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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

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Complaints: CIH charter for housing

CIH and HouseMark have published a complaints charter, setting out the outcomes that an effective complaints handling service can achieve.

Organisations are encouraged to sign up to the charter on a voluntary basis and to self-assess their performance against it. By signing up, you are making a public commitment to welcome complaints, to take them seriously and to resolve and learn from them.

What is in the charter

The charter is based around you signing up to five core commitments, each of which is underpinned by a series of specific outcomes which you should be able to measure your progress against. The five core commitments are:

  • Our positive and flexible approach to complaints is embedded throughout our organisation
  • Our complaints service is open and accessible to all
  • We deliver a quality complaints service
  • We work with our customers to shape and improve our complaints service
  • We monitor our performance and learn from feedback to continually improve our services

Many housing organisations have used CIH charters to improve their services.  Read about what they have done and how your organisation can make best use of the charters in the new CIH publication How to improve your services with CIH charters.

How to sign up

To sign up:

Download a list of current signatories to the complaints charter

Why sign up?

This is what some of the first organisations to sign up have been saying about how it is helping them to improve their services and to demonstrate their commitment to residents:

"We see this as signalling to our customers that we take their feedback seriously and that we will seek to learn from mistakes that we make. We have displayed this charter on our website and in our reception area and hope that this encourages customers to have faith that we give a complaint the attention that it needs"

Craig Glasper, Chief Executive, King Street Housing Society

"We take complaints very seriously and have invested a lot of time improving our complaints handling. The charter gave us an ideal opportunity to go on record and share this commitment with our customers. We now intend to sit down with our tenants and review what we are doing, in line with the ‘core commitments’. From this, we will be developing an action plan to help drive further improvements."

Nick Jones, Continuous Improvement Manager, RCT Homes

"We have transformed the way we view and deal with complaints and are proud to be an organisation that values complaints, actively learning and improving services from the complaints we receive. We welcome the Complaints Charter and will carry out a self assessment, in line with the standards in the Charter, to evaluate our approach to complaint handling. An action plan will be developed to ensure we achieve excellence in this area and continue to improve"

Audrey Simpson, Head of Business Improvement, Queens Cross Housing Association

"As a learning organisation Vale of Aylesbury Housing places great importance on seeking the views of our residents, including the minority of those who are not satisfied with our services and wish to complain. Consequently we believe it is important to have an accessible complaints service to help address specific resident dissatisfaction and provide invaluable customer insight to focus on improving our services in the future. We feel that by signing the complaints charter we have demonstrated our commitment to these aims"

Matthew Applegate, Chief Executive, Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust

Support to help you deliver against the charter commitments

We will also produce a range of good practice materials to support organisations to deliver on the commitments that are set out in the charter. In addition to this, landlords that sign up are able to access an online learning network, where they will be able to share and discuss examples of good practice with other signatories. if you have already signed up to the charter and would like to join the network please email us.

HouseMark also offer a complaints accreditation service, where landlords can have their complaints service assessed against the commitments and associated building blocks set out in the charter.


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