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Customer complaints policy

This policy outlines how we ask customers to tell us when things have gone wrong, the ways in which we manage and resolve complaints, and when we'll pay compensation.


At Magna, we strive to provide the best possible service to our customers, first time, every time. Sometimes things go wrong and customers don't get the service they expect or we fall short of the standards we've promised.

When that happens, the way we manage, resolve and learn from complaints is key to helping us meet our objective of providing a great customer experience. Our aim is to ensure that we take ownership of complaints at the first point of contact, that we do all we can to resolve the concern as quickly as possible with the customer and that we learn from the complaints as a way of improving the customer experience.

This policy explains how we'll make it easy for our customers to tell us when things have gone wrong, how we'll try to find a resolution and our approach to financial and other forms of redress.

Scope of this policy

The policy and process applies to:

  • All Magna customers, former customers, leaseholders, and members of the public affected by our services

We accept complaints made by advocates authorised to act on a customer's behalf and we'll record and respond to these as we do complaints made directly by a customer. We'll offer a wide range of ways for customers or their advocates to complain and throughout the process, will ensure that arrangements are appropriate and in accordance with customers' needs and that where complaints are made publicly via our social media channels, we respond in private chat or offline to maintain privacy and confidentiality.

We'll show sensitivity towards customers and their circumstances in all cases and make reasonable adjustments where needed, to ensure all customers are able to easily access and use the complaints process. To ensure that the complaints service is equitable and inclusive, we'll provide extra support, where needed, to customers who wish to make a complaint and who have physical, mental or language challenges.

The policy complies with the Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code effective from April 2022. We use the Housing Ombudsman's definition of a complaint: 'An expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, our actions or lack of action, our own staff, or those acting on our behalf, affecting an individual resident or group of residents.'

Where a complaint is received publicly via social media, we'll contact the customer privately to discuss their complaint in confidence. Our latest self-assessment against the Code is published on our website.

We expect all colleagues to make every effort to resolve customer issues and to fix problems at the first point of contact so that complaints don't drag on. Personal contact with customers and early ownership of problems is central to our approach. Our dedicated complaints handlers will undertake nationally recognised disputes resolution training to support them to:

  • Deal with complaints on their merits
  • Act independently and with an open mind
  • Take measures to deal with conflicts of interest
  • Consider evidence and information carefully
  • Keep the complaint confidential as far as possible

What is a formal complaint?

We'll make a complaint formal where further enquiries are needed to resolve an initial service request or report, or if the complainant requests it.

The safety of our customers is at the heart of what we do. If we receive a complaint concerning the safety of a customer or their home, we'll ensure that it's treated as a priority.

If we decide not to accept a complaint, we'll set out our reasons to the complainant and advise them of the right to take the decision to the Ombudsman. We won't consider a matter as a formal complaint where:

  • It's an initial request for a service, such as requesting a repair or reporting neighbour nuisance
  • The customer is chasing up a missed appointment or call and this can be easily explained or resolved within this call / contact (unless during the course of the initial service request or follow up the customer isn't satisfied with our response)
  • There's already an alternative, appropriate appeal procedure available, such as in the allocation of properties, the first-tier tribunal service or disrepair proceedings
  • Legal proceedings have been started. these are defined as details of the claim such as the Claim Form and Particulars of claim, having been filed at court. Legal proceedings exclude the Pre-action protocol or mediation stage
  • It has already been considered under our customer complaints policy
  • The issue giving rise to the complaint occurred over six months ago (except where complaints concern safeguarding or health and safety issues)

If the problem is a recurring issue, we'll consider any older reports as part of the background to the complaint if this helps to resolve the issue for the customers.

Unreasonable or vexatious complaints

If a customer makes the same or similar complaint repeatedly without good reason or appears to be raising a complaint with no grounds in order to cause disruption, annoyance or harassment, the Head of Customer and Community Support, or relevant director reserves the right to close the complaint or refuse to investigate it.

Our approach

We have robust procedures for managing complaints and a service standard compiled using feedback from our customers. Our approach to managing complaints is well publicised on our website and through other media and our policy has been reviewed and drafted with customers.

All complaints will be formally acknowledged and will then progress through an investigation process involving no more than two stages.


Formal complaints will be logged on our housing management system and will be acknowledged in writing within five working days of receipt. We'll contact the customer personally to understand the nature of the complaint and to see if it can be resolved quickly. If any aspect of the complaint is unclear, we'll ask the complainant for clarification and the full definition and resolution will be agreed and confirmed in our acknowledgement. We'll set out our understanding of the complaint and the outcomes the customer is seeking.

The acknowledgement will state the target date for a response, the name of the investigating officer and, if agreed with the customer at this stage, any other methods or frequency of contact.

Stage one

Complaints will be investigated fully by the complaints team in conjunction with relevant colleagues and, where necessary, the complainant. If the complaint is about a member of the complaints team it will be investigated independently by the Head of Customer and Community Support.

Any escalated complaints (including, but not limited to, serious injury, data protection / legal matters, health and safety, racism or discrimination and any complaints involving a minor or vulnerable person) will be investigated by the relevant head of service / director. If the complaint is about the head of service / director, it will be investigated by another head of service / director.

The complaint will be responded to in writing, within 10 working days of the acknowledgement, by which time the answer to the complaint should be known. If it isn't known and, in exceptional circumstances, we may seek an extension of time from the customer. This won't exceed a further 10 days without good reason. Any outstanding actions required to address the complaint will be expedited where possible and tracked and regular updates will be provided to the complainant.

If a customer raises additional points and these are relevant to the investigation, they may be included in the stage one investigation if the response hasn't been issued. Where the stage one response has been issued, or it would unreasonably delay the response, the complaint will be logged as a new complaint.

Stage two

If the customer remains dissatisfied (that is they want to appeal) and provided that they contact us within 30 days of the stage one response being completed, the complaint will be escalated to stage two unless an exclusion ground (set out above under What is a formal complaint?) now applies.

Any decision not to escalate will be made by the Head of Customer and Community Support, a director or the Chief Executive. If we decide not to accept a complaint, we'll set out our reasons to the complainant and advise them of their right to take the decision to the Ombudsman.

The escalation request will be logged as a stage two complaint on our housing management system. We'll set out our understanding of the outstanding issues and the outcomes the customer is seeking. If any aspect of the complaint is unclear, we'll ask the complainant for clarification and the full definition and resolution will be agreed and confirmed in writing.

The acknowledgement will state the target date for a response, the name of the investigating officer and, if agreed with the customer at this stage, any other methods or frequency of contact.

The investigation will be undertaken by a more senior member of the complaints team or the Head of Customer and Community Support (if stage one has been investigated by the most senior member of the complaints team). If a head of service / director has previously investigated the complaint or the complaint is about the head of service / director, it will be investigated independently by another head of service / director or the Chief Executive.

The complaint will be responded to within 20 working days of the escalation request. Any request for a longer period to account for exceptional circumstances will not exceed 10 further working days. The reasons for this will be explained in writing and a new response deadline will be given.

All points in the original complaint (and as agreed at the acknowledgement stage), will be answered and responses at stage one and stage two will confirm the following:

  • The complaint stage
  • The complaint definition
  • The decision of the complaint
  • The reasons for any decisions made
  • The details of any remedy offered to put things right
  • Details of any outstanding actions; and
  • If this is at stage one, details of how to escalate to stage two, or at stage two, how to escalate to the Housing Ombudsman if the complainant remains dissatisfied

If agreement over an extension at either stage cannot be reached, we'll provide the customer with the Housing Ombudsman's contact details so that they can challenge our response.

We'll publicise the Housing Ombudsman Service and inform the customer they have the right to refer the complaint to this service.

Putting things right

We aim to treat customers fairly in circumstances where compensation or other forms of financial redress may be appropriate. Levels of compensation or other payments may be determined by law, tenancy agreements or by the individual set of circumstances.

Magna will consider paying compensation if:

  • It has been negligent in its service delivery or;
  • It has failed to meet its service targets
  • It has not acted reasonably
  • The complainant has suffered loss or inconvenience
  • No other forms of redress are suitable

We won't consider paying additional compensation if the customer has already received compensation as a result of a complaint or a legal settlement for the subject of the complaint.

Incidents, damage or losses which have a value exceeding our insurance excesses will be dealt with in accordance with our insurance policy and associated procedures. In general, it's unlikely we'd pay compensation in such cases, although in exceptional circumstances a compensation payment may be considered.

In the event that a customer owes money to Magna, compensation payments may be used to clear or reduce their debt and any balance remaining will be paid to the customer. However, this doesn't apply to payments that are intended to reimburse customers for losses, damage or expenses they have incurred; unless the customer explicitly agrees, we won't use these payments to clear or reduce customers' debts.

Compensation for failure to repair

We'll pay compensation to tenants where repairs haven't been completed within target times and are qualifying health, safety or security repairs in accordance with the "right to repair" set out in the tenancy agreement.

In the first instance, we'd encourage customers to use the complaints process in relation to repairs and condition claims. Whilst customers are entitled to make a disrepair / condition claim through their own solicitors, we'd recommend that customers consider their financial commitments to their solicitors before embarking on this form of redress. The reason for this being, there is the risk of full compensation being reduced because of legal negotiations and solicitor's costs.

We won't pay compensation twice for the same elements of a disrepair or condition claim. Accordingly, legal claims for damages arising from alleged disrepair or condition, if successful, will only be settled in full and final settlement with no additional compensation under the complaints procedure in so far as any complaint seeks to duplicate compensation of the heads of loss included in the settlement of the legal claim.

Payments for loss of service or amenity

Where there's a loss of service normally provided by us for which a service charge is payable and the loss / breakdown is within our control and not dealt with during our target response times, we'll refund the service charge payable for the duration of the loss / breakdown. In addition, we may pay the customer for any additional costs they incur such as extra energy bills.

We may pay compensation where a resident suffers a loss of amenity, for example if they're unable to use part of their home, and this is caused by factors within our control. This compensation won't apply where the loss of amenity is caused by:

  • Planned improvement works, which are covered by disturbance allowances; or
  • The need for response repairs which are completed during the target response time

Payments for loss or damage to possessions or decoration

In certain circumstances, we may make a payment for household items where these have been damaged or lost because of something we've done or failed to do.

Where there is damage to decorations because of something we or anyone we instruct to work on our behalf have done or failed to do, we may make good the damage ourselves or pay the cost of making good the damage.

Payments in other circumstances

We may make compensation payments in any other circumstance, for example as a result of a formal complaint, where a customer has suffered inconvenience or distress, or we have provided a poor service and failed to put this right within a reasonable period. The value and nature of such payments will be entirely at our discretion.

We may make payments for loss or damage in circumstances other than those detailed in this policy where a customer has incurred costs because of something we've done or failed to do.

We'll pay compensation to a customer where an order for compensation is made by a court, the Regulator of Social Housing or the Housing Ombudsman Service.

Learning and improving from complaints

In order for us to understand the areas of our services where customers are dissatisfied, learn from this and improve our services we will:

  • Contact every customer who makes a formal complaint to ask them how we dealt with it. This helps us improve the way we manage and resolve complaints
  • Establish a structured review and lessons learnt process. Service leads and managers will be involved in this process and will be expected to make immediate changes where necessary. Managers will be expected to discuss complaints and lessons learnt with their teams in their regular team meetings as well as at other times as necessary
  • When we carry out this review we'll also try to identify if there are any underlying reasons for things going wrong
  • Learning and changes made as a result of complaints will be recorded formally and we'll review complaints and lessons learnt for themes which will be discussed at leadership level at least every six months. We'll ensure the Board review formal complaint trends and their outcomes at least once a year. Insight from complaints themes and service failures will be considered when devising the annual internal audit programme and any structural or process changes (if not urgent) will be considered at budget setting time and when agreeing the future year's projects and plans


The Director of Customer Operations is the accountable person in relation to all aspects of customer complaints at Magna and is responsible for the development and review of the customer complaints policy, ensuring that this meets all relevant legal and regulatory requirements and guidance, including the annual assessment against the Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code.

The Head of Customer and Community Support is responsible for ensuring that the customer complaints policy is adhered to and for ensuring the policy is reviewed and updated in accordance with the policy review timetable.

The Customer Complaints Manager and their team are responsible for the delivery of Magna's operating procedures relating to customer complaints, for maintaining accurate data on Magna's housing management systems and also for reporting on complaints in line with governance arrangements.

Managers are responsible for ensuring their teams understand the importance and the value of customer feedback, for cooperating fully with complaints investigations and to devising and implementing learning and changes identified as a result.

Governance, performance management and review

This policy will be reviewed by the Director of Customer Operations and approved by the Board annually alongside our self-assessment against the Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code and our annual review of complaints.

Outcomes of complaints investigated by the Housing Ombudsman Service will be reported to the Strategic Board by the Chief Executive.

Magna will report complaints performance annually to the Regulator or Social Housing as part of the Tenant Satisfaction Measures reporting.

We annually agree key performance indicators which will be used to monitor complaints.

We'll publish information for customers and others on complaints and how we use complaints to improve our services annually.