Complaints

Overview

If you have an issue with any of the services you receive from Pinnacle or your local housing and repairs and maintenance provider (Amey or VIVO), make sure you register an official complaint; this gives them a true picture of the service they are delivering, as well as the information needed for them to change processes and resolve the issue for the future.

On the flip side, if you have a positive comment about their service, please let them know so that it can be developed as “best practice”.

Contents

01   Pinnacle (Amey and VIVO) complaints process

Submit an online complaints form, and for details visit the gov.uk website.

You can also raise a complaint via the HomeHub or by calling 0800 031 8628 option 4.

Complaint submission timings

To effectively deal with complaints, it is necessary for them to be considered as close as possible to the date of the matter arising. Therefore, complaints are to be submitted within the timings detailed below. Complaints submitted outside these timings will only be considered if there are clear extenuating circumstances, such as deployments, training etc. Accepting complaints outside of these timings will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Stage 1 – Submission within 28 working days of the incident
  • Stage 2 – Submission within 28 working days from receipt of the Stage 1 response
  • Stage 3 – Submission within 28 working days from receipt of the Stage 2 response

If the complaint is related to a culmination of events/matters, then it should be submitted within 28 days of the last event.

Download People Accommodation – Special to Type Complaints – Update for all personnel for more details on how and when to submit or escalate complaints.

Maintenance/Repairs and Allocations

Stage 1 complaints:

Stage 1 complaints about contractors, maintenance staff or allocation services are all handled by Pinnacle.

You can log a complaint via Pinnacle using:

Remember: when making a complaint, always ask for a complaint reference number so that you can be sure it has been logged and it can be tracked.

Stage 2  complaints:

If your Stage 1 complaint has been closed but you are still dissatisfied, you can escalate your complaint to DIO by one of two methods:

1. Online – by completing the online Stage 2 complaint form which is available on the MOD Intranet. For security reasons, your soldier will need to log on to an MOD Dii computer to complete and submit the form.

2. Email – by emailing the DIO Customer Service Team setting out your Stage 2 complaint so that you include:

  • The Stage 1 complaint reference number
  • Your name and telephone number
  • The SFA address relating to your complaint
  • Why you are not happy with the result of your Stage 1 complaint
  • What desired outcome or remedy you are seeking.

Any emails not containing all of this information will not be accepted by the Customer Service Team. Please send your email to: diordaccn-stage2noreply@mod.gov.uk

Quote the Stage 1 complaint reference number and briefly set out your complaint, why you are not satisfied with the Stage 1 response and what outcome you would like.

DIO should acknowledge your Stage 2 complaint within three working days and provide you with a reference number. An investigation will then be carried out – depending on the nature of the complaint, this can take some time.

Stage 3 complaints:

If you have completed Stage 2 and are still dissatisfied, you can escalate your complaint to the Independent Housing Review Panel at the following address:

Independent Housing Review Panel
CD (P) Services and Veterans Welfare
Accommodation Policy C2
Ministry of Defence
Floor 6, Zone A
Main Building
Whitehall
London
SW1A 2HB

In order to proceed to the next stage of the complaints process you must ensure that the earlier stages have been closed. The relevant complaints team should let you know when it has been closed but it would be wise to call Pinnacle or DIO to check that this has been done before escalating to the next level.

Remember: when making a complaint, give as much detail as possible about the issue and be very clear about your desired outcome. You have to wait for each stage to be closed before you can escalate to the next level.

Back to top

02   Pinnacle (Amey and VIVO) compliments process

To log a compliment for Pinnacle, Amey or VIVO staff, please use the following link pinnacleservicefamilies.co.uk/compliments

Back to top

03   Mears complaints process

If you live in Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA) (a hiring) the allocation, sourcing, move-in and other issues will be dealt with by Mears.

If you have an issue with Mears, please read on for the complaints process you should follow.

Complaints process

Stage 1

If you are dissatisfied with the service, please call the Mears Help desk on 0800 032 4547 or email Mears at resident.complaints@mearsgroup.co.uk

Once you have registered a complaint, a Mears customer care manager will contact you giving you a reference number for your complaint. An explanation on how the process works will be provided along with regular updates on the progress of your complaint.

Stage 2

If your complaint has been formally closed at stage 1 and you are not satisfied with the response, you can raise the complaint to a stage 2 with DIO. You can do this in two ways:

Online: by completing the online stage 2 complaint form, which for security reasons is only available on the MOD intranet. Please ensure you quote the reference number given to you by Mears at Stage 1. To access the form, your soldier can copy and paste the following URL into their browser bar when logged on to the defence intranet (DII): http://defenceintranet.diif.r.mil.uk/libraries/3/Docs1/20150612.1/DIO-SD-Accn-Stage2-Complaint-Form.xsn

Letter: by writing to the Customer Services Team (address below). Please ensure you quote the reference number given to you by Mears at Stage 1. Briefly set out your complaint, why you are not satisfied with the stage 1 response and what outcome you would like.

Customer Service Team
DIO Service Delivery Accommodation
Ground Floor
Swales Pavilion
RAF Wyton
CAMBS
PE28 2EA

If you make a stage 2 complaint, DIO will have access to your stage 1 complaint details and records, so you do not need to re-submit the full details of your complaint.

DIO will acknowledge it within three working days and provide a reference number. An investigation will then be carried out; however, there is no standard response time due to the need to further investigate complaints that vary in nature and complexity.

Stage 3

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive at stage 1 and 2, you can escalate your complaint to the Independent Housing Review Panel by:

Emailing: People-Accom-ACRP-Stage3@mod.gov.uk

Or writing to:

Independent Housing Review Panel
CD(P) Service and Veterans Welfare Accommodation Policy C2
Ministry of Defence
Floor 6, Zone A
Main Building
Whitehall
London
SW1A 2HB

Back to top

04   Agility/removals complaints process

Should you have an issue with the quality of your removals service through Agility, you must complete the Agility complaint form; this will ensure that all complaints are registered and passed through their escalated issues procedure which ensures that Agility and DIO are made aware of any trends.

If you wish to log a formal complaint,  please complete the complaint form found on the Agility GRMS home page, and direct your complaint form submission directly to QualityControl@Agility.com. Following this, the Quality Control Co-ordinator will deal with the process of registering, reporting and resolving your enquiry.

Back to top

05   Top tips on how to complain

Top tips for a constructive complaint

  1. Complain as soon as there’s a problem – get in touch with the organisation or company as soon as possible and follow their complaints procedure.
  2. Be calm and clear – many organisations ask that you first make your complaint via the phone. Explain your situation calmly and clearly, stick to the facts and ensure you give them just the relevant information.
  3. Ask to speak to a manager if necessary – if you feel that the person you are dealing with doesn’t understand your issues, or isn’t being helpful, try not to get angry but ask to speak to a manager or someone more senior.
  4. Use the word ‘complaint’ – if you want action taken, ensure that you use the word complaint; otherwise the company may not record it as such, meaning they won’t take any further action.
  5. Remember that your comments may be recorded – making a complaint via Facebook or email, may feel informal, but these are permanent records of your comments, so be aware of your language and tone. Also remember that any phone calls may be recorded.
  6. What action do you want? – Do you just want them to acknowledge that they let you down or do you want something to happen? Do you want compensation?
  7. Ask for a complaint timeline – ask for a clear timeline of how the complaint will be dealt with. This way you don’t need to keep calling to chase if they state that they have ten working days to reply, but you can also ensure they meet any timing guidelines they have.
  8. Keep a timeline and details of your actions – keep a note of times and dates of phone calls and any names, as well as your complaint reference number. Websites such as tiki-toki.com allow you to create a clear timetable of your complaint.
  9. Take photos – photos are a good source of evidence, especially for problems with damage with housing or products; make sure they are dated.
  10. Work with others – if you are not the only one experiencing problems or issues, it is important that you all log the problem and complain to ensure that the organisation realise this is a wider problem. Contact AFF as we speak to lots of families and this enables us to spot trends.
  11. Give them a chance – remember that the only way for things to get better is for people to let the organisations know something has gone wrong. However, we are all human and make mistakes, so give them a chance to put it right!

How do I write a letter of complaint?

  • If possible, type your letter and print it off, otherwise ensure anything handwritten is easy to read and neat.
  • Include all essential information, such as reference numbers, and ensure that you give up to date contact information.
  • Keep the letter brief and to the point – clearly state the problem and what you want done about it.
  • Include copies of any evidence, e.g. relevant documents or dates/times of relevant visits/phone calls.
  • When emailing information, always request a read receipt and if you are sending by post always send it recorded delivery – never send originals.
  • For particularly complicated complaints, consider asking for advice on writing it, such as from Citizens Advice or your Unit Welfare Office.
Back to top

06   Compensation

You may be entitled to compensation if you have experienced any of the following;

  • Missed appointments (providing no one called ahead to let you know there has been a delay)
  • Failed move-in – if during your move-in experience there was a significant defect resulting in a habitable or non-habitable fault)
  • Incorrect tradesperson – If the wrong tradesperson arrives to attend a repair you have reported who is not suitably qualified to fix/make good the issue and has to arrange for a second visit by the correct tradesperson.

Please submit your request by emailing the team at hello@pinnacleservicefamilies.co.uk or submit the compensation form on the Pinnacle website and a member of the customer solutions team will investigate and respond within 20 working days. Please be aware you must submit your request within 28 days of the date the issue occurred or the request will be null. Compensation will be in the form of high street vouchers.

Financial compensation for anything out of the above is not possible via the suppliers, however, you may be able to claim via the MOD’s contracted claims administrators in the common law claims department – clearer guidance has been issued as to how and what you may be able to claim for without having to go through the complaints process. Please do read the relevant policy or speak to your unit HR admin team for guidance as to what you are able to claim for. Download Service provided accommodation – Common Law Claims.

Back to top

07   Customer satisfaction survey

Customer satisfaction surveys will be issued via email from feedback@pinnacleservicefamilies.co.uk after a move-in, move-out, allocation or repair and compliance appointments. A customer insight report will be published on the Pinnacle Service Families website monthly outlining some of the findings.

Back to top

08   How to deal with nuisance neighbours

It may sound obvious but, start by talking directly to your neighbours – perhaps they don’t realise how much the sound is travelling, or that their dog is barking the whole time they are out.

There are ways to do this; plan what you are going to say, and always stay calm and polite.

Choose the right time

If the issue is noisy parties, it’s probably not a good idea to go round mid-party after they’ve had a few drinks, wait until it’s over and then talk about it.

Remind them that you have children, or need to get up for work, and ask them to let you know about a party in advance or to turn the sound down after a certain time.

What if the problem continues?

  • Contact your Unit Welfare Officer (UWO) and contact the National Service Centre (option 4) who will record the case and pass to the local Housing Officer for assistance.
  • Make sure that you have a record of nuisance behaviour – dates, times, duration and the effect it had on you – e.g. kept you awake until 4am, or you couldn’t hear your TV over theirs.
  • Keep a note of all the names of people you have spoken to, a brief synopsis of what was discussed and copies of all letters.
  • If necessary, contact Environmental Health to record the noise levels. If at any time you feel that you are being threatened, or illegal behaviour is occurring, you should call the police.
  • Your UWO could act as a mediator to sort things out but, if this doesn’t work, you may need to get your chain of command to liaise with the Pinnacle Home Services Team, which might result in you or the other family being moved.

Noisy civilians

Who do you go to for help if you are living next to civilians?

Try to resolve it yourself and keep your UWO informed. You can get in touch with your local council, their landlord (if they have one) or contact the community police for advice.

Attend community meetings from time to time in your area.

Being a good neighbour

What should you do if you are approached about your noise levels?

  • Always listen – try to stay calm and polite.
  • Try to see the problem from their point of view and how you would feel if it was happening to you.
  • If your dog barks all day when you are out, think of ways to prevent this – get a dog walker or leave the radio on if that calms them down.
  • Go next door to listen to how loud your TV or music is in their house and think about turning the volume down later in the evening.
  • If you’re having a party, it’s courteous to let your neighbours know in advance.

The rules

Remember that under the terms of your licence to occupy an SFA, you have agreed that:

  • You must not racially, sexually or in any other way, harass your neighbours or cause a nuisance or annoyance or allow members of your household, invited guests or pets to cause a nuisance or annoyance to any neighbours
  • You must not make or allow members of your household, invited guests or pets to make any noise that causes a nuisance to your neighbours between 11pm and 8am. If the terms of the licence are breached it is DIO’s right to terminate it.

To talk to us about a complaint or a nuisance neighbour, contact housingsupport@aff.org.uk

Back to top

09   Neighbourhood disputes regarding pets

Families in SFA must ensure that pets are kept under proper control and are prevented from being a nuisance. Failure to do so may mean that permission to keep a pet will be revoked.

If you have an issue with a neighbour concerning pets, the starting point would be to discuss the issue with them to see if you can resolve it amicably. You may wish to contact the National Service Centre (option 4) and ask them to log the incident and also contact your local Housing Officer. Your welfare team can offer support or mediation to help you. Should informal action fail to resolve the issue, you should contact the local authority’s Environmental Health Department who deal with noise and nuisance issues including dangerous dogs, incessant barking and persistent fouling outside your home or in the local area. They have the appropriate legal powers to both investigate and enforce a resolution regarding neighbourhood disputes.

If you have any issues please also contact the AFF Housing Team on housingsupport@aff.org.uk

Back to top

What our families say about AFF

“AFF - just a thank you for all that you do!!”

“What an awesome organisation”

“Thank you so much Army Families Federation!”

Find out more
8,840enquiries received in 2021
12,000+followers on Facebook
40,517unique website views during May
9,500+followers on Twitter