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Complaint handling rule changes due

Customer complaints will be handled faster after new rules were brought in by the Housing Ombudsman.

We’ve recently expanded our complaints procedure to introduce a second stage, allowing customers to submit an
appeal and request a senior manager investigates it, rather than sending it straight to the ombudsman.

Now, the Housing Ombudsman has said all housing providers should adopt this model, to bring consistency to
complaints handling.

Under the changes, our stage one complaints handling time will be reduced from 30 calendar days to 10 working days, while the stage two time will change from 30 calendar days to 20 working days.

As a Group, we believe we’re in a strong position to make this transition smoothly, thanks to the recent changes
we’d made ourselves.

Sam Wylie, Head of Customer Services, said: “We see this as a really positive step in raising the profile for complaints right across the sector.

“At Longhurst Group, we’re in a good position, having already introduced a stage two in the complaints procedure.

“We’ll have some changes to make so that we can meet the timescales going forward and we recognise the importance of recognising and monitoring repairs associated with complaints right until completion.

We believe these changes will improve our customers’ experiences and help us to improve the services we provide.”

September was the best month the Group has experienced for complaints handling this year, meeting the target of 75 percent satisfaction.

Helen Bird, Customer Engagement Manager, explained that we now have to complete a self-assessment to see
where we’re at with the required changes, which is to be published on our website.

“We’re pleased with where we’re at, at this moment in time,” she added.

“These changes have brought complaints to the forefront, so we see this as a really positive move.

“The new timescales will come into force from January."

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