Self-assessment FAQs

The Housing Ombudsman requires landlords to carry out regular self-assessments against its Complaint Handling Code, and take appropriate action to make sure we are in line with the Code. The aim of this self-assessment is to assess whether we are compliant and identify where we can improve.

Housing Ombudsman self-assessment results

Front cover of self assessment

December 2021

PDF 158kb

catalyst self-assessment first page

June 2021

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catalyst self-assessment first page

December 2020

PDF 181kb

Complaints received by service area: July 2021 to September 2021

We received 284 stage one complaints during the period July 2021 to September 2021.

The table below shows the percentage of complaints we received by service area. For this period the majority of complaints we received from our customers were repairs related.

Complaints by service areaPercentage of total complaints received: July to September 2021
Repairs62%
Housing Operations21%
Estate Services6%
Income, Homeownership, Service Charges6%

What we are learning from our complaints

Lessons learnt Q1

ComplaintLesson learnt Improvement Implemented
Repairs

Heating & hot water

Delays in responding heating and hot water repair email requests reported in Hub 3 areaInternal designated inbox for heating and boiler repairs

We understand that having no heating or hot water can be a very stressful situation for our customers. We have identified an area in which our internal process was not working correctly and requests were not being actioned quick enough.  A dedicated inbox for these types of repairs will ensure that our team have full visibility of these priority repairs.

ASB

Communication with customers

We need to communicate better with our customers before sending an ASB allegation letterInternal process change  all customers will receive a phone call from the ASB team prior to being sent a letter

We recognise that receiving a letter concerning ASB allegations can be stressful and upsetting. We have changed our internal process so that customers will receive a call from a member of the ASB Team prior to receiving a letter. This will give our customers the opportunity to discuss the issue and understand the situation better and it will give us the opportunity to listen and provide advice.

Repairs

Managing reports of damp and mould

We need to improve our approach to Reports of damp and MouldInternal process change for repairs and complaints

All reports of damp and mould will be now be inspected at first point by a surveyor.  The surveyor will contact the customer and arrange a visit to their home every time there is a report of damp and mould and will investigate and establish the root cause and liaise with contractors on course of action.

All customer complaint responses concerning damp and mould are subjected to a ‘sign off’ process by Head of Service or Manager.  This is to ensure that we have fully investigated the complaint, established the root cause, identified the correct remedy and compensated the customer fairly (if applicable).

Repairs

Damage from leaks

We need a consistent approach to providing customers with dehumidifiersChange of internal process

All contractors have been instructed to leave a dehumidifier for severe leaks at the customer’s home to help aid the escape of water and reduce any potential damage to our customer’s homes

Fire Safety

Communication

We should have clear communication with all our customers (shared owners/leaseholders) about the possible impact of government advice and guidance.Programme of external wall reviews approved – to enable us to advise customers when their review will be undertaken and the subsequent EWS1 form issued.
Fire safety

Communication

We should have clear communication with all our customers (shared owners/leaseholders) about the possible impact of government advice and guidance.Programme of external wall reviews approved – to enable us to advise customers when their review will be undertaken and the subsequent EWS1 form issued.
Fire safety

Communication

We didn’t inform our customer of the government guidance/advice when they made their staircasing application.Our staircasing and resale packs now explain lenders’ requirements for EWS forms and advise that these may result in severe delays if they wish to re-mortgage, staircase or sell their home. We offer support to check the requirements for their building via the fire safety team and to discuss their individual circumstances.
Fire Safety

Communication

We didn’t inform our customer of the government guidance/advice when they made their staircasing application.All buildings which have an EWS rating that may not satisfy lenders will have a notification on our IT systems – to ensure that we can remind customers of the issues they may face securing lending when we receive staircasing or resale applications.

Lessons learnt Q2

ComplaintLesson learnt Improvement Implemented
Housing
Improve on handovers
 
Customers have experienced not receiving updates to ongoing queries when a colleague handling their case leaves the business. We need to improve our handover process to ensure minimal impact on our customers.We have improved our internal process: New process designed which includes;
– Handovers are completed two weeks in advance of the colleague leaving.
– New handover template introduced for Managers to ensure handover is completed in a consistent way
Repairs

Follow up repair appointments after surveyor inspections

Customers are not receiving repair appointments following a surveyors inspection.We have reinforced our internal process: A surveyor will book in all repair appointments following their inspection with the contractor directly.
Repairs
Managing reports of complex repair cases
Customers are experiencing delays in raising repairs due to the lack of evidence and supporting notes on our systems following a surveyor visit.We have changed our internal process: For complex repairs, surveyors will now upload their report onto the system including photos. This will help improve the service we offer our customers as we will be able to prevent any delays from chasing supporting information as all colleagues will have access to surveyor reports.
Repairs
Communication with contractors
Our customers are experiencing delays in receiving updates from Catalyst colleagues regarding repairs due to annual leave of contractors.We have improved our internal process: All contractors when on annual leave must provide an out of message colleagues along with the details of the person who we can contact in their absence for updates on repair cases. It has This will help reduce delays for our customers and colleagues when requesting an update.
Estate Services
Records of cleaning
We need to be able to provide our customers with evidence that a cleaner or gardener has carried out work upon request.We have changed our internal process: Colleagues are signing and submitting cleaning and gardening schedules upon completion of the work. All records are now stored within the estate services team.
Estate Services
Records of Gardening
We need to improve our communication with our customers so that they know when we are attending and notified in advance if we cannot attend.We have changed an internal process for Estate Services: Weekly schedules to be put on all notice boards in communal areas, including missed appointment and new scheduled date.
Home Ownership
Expiry date on management pack
We should have clear communication with all our customers (shared owners/ leaseholders) about the expiry date on management packs.We have updated our internal process. All purchased management packs will state the period of validity (one year). This will help us improve communication with potential sellers and purchasers.

Lessons learnt Q3

ComplaintLesson learnt Improvement Implemented
Housing
Improve on communication 
Customers have experienced delays in receiving updates from Catalyst colleagues when moving into a property following a decant. We need to improve our communication and keep our customers updated.We have improved our handover process:

If colleagues are on annual leave the line manager will cover for Neighbourhood Customer Specialist providing updates to customers.
We are keeping customers updated more regularly ensuring contact is made via preferred method e.g. phone, text, email.
We designing a buddy scheme for Neighbourhood Customer Specialist so that customers always have a point of contact.

Housing

Pet requests

Customers are experiencing delays in hearing back from us regarding their request to keep a pet.We have reinforced our internal process:
Our Contact Centre team can send the relevant forms to customers without the need to wait for Neighbourhood Customer Specialists. This will help reduce any delays when customers want to seek approval to keep a pet.
We have reinforced with colleagues if they are unable to complete the request within 10 days they must keep our customers updated.
Housing
Records of customers requests
We need to improve our response time when getting back to customers and ensure all conversations we have had with our customers are recorded on our system.We have made changes to our internal process:
Colleagues are now using a new IT system. Managers are able to track outstanding tasks, identify delays and take the necessary action to ensure we are getting back to our customers as promised.
Aftercare
Improve on communication
We need to improve the information we give Customers on balcony design.We have made changes to our internal process:
Colleagues will be informing customers better on particular developments that the design for balconies that have slightly distanced slates allows rain water to drain and not pool.
Repairs
Managing reports of leaks
Customers have been experiencing delays in receiving information on where the leaks into their home have originated from.We have reinforced our internal process:
Colleagues inspecting the flats above the property affected to ensure we identify and stop the source of the leak as quickly as possible.
Repairs
Improve on call waiting times
Customers have expressed the long length of time it takes them to connect to an advisor when calling our Repairs contractors.We have made changes to our internal process:
We have recruited more call handlers which should lead to a shorter call waiting time for our customers. This will help improve the service we offer to our customers when reporting a repair.
Repairs
Improve on choice of colours
Customers have voiced that they are refusing Vinyl floor installation due to the colours.We have made changes to our internal process:
We want us customers to be happy with the colour of the flooring in their home, and our repairs service is now offering customers a choice of colours.

Lessons learnt Q4

ComplaintLesson learnt Improvement Implemented
Housing
Allocation of parking
Customers have expressed their dissatisfaction in us from not clearly advertising whether re-let homes had parking arrangements or not.We have improved our internal process: New process designed which includes; ​

  • A document that must be signed by customers stating that the development is car-free. The idea is to reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and better manage the limited amount of space available for on-street parking.
  • The NCS will inform customers at the viewing of the parking arrangements
  • Customers will be given information on the parking arrangements for the development- e.g. whether there is controlled parking and process to get permit, right to park, or allocated parking space.
  • Our Allocations Team will also ensure the advert clearly states information on parking.

 

Housing
Get closer to our customers
Customers have expressed they don’t know who they’re housing officer is and would like us to do more visits and improve on our communication.We have recruited more Neighbourhood Customer Specialists and reviewed the role profile. Our Neighbourhood Customer Specialists are now expected to coordinate full estate visits once every 3 months which will help us get closer to our customers and improve on communication.
Home Ownership
Managing Certificate of Compliance requests
We need to improve our response time in issuing certificates of compliance. Delays were previously caused due to requiring a heat agreement.We have improved our internal process: ​

  • We now have a process in place for heat agreements with our new sustainability manager.
  • The heat agreement has been introduced as part of our sales process which will enable us to issue certificates of compliance a lot quicker.
Home Ownership
Improve on communication ​
We need to improve on our communication with our customers who want to staircase or remortgage their properties.We have improved our internal process:

  • We have created a “What’s next” document for our customers detailing the steps to staircase their property, this will save the customer time and also allow colleagues to focus on their workload.
  • Staircasing now takes 3 months to process instead of 6 months.
Customer Resolution Team
Improve on communication
We have seen an increase in complaints which has led to emails being missed and customers chasing for updatesWe have improved our internal process:

  • We have improved the way we manage our Customer Resolution Team Mailbox; decreased the number of subfolders to ensure emails are responded to more efficiently
  • Recruited more colleagues on the team to help manage the workload.
Repairs 
Managing reports of high ceiling repairs
Customers have experienced delays due to contractors failing to show up for appointments with ladders or ladders that are not tall enough for the job.Our process has been reinforced internally: All contractor vehicles carry ladders and steps, and we have reminded the planners to include this information when submitting a job.
Repairs
Proof of Identity Verification
Customers have expressed dissatisfaction with us due to contractor’s not displaying photographic IDs and wearing printed t-shirts during appointments as proof of verification.We have reinforced our contractors contractual obligation. All contractors must carry photographic I.D with them at all times without fail.
Repairs
Improve communication between operatives 
Due to a lack of notes on the system from previous visits, we have seen an increase in complaints relating to repeated visits by operatives.We have reinforced our process. All contractors are expected to revise the update system so all information is current, this will ensure operatives know exactly what the job requirements are before arriving on site.