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The DCP forms a key part of our complaints process and has been very active this year. As well as working on the Housing Ombudsman self-assessment, they’ve carried out eight reviews where a complaint could not be resolved through our internal complaints procedure. The DCP has made 20 recommendations – 10 trying to achieve a resolution to the complaint and 10 service improvement recommendations, many of which were adopted. We also welcomed three new customer members to our team – and two members have already chaired a review.  

Below is a selection of complaints investigated during 2022/23.    

Grounds maintenance  

A Dorset customer made a complaint that the communal grass was not being cut regularly. We discovered that the local authority was responsible for maintaining the area of grass.    

The complaint investigation concluded that although we could have made this information clearer to our customer, there was no service failure, and we explained that the local authority was responsible for the area. We learnt several things from this complaint and to stop this happening again, we’ve found a named contact responsible for maintaining communal grass areas in the local authority. We’ve arranged for regular meetings to happen between the estates team and the local authority to discuss any future issues.    

Payments related to aids and adaptations  

A customer made a complaint after some aids and adaptations, which are made to help manage everyday tasks such as showering, cooking or sleeping, were made in their home. The customer had agreed to split the cost of this work with us, which is the usual process; however, the customer wasn’t made aware exactly when the charge would come out. This caused them to have some difficulty making their regular payments when the payment came out of their account. To make sure this process is clearer, we now write to every customer getting aids or adaptations (to meet their changing needs) fitted to explain any costs and when they will be charged.  

Shower leak  

The DCP reviewed a complaint from a customer who got in touch after having a leak from a shower in their new home and being unable to repressurize their boiler. The DCP concluded there was no service failure and made some recommendations. We’ve updated our Home User Guide with information to help you repressurize your boiler, and our out of hours contact centre now has advice on how to repressurize the system. 

Lisa Penington

Aster customer and DCP Vice-Chair

Personal computer, Table, Laptop, Suit, Tie
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panel (DCP)