Complaints

Overview

If you have an issue with any of the services you receive from Amey, 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   SFA Customer Satisfaction Survey

DIO has appointed a new supplier to carry out their regular SFA customer satisfaction survey.

In future, Opinion Research Service (ORS) will be carrying out these short phone surveys.

Until now, DIO has selected 200 UK SFA occupants to take part in the monthly survey. DIO has now increased this to 500 occupants who will be contacted. The overseas survey will also recommence in October 2017.

Your feedback helps shape the future delivery of Service Family Accommodation. If ORS contacts you, please take the opportunity to let them hear your views.

Please rest assured that your personal data will remain safe and secure.

If you have any queries related to the Customer Satisfaction Survey, please contact the accommodation team at DIOSDAccn-SSM1a@mod.uk.

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02   DIO Compensation Scheme

DIO have recently announced a compensation scheme in the UK to cover missed appointments and significant issues at move-in for SFA and SSFA.

Claims will only be accepted for issues that occurred after 1 April 2017 and must be made within 14 days of the issue occurring – claims for any other issues e.g. damage to belongings, food expenses for loss of cooking facilities etc. should continue to be made by the usual methods.

Compensation will be in the form of High Street Vouchers – no alternatives will be offered. DIO have produced a fact sheet that covers the information you will need to make a claim.

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03   Mears complaint 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.

Complaint 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 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

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04   Update on Amey complaints process

Since the start of the Amey contract, AFF has continued to hear from families that the complaints process is not fit for purpose and we have consistently fed this back to CA and DIO.

AFF has been copied into correspondence that compliments the complaints team; something we have not seen before. As a result, we asked Stuart Jones, the Head of Complaints (now called the Customer Solutions and Insight team), to tell you what has changed and why. Click here to read more.

Please let AFF know about your recent experiences with complaints by emailing housing@aff.org.uk.

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05   Complaints process

For full details of the Amey complaints process, click here.

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.

Full information about SFA complaints can be found in JSP 464: tri-Service accommodation regulations (TSARs) Volume 1, Part 1, Chapter 6

Maintenance/Repairs and Allocations

Stage 1:

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

You can log a complaint via Amey using:

You can also call 0800 707 6000 Option 5, email them at customercare@defenceservices.co.uk or visit your local customer service centre to speak to someone in person.

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. Letter – by writing to the Customer Service Team at:
    DIO Service Delivery Accommodation,
    Ground Floor, Swales Pavilion,
    RAF Wyton,
    Cambridgeshire
    PE28 2EA
  3. 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: DIOSDAccn-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

Remember:

When making a complaint, give as much detail as possible about the issue and be very clear about your desired outcome.

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 CA 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.

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06   Top tips on how to complain

Top tips for a constructive complaint 

  1. Complain as soon as there’s a problem – Once you have 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 www.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.
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07   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 DIO/Amey 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 Occupancy 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 housing@aff.org.uk

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