Complaints and feedback

We want to hear the views of customers about our services.

We recognise the right of customers to make a complaint when we fall short of their expectations, the standards set by our regulator or our organisational values.

We view feedback and complaints as a valuable resource to help improve our service offer and delivery, and we are committed to excellence in everything we do. The success of our organisation depends on our ability to deliver excellent services that exceed expectations: we can only do this if we receive, listen to and act on feedback.

If you need to report anti-social behaviour, please click here.

If you have a safeguarding concern, please click here.

How to make a complaint or give feedback

Feedback can be given using any of the following ways:

You can also make complaints or provide feedback by:

  • Calling our customer contact centre during office hours on 0333 010 4600
  • In person to any member of Look Ahead staff
  • In writing to your service or to Customer Services, Look Ahead, Cally Yard, 439 Caledonian Road, London, N7 9BG
  • By voicing your opinion at one of our customer scrutiny panels, visit our get involved page for more information
  • Using the Feedback and Complaints form available in all services, local suggestion boxes, local meetings and forums
  • Via an authorised advocate or external support person
  • Through the Customer Services Manager at feedback@lookahead.org.uk

Look Ahead complies with the Housing Ombudsman’s code of conduct. Customers and tenants have the right to contact the Housing Ombudsman at any point in the complaints process to seek advice and guidance. The Housing Ombudsman can be contacted on their website at https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/contact-us/.

To measure our performance against the Housing Ombudsman’s Code of Conduct, Look Ahead have completed a self-assessment. It shows how well we are performing against the code, the areas that we need to improve on, and evidence of the ways that we are doing this.

Feedback

A key part of our commitment to improving service quality is taking feedback on board. We want to hear from you about:

  • when we have done something well
  • a compliment about our services or colleagues
  • a suggestion about how we could improve a service, procedure or process
  • constructive criticism that you may not wish to formalise as a complaint

We also love to hear when you have received an excellent service. This helps us to recognise where we are doing particularly well so we can share this with our other services. If you feel that a particular staff member or team has gone above and beyond this year, you can also give them a well deserved pat on the back. You can also do this through our feedback form here.

Complaints

At Look Ahead, we always aim to provide the best possible service for our customers. However we recognise that sometimes things can go wrong. When this happens we will try to put things right as soon as possible.

A complaint is defined as any expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions of lack of action by the organisation, its own staff or those acting on its behalf, affecting an individual customer or group of customers.

Anyone can submit a complaint.  All complaints, including complaints submitted by a third party or representative will be managed in line with this policy.

    • Failure to provide a good service relating to support, accommodation (owned or managed by us) or housing services or safety.
    • The behaviour or conduct of staff, volunteer or contractors working on behalf of Look Ahead, including neglect or abuse.
    • Concerns or legal claims raised regarding disrepair, including damp and mould.
    • Delays in responding to enquiries and requests.
    • Poor treatment by a staff member or a contractor.
    • Failure to follow policy and procedures.
    • Poor quality of repairs, maintenance,  gardening, cleaning or ground works; or delays
    • A disagreement with decisions made by us in the course of our work which the complainant feels are unfair or unclear to them.

We aim to resolve all complaints promptly wherever possible. This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong and immediate action to resolve the problem. Where we cant resolve a complaint immediately, we will investigate under our stage 1 complaints procedure.

The following matters will not be considered as a complaint:

  • The issue occurred more than 12 months before a complaint was made unless there is a pattern of concern, a potential breach of the Equalities Act or the complaint is linked to a regulated care activity (Social Care activity).
  • A request for a service.
  • A report of anti-social behaviour – which will be managed in line with our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy.
  • Raising a safeguarding concern – which will be managed in line with our Safeguarding Policies and Incident Reporting Policy.
  • Complaints made by employees – which will be managed in line with our Grievance Policy.
  • Complaints relating to another organisation (unless this it relates to our contractors or others working on our behalf).
  • Appeals against warnings, notices to quit or evictions.
  • Legal proceedings that have started, such as the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim have been filed at court.
    • Our customers – people who are supported by Look Ahead staff or who live in a home where we are the landlord
    • Family members, carers, or advocates supporting a customer
    • Organisations who receive a service directly from us
    • People who are affected by a service we provide (e.g. neighbours)
    • Local Councillors and MPs on behalf of our customers, tenants and members of the public

When dealing with your complaint, we will always listen to you, treat you with respect and ask you what outcome you would like. Complaints are dealt with by our team in two possible stages.

Timescales for complaints

  • All complaints will be acknowledged within five working days of receipt.
  • Stage one complaints will be investigated and a written outcome provided within ten working days of the complaint being acknowledged
  • Stage two complaints will be investigated and a written outcome provided within 20 working days of the complaint being acknowledged

Day one of the process starts from next working day of the complaint being acknowledged. This allows us to process complaints received late in the afternoon or outside of core office hours and Bank Holidays.

All new formal complaints will be logged at stage one and investigated by a manager. You will receive a response within ten working days of the initial acknowledgement.

Where it is not possible for us to respond within 10 working days, – for example due to the complexity of the complaint or the absence of a key member of staff/witness/complainant – we will contact the complainant to agree an extension of time to respond.

Any extension will not exceed 10 working days unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Where it is not possible to agree an extension period, the complainant will be advised to contact the Housing Ombudsman to ask for support in challenging the proposed timeline.

If you are not happy with the outcome of stage one you can request to escalate it to stage two where you feel we have not understood your complaint and/or missed key information in reaching our decision.

After each stage one complaint you will be offered the opportunity to complete a complaints satisfaction survey. This is to help us to improve our complaints service.

The complaint will be reinvestigated by a different manager, who will look at your complaint again and/or request additional information. We will respond to all stage two complaints within 20 working days.

Where it is not possible for us to respond within 20 working days, – for example due to the complexity of the complaint or the absence of a key member of staff/witness/complainant – we will contact the complainant to agree an extension of time to respond.

Any extension will not exceed 20 working days unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Where it is not possible to agree an extension period, the complainant will be advised to contact the Housing Ombudsman to ask for support in challenging the proposed timeline.

Next steps: If you remain dissatisfied with our final response, you can refer your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman (if your complaint is about housing) or the Local Government Ombudsman (if your complaint is about care). We will always provide you with these details.

Complaints policy

Our standards

Provide customers with a clear and simple complaints process

Provide customers with practical support to raise complaints or give suggestions

Make reasonable adjustments where appropriate

Listen and respond to all feedback and use it to improve our services

Focus on putting things right

Provide staff with the tools to resolve complaints promptly and appropriately

Act quickly when we have done something wrong and learn from our mistakes

Reduce the impact of unsafe or inappropriate care/treatment