. If there are no available spaces, please use the staff car park at the rear of the building.

Resolution
When we receive your complaint, we will call you within 2 working days and try and sort the problem out immediately if possible. If we can’t contact you by phone we will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint within 5 working days.  If your complaint needs further investigation, we will aim to do this within 10 working days.

Review
If you are not satisfied with the way we have resolved or dealt with your complaint you can ask for a review, giving the reason why you remain dissatisfied. Your review will be carried out by a Head of Service, usually within 10 working days.

If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint you can request a determination.  Your complaint will be looked at by two members of our Customer Services Committee, one of which will be a tenant member. The determination will be acknowledged in writing within 5 working days and an outcome confirmed within 20 working days.

 Housing Ombudsman Service
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint at the end of our complaints process you can contact the Housing Ombudsman.

The Housing Ombudsman will usually only look at your complaint once it has been through all steps of our own complaint process, and 8 weeks have elapsed since our final response has been issued.

In addition, you have the right to ask a ‘designated person’ to help find a local resolution to your complain instead of or before approaching the Housing Ombudsman. A designated person may be a local councillor or MP.

For more information please visit the Ombudsman’s website:

www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk

We welcome the publication of the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code which provides us with structure and guidance to ensure that making a complaint is easy and accessible and that we listen and respond to what you tell us.

As part of Housing Ombudsman’s requirements, we have to self-assess our complaints service against the Complaint Handling Code.

You can read our self-assessment here

We have already made changes as a result of the self-assessment:

  • As a result of the self-assessment we’ve: adopted the Housing Ombudsman definition of a complaint
  • updated our complaints policy and procedure
  • improved information on our website to include links to our policy and procedure
  • consulted with tenants on the reasonableness of complaint exclusions.

Whilst we can demonstrate we meet the requirements of the Code, we want to continue to improve our complaints services.  To do this we will:

  • enhance performance management and reporting of complaints within our governance structure and to our tenants
  • ensure complaints are further promoted as a positive opportunity for learning and improvement
  • improve our communication with customers during the duration of their complaint and make sure they are supported
  • make sure our staff are trained and equipped to recognise and deal with complaints.
  • further emphasise the authority and autonomy of our dedicated complaints officer in both resolving complaints and receiving positive and timely engagement across our business
  • revisit our policy and procedure to consider the merits of the third stage and whether this should be optional
  • seek feedback from customers on their experience of our complaints process
  • share learning from complaint outcomes including what changes are made as a result of these, on a quarterly basis with our tenants
  • aim to achieve the Housing Ombudsman’s timescales for providing information.