Complaint Handling Code

We want to respond to your complaints fairly and effectively. This code helps us do just that.

We look at the way we handle complaints every year. This is our 2021 self-assessment, showing how we comply with the Housing Ombudsman's Complaints Handling Code. You can download a PDF at the bottom of this page or read the table below.

Live in one of our homes?

The Code is a guide for you - our customers - and shows what you can expect when you raise a complaint from us. You can find more about our complaints process here.

Peaks & Plains Complaints Self-Assessment


Definition of a complaint

Yes No
  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.  X  

Does the policy have exclusions where a complaint will not be considered? 

There are certain circumstances in which the Trust cannot consider a complaint. These include: 

  • The complaint has previously been investigated and addressed
  • The complaint is over 6 months old 
  • There is already legal action being taken relating to the complaint
  • We deem the complaint to be vexatious (see section 7) 

 In these situations the Trust will write to you confirm we are unable to consider your complaint and clearly explain our reason why 


Are these exclusions reasonable and fair to residents?  
Refer to evidence of the Vexatious complaints policy and in Complaints Policy 2020. 

2 Accessibility    

Are multiple accessibility routes available for residents to make a complaint? 

  • By calling us on 0800 012 1311
  • By emailing us at
  • By completing our online form:
  • By writing to us at Ropewalks, Newton Street, Macclesfield, SK11 6QJ
  • On social media 
  • We would also accept a complaint face to face from a customer and log that with  the complaints team to be actioned accordingly

Is the complaints policy and procedure available online? 


Do we have a reasonable adjustments policy? 

The Trust will ensure that its Complaints Policy Statement is accessible to its diverse customers and will take into account the different needs of people wishing to make a complaint. We will offer practical support for customers who may otherwise find it  difficult to make a complaint. 

  Do we regularly advise residents about our complaints process?  X  
3 Complaints team and process    
  Is there a complaint officer or equivalent in post?  X  
  Does the complaint officer have autonomy to resolve complaints?  X  
  Does the complaint officer have authority to compel engagement from other departments to resolve disputes?  X  
  If there is a third stage to the complaints procedure are residents involved in the decision making?    X
  Is any third stage optional for residents?    X
  Does the final stage response set out residents’ right to refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman Service?  X  
  Do we keep a record of complaint correspondence including correspondence from the resident?  X  

At what stage are most complaints resolved? 

 Most complaints are resolved at the “informal stage”, 69.9% were resolved at this stage between December 2020 and 26 November 2021.

 4  Communication    
  Are residents kept informed and updated during the complaints process?  X  
  Are residents informed of the landlord’s position and given a chance to respond and challenge any area of dispute before the final decision?  X  
  Are all complaints acknowledged and logged within five days?  X  
  Are residents advised of how to escalate at the end of each stage?  X  
  What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage one (investigation stage)?  21   
  What proportion of complaints are resolved at stage two(review stage)?  6%  

What proportion of complaint responses are sent within Code timescales? Overall 92% including informal.  

  • Stage one 47.5% 
  • Stage one (with extension) 71% 
  • Stage two 28% 
  • Stage two (with extension) 45.5% 
  Where timescales have been extended did we have good reason?  X  
  Where timescales have been extended did we keep the resident informed?  X  

What proportion of complaints do we resolve to residents’ satisfaction 

December 2020 – August 2021 survey: 

  • How satisfied were you with the complaints process 48.3% 
  • Updated survey in August 2021 
  • How satisfied were you with: 
  • How we listened to your issue 66.7% 
  • How we understood your issue 66.6% 
  • The information and advice provided 66.7% 
  • How well you were kept informed about the progress of your complaint 77.8% 
  • The way your complaint was handled overall 66.7% 
  • The final outcome of your complaint 73.3% 
5 Cooperation with Housing Ombudsman Service     
  Were all requests for evidence responded to within 15 days?  X  
  Where the timescale was extended did we keep the Ombudsman informed?  X  
6 Fairness in complaint handling    

Are residents able to complain via a representative throughout? 


If advice was given, was this accurate and easy to understand? 


How many cases did we refuse to escalate?  What was the reason for the refusal? 

  1. Our position had not changed and we had communicated this with the tenant. We could also not find any service failings after multiple visits.
  2. Due to the time elapsed between follow up and original complaint. 

Did we explain our decision to the resident? 

8 Outcomes and remedies    
  Where something has gone wrong are we taking appropriate steps to put things right?  X  

What improvements have we made as a result of learning from complaints? 


How do we share these lessons with: 

  1. Residents? We share details in complaint responses to individual residents and in our annual report 
  2. Report? We detail the number and type of complaints and our responses
  3. The board/governing body? Annual report to Board
  4. In the Annual Report? We detail the number and type of complaints and our responses 
  Has the Code made a difference to how we respond to complaints?  x  

What changes have we made? 

  1. Monthly complaint performance meetings with a focus on lessons learnt across the Trust
  2. Increased KPI and targets to Board. Customer Voice Manager also attends Performance Management Groups on complaint performance 
  3. Taken a proactive approach to dealing with complaints – making sure we communicate with residents about upcoming issues e.g. we wrote to customers who’ve had previous issues with mould and asked them to contact us if they continue to have issues. 
  4. Improved complaint letter templates 
  5. Mandatory complaints training for all managers
  6. Review of customer satisfaction survey 

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