About LJHA

Complaints Process

Why have LJHA reviewed their Complaints Policy?

In July 2020 the Housing Ombudsman published a new Complaint Handling Code, setting out good practice that will allow landlords to respond to complaints effectively and fairly. This followed a period of consultation with various resident and landlord groups. Housing Associations are required to complete a self-assessment on existing complaints processes by the end of December 2020 and have a new complaints process and policy in place for 1 January 2021. Just to give some context- the Housing Ombudsman is set up by law to look at complaints about the housing organisations that are registered with them. Leeds Jewish Housing Association is one of those associations registered. It is a body which helps resolve disputes involving housing providers and tenants.

What have been the main changes to the existing policy?

The timeframes have now changed to 10 days for stage 1 and 20 days for stage 2 (previously 10 days for stages 1 and 2) There has been a move to a two stage process rather than 3. Previously the third stage involved a panel which included a formally engaged resident. The new policy does not include any resident presence at either stage. The definition of a complaint has bee changed to reflect the Ombudsman definition within the code The Housing Ombudsman can be involved from the start of the process should the complainant or LJHA wish them to be A time frame has been introduced as to how long after the event/ issue occurring that a complaint can be made. This is 6 months.

How have residents been involved in reviewing the policy?

As the complaints officer, Kerry Phillips is responsible for overseeing the implantation and management of the complaints policy. As part of the introduction of the new policy, Kerry spoke to the Resident Consultative Group to gain an idea on the key areas of concern and to allow them to review and make comment on the draft policy.

What is a complaint? How is this different to someone just expressing a concern or suggestion?

A complaint is universally defined as: “an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by the organisation, its own staff, or those acting on its behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents.” Staff are trained to recognise the difference between a concern (pre-complaint), service request, enquiry and a formal complaint. Staff are encouraged to take appropriate steps to resolve the issue for residents as early as possible. A concern (pre-complaint) is when we are initially advised of a problem and are given the opportunity to put things right in a short space of time. Many problems can be resolved by staff without the need to refer the matter as a formal complaint. These are known as “concerns (pre-complaint)” and are recorded and monitored proactively, as with formal complaints.

Are there any exceptions to someone making a complaint?

Whilst we want to be open to tenant feedback and review any concerns or complaints there are a small number of occasions when we would not use the complaints policy to deal with an issue raised. As laid out in the policy, these are as follows: The issue of the complaint occurred over six months ago The matter has already been considered under the complaints policy. A resident complains about the behaviour of another resident. This may be dealt with under LJHA’S anti-social behaviour policy. This policy is available on our website or tenants can request a copy by contacting us on the usual number or website. A resident complains about their level of rent and service charge e.g. they are unhappy with the amount of increase rather than believing it has been incorrectly calculated. The issue is subject to legal action or to an enforcement notice or other statutory notice The complainant refuses to reasonably engage with LJHA/ the process after making the complaint, is abusive to staff or acts unreasonably. Several related complaints are made which would be more effectively dealt with together rather than on an individual basis. However, in this instance the complaints will be logged, although the policy timescales may not apply depending upon the components to be investigated. If a complainant is rude or non-co-operative during the complaint’s procedure.

If someone wanted to make a complaint, how would they do this?

We provide several ways for residents to make a complaint: Email using info@ljha.co.uk (available for use 24/7) In writing to Stonegate Way, Queenshill Avenue, Moortown LS17 6FD Telephone by calling 0113 320 7777 In person by visiting the office at Stonegate Way, Queenshill Avenue, Moortown, Leeds LS17 6FD (due to current Covid 19 restrictions please telephone us first to make an appointment) In person, speaking to a LJHA staff member on site Via social media platforms Twitter and Facebook. If anyone is unsure how to make a complaint they can contact the office using any of the methods above and ask for Kerry Phillips to contact them, as she currently oversees the Complaints process and the allocation of any complaints, Kerry can be contacted on 07712175150 or Kerry.phillips@ljha.co.uk

Can someone make a complaint on my behalf?

Yes, complainants may ask another person to act on their behalf in bringing their complaint to LJHA’s attention. This advocate may be a friend, relative or representative from an external organisation such as the Citizens Advice. If a tenant would like support with this- the best idea is to contact Simon Phillips, our Community Engagement Officer at simon.phillips@ljha.co.uk or contact him on 0113 8592228.

What happens after someone logs their complaint?

All complaints are acknowledged after receipt and at stage 1 a response will be communicated within 10 working days and at stage 2 after 20 working days. If there are any delays, for any reason, we will communicate with the complainant so that they are kept informed of progress.

How are LJHA being monitored to make sure they handle complaints well?

We are required to report on the number of complaints we receive and what the learnings were from them to both tenants and Board. This information is also contained within the Annual Report and will be published on the LJHA website. Throughout the process we will ensure that complainants are kept well informed.

How are residents able to get involved in monitoring how well complaints are handled?

This will be something that the Resident Consultative Group and Hot Topic Group will monitor. As problems and complaints were one of the areas to be addressed from the Satisfaction Survey, the Group will be looking at this as part of an ongoing list of actions for LJHA. Further down the line, a Hot Topic Group will be set up to look at the implementation of the new policy and how it has worked well and what needs to be improved.

Finally, how can people learn more about the complaints policy and processes?

Tenants are welcome to contact me via the info@ljha.co.uk email address for further information or support in raising a concern or complaint.

Coronavirus Questions

Are the brown bins getting emptied?

We are not aware that these are being collected at present.

What is happening with the development?

The contracts have now been signed with the contractors, Engie and the site on Queenshill Avenue has been handed over to them.  They have installed fencing to secure the site and Engie are now responsible for the site.  Over the coming weeks they will commence the removal of items both externally and internally, however at this stage we are unsure when the actual demolition and subsequent new build will commence.  An update will follow once this is known.

How do I access www.jewishleedsonline.co.uk?

Jewish Leeds Online has a number of activities which the whole community can access, use the website link above or below to access. If you need help accessing this please contact Debby Williams on 07469353199 or a member of the Support staff team. www.jewishleedsonline.co.uk

What do I do if I have a repair booked and I have, or think I have, Covid-19 symptoms

If you have a repair booked, or a gas/electrical safety check booked, please let us know as soon as possible by calling the LJHA Office on 0113 3207777

Do I need to tell you if I am self isolating?

Sheltered residents need to make us aware if they are displaying symtpoms or are shielding, and havent already informed us of this, so that we can ensure the correct support and measures are in place. General needs residents should also let us know if they are self isolating so that the correct support can be provided.

I need help with my shopping and am self isolating, what help is available?

We have access to a team of volunteers who can help. To access this general needs tenants should contact Debby Williams on 07469353199 and sheltered tenants should contact the Support team.

Is support still being provided?

Yes. General needs tenants can contact Debby Williams on 07469353199 for any support needs and sheltered tenants can contact the Support team for any help needed.

Are staff onsite?

In addition to contractors carrying out essential maintenance work we do have some staff on site, however we advise that you contact us should you need to speak to anyone of us.

Is reception open?

Unfortunately, due to the social distancing rules we have closed access to our reception for now, however you can contact us via 0113 320 7777 or by email.

I usually pay my rent in cash, how can I pay now?

There are a number of options available to you: – Wou can pay by card over the phone, to do this please ring 0113 320 7777 and select the option for finance. – We can set up a direct debit over the phone, to do this please ring 0113 320 7777 and select the option for finance. – You can set up a standing order online or in branch with your bank – You can do a bank transfer online or using your telephone banking- remember to use your name and address as a reference so we know where to allocate the payment to – You can, as a last resort, send a cheque to the office

Can I still use communal laundry facilities?

These facilities are still open and available to use, however, please ensure you observe social distancing when using them.

I have rent arrears, what will happen if I can’t pay anything extra towards them at the moment?

If tenants require support, please contact Malik Ahmed on 0113 320 7777 or Debby Williams on 07469353199

Will I be evicted if I can’t pay my rent at the moment?

No, if tenants require support, please contact Malik Ahmed on 0113 320 7777 or Debby Williams on 07469353199

Are there any rent free months whilst we are in lock down?

No, if tenants require support, please contact Malik Ahmed on 0113 320 7777 or Debby Williams on 07469353199

Is there still someone I can call if I am having issues with my tenancy?

Yes, please contact Debby Williams on 07469 353199

Is there still support available for help with my benefits?

Yes, please contact Debby Williams on 07469 353199

Can I still use the communal garden area?

You can still access and use the communal garden within your estate however we do request that you maintain the social distancing rule and that you only access these areas for a short period of time on a daily basis.

Can I refuse access for a gas/electric/asbestos check during lockdown?

Safety checks are there to help keep your home safe, especially you and your family members. We want to make sure that all of the equipment provided in the property is fit for purpose and that things are in good working order. We do understand that you may have reservations about some of these visits from our contractors during these uncertain times however it is important that we continue to carry out these vital checks. We can assure you that Health & Safety for everyone involved is our top priority and we are taking all the necessary preventative actions as set out by Public Health England such as wearing the right PPE (Personal Protective Equipment and by maintaining the social distancing rule. If you are concerned then please do speak to us immediately so that we can discuss this with you

Are my windows on my estate still being cleaned?

Unfortunately window cleaning is non-essential work and we have suspended these cyclical works but will resume as soon as it’s safe to do so

Grass cutting and other landscaping work on my estate, will this still be done?

We have agreed with our contractor that all estates will still be maintained in accordance to HSE guidelines. We normally instruct GritiT for our grounds maintenance work who will be on site providing services under strict social distancing rules. We will of course continue to work with our contractor and update you should anything change as a result.

I was due to have some planned works carried out this year. Will still be the case?

Unfortunately LJHA have had to temporarily stop its planned improvement works, including new kitchens and bathrooms. This is because we will need to spend time in your home, which would be against public health and government advice.

I am due a gas service soon, will LJHA still make the appointment?

Our approved contractor, KIWI Building Services will still attend to carry out compliance related gas servicing and electrical inspections work. We understand that if you’ve made a recent appointment, this may no longer be appropriate as your circumstances at home may have changed. Please make every effort to be at home for your appointment where possible, or contact us to rearrange if you are unable to do so. This appointment could be used for another customer and we can always come back to you at a time that is more convenient.

Will LJHA repairs and maintenance contractors still be making and attending appointments?

LJHA phone lines are still operating as normal. For all new and existing repairs please either contact us by calling 0113 3207777 or you can email us your query at repairs@ljha.co.uk. Our contractors have been advised to contact tenants before attending appointments to ensure the occupants are well and not in self-isolation. Should the tenant or any occupants be in self-isolation, the appointment may be cancelled unless it is deemed to pose the residents of the home or the property a health and safety risk. If this is the case, the contractor will contact us so that we can work with the tenant to determine the best course of action. During this time, LJHA contractors are only responding to EMERGENCY and URGENT repairs.  All non-emergency or urgent repair requests should be submitted to us by phone or email so that we can log the request for future consideration. Emergency, urgent and gas servicing repairs and maintenance will be prioritised. It is important that we leave no household in unsafe conditions.