Giving us Feedback

Compliments or Complaints, Comments or Suggestions – we need your feedback

Your feedback is important as it tells us what we are doing well, and when we need to improve. Whatever your experience, good or bad, we need to hear from you so we can continually improve and take action to put things right when they have gone wrong. If you have any suggestions on how we could do things differently or make improvements please let us know.

There are several ways you can give us feedback:

  • housingfeedback@wealden.gov.uk
  • In writing – Housing Services, Wealden District Council, Council Offices, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham. East Sussex BN27 2AX
  • In person to a member of staff or contractor
  • Completing and returning satisfaction surveys

 Compliments – tell us when things have gone well

Please let us know when you have been happy with something we have done, this tells us what parts of our service are working well, for example:

  • When a service we provide has improved things for you
  • When a repair or property improvement has been done well
  • Contact with a member of Housing staff has been positive and helpful
  • Compliment a member of staff or one of our contractors who has gone the extra mile to get things done

Complaints – we need to know when things go wrong

It is also important that we know as soon as possible when things have not gone so well. This is so we can investigate what has happened and take action to put things right if needed. Please get in touch using any of the methods above so we can contact you as soon as possible.

Here you can find more detail on what is considered a formal complaint. If your problem is not considered a “formal complaint” under our complaints procedure please still contact the Housing Service and we will work with you to try and resolve it. Formal complaints are dealt with by our corporate team  and other complaints within the Housing Service. 

The Council also has a formal two stage complaints procedure. Here you can find more information to help you understand whether you have grounds for a stage 2 review of  your case. As well as potential outcomes of complaints

View more information on our corporate  complaints procedure 

Here you can find out more about the formal housing complaints that we have received. 

Escalating your complaint:

If you remain unhappy having been through our two stage formal complaints process you can:

If you are a council tenant, you can contact the Housing Ombudsman Service 

info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk or 0300 111 3000. Here you can find out more about the process. 

If you are a housing applicant, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman 

or telephone 0300 061 0614

National campaign

The Government has launched a new ‘Make Things Right’ campaign which will help social housing residents to raise complaints if they are unhappy with their landlord and are struggling to get their problems resolved. More information is available on their website.

We have been listening

We have been listening to feedback from our customers and we are pleased to tell you about some changes we have made as a result:

Moving into a council property

Following feedback in the STAR satisfaction survey, we carried out a second survey of tenants who had moved into one of our properties in the last two years.  Overall the feedback was positive, however, there was some suggestions for how we could make improvements:

You told us:

There should be more time to view and move into a property that you have been offered.

What we will do:

Unfortunately we can’t give people more time to move, because an empty property costs us money in lost rent, which means we then have less money for work such as modernisations and improvements. However, once COVID-19 restrictions ease we hope it will be possible for some people to view the property that they have successfully bid for before the sign-up meeting with the Housing Officer takes place.

We also recognise that is important to having as much information as possible before looking around a property. We are going to look at increasing the information and photos that are available when an empty property is advertised.

We are also going to stress the importance of being ready to move in the Housing Applicants newsletter. If someone places a bid on a property and are successful, they will need to be ready to move home quickly.

The survey also told us:

That some tenants were not satisfied with the condition and cleanliness of the property when they moved in

What we will do:

We have already raised this issue with our contractor, and we will be carrying out more checks to make sure the work is carried out to the standards we have set.

Our contractors have now employed new cleaners to clean our empty properties before the new tenants move in. We will continue to carry out a monthly survey of new tenants to make sure we can respond to any issues raised and identify any areas which need further work.

Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) 

The feedback in the STAR survey in 2020 showed low satisfaction with how we handle reports of alleged Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). Following on from this we have carried out a further, more survey of anyone who had reported ASB in the previous 2 years. Our tenants told us that they were not satisfied with how long it took us to contact them after making a complaint of ASB. They also said they were not clear on the timescales involved in dealing with cases of ASB, and they didn’t understand the powers available to deal with Anti-Social Behaviour.

In response to this feedback we have produced and published a Resident’s Guide to Anti-Social Behaviour which sets out our policy and procedure for dealing with ASB. This provides timeframes for responding to reports of ASB, the powers available to deal with ASB and details of the process for taking action. We will send a copy of the Guide to everyone who reports ASB to us. The Guide is  available to view or download  or you can also request a paper copy by email housing@wealden.gov.uk  or call us on 01323 443363.

Respondents to the survey also told us that the diary sheets were not easy to use, so we have now reviewed and updated the sheets to make them easier to fill in. Tenants who had reported ASB didn’t feel they were kept informed about progress with their report, so now when action needs to be taken we will agree an ‘Action Plan’ with the person making the ASB report. The Action Plan will provide information and timescales for updates and feedback on progress with the case.

Allocations Policy 

Our Allocations Policy lists all the rules that apply when applying for Social Housing in Wealden. Some of the rules in the 2018 policy had made it hard for some households to join the housing register (waiting list), therefore we have made some changes.

The biggest change is for the need for a ‘local connection’. In the past, if an applicant didn’t have a local connection due to their own residency (where they live), then they would have needed a close relative living in Wealden for 10 years to be able to join the Housing Register. Following your feedback, we have reduced the requirement to 5 years. We believe this will help more households qualify to join the Register.

There are other changes around Parish local connection which can be found in our Allocations Policy

We have also changed the rules around the maximum amount of savings held to eligible to apply for Retirement Living accommodation in Wealden. The amount has been increased from £6,000 to £20,000, meaning more people can apply this type of accommodation, even if they have savings.

Documentation

We have made some changes to providing documents when applying for social housing. Documents can now be uploaded online on the Sussex Homemove rather than sent in by post, making the application process quicker and more efficient.

You can also find out more on our Scrutiny projects.