This procedure provides guidelines for the resolution and treatment of complaints made by our customers. Each Low Carbon Estates employee is responsible for reviewing the elements of the procedure below.
1.0 Purpose of the procedure
1.1 At Low Carbon Estates, we believe that if a customer wishes to file a complaint or express dissatisfaction, it should be easy for them to do so. As a firm registered and regulated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Low Carbon Estates abides by five core principles: to act with integrity; to always provide a high standard of service; to act in a way that promotes trust in the profession; to treat others with respect; and, to take responsibility.
1.2 It is Low Carbon Estates’ policy to receive complaints and consider them as an opportunity to learn, adapt, improve, to identify and rectify specific problems with its service, and to develop its relationship with its customers.
1.3 This complaints procedure will ensure that Low Carbon Estates handles complaints fairly, efficiently, and effectively.
1.4 Our Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP) is designed to:
• provide clarity and consistency to all staff and clients
• be understood by all staff
• be readily accessible and shared with complainants or potential complainants
• be regularly reviewed at a senior level
• be agreed with Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) brokers/providers
• provide details of access to independent redress if Low Carbon Estates cannot resolve the complaint
2.1 This policy applies to all Low Carbon Estates staff receiving or managing complaints from customers made to or about the company, regarding its services, staff, and complaints handling procedure.
3.0 Definition of a Complaint
3.1 A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about the services offered by Low Carbon Estates or the action or lack of action taken regarding operations, facilities or services provided by Low Carbon Estates.
4.0 Categories of Complaint
4.1 There are four main routes through which complaints may be received – by mail, by email/internet, by telephone or in person – Low Carbon Estates will maintain the ability to manage these efficiently.
4.2 An informal complaint is an initial approach by a customer to Low Carbon Estates outlining dissatisfaction with some aspect of the company’s services or actions. Such approaches are likely to be made in person, by telephone, or in writing.
4.3 A formal complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with the action or lack of action taken by Low Carbon Estates on a matter which has previously been raised by the customer and where they remain dissatisfied with the response received.
5.0 Complaints and Escalation Procedure
5.1 As a regulated RICS firm, Low Carbon Estates’ Complaints and Escalation procedure will meet the regulatory requirements. The procedure has two stages. Stage one gives the company the opportunity to review and consider the complaint in full. The company will attempt to resolve the customer’s complaint to the best of their satisfaction. If the customer is not satisfied with the response, they will have the opportunity to take the complaint to stage two. Stage two gives the client the opportunity to have their complaint reviewed and considered by an independent and alternative redress provider, approved by RICS.
5.2 Stage One
5.2.1 The customer or client must put details of their complaint in writing. This is to ensure that Low Carbon Estates have a full understanding of the reasons for the customer’s complaint. The written complaint must be sent to:
The Managing Director
Low Carbon Estates Ltd
George Parker Bidder Building
Exeter Science Park,
Or alternatively by email to email@example.com
5.3 Stage Two
5.3.1 If the parties are unable to solve the complaint at the first stage, then the customer can take their complaint to an alternative and independent redress provider.
6.1 For most complaints about services, Low Carbon Estates have 15 working days to resolve the complaint. In exceptional circumstances, Low Carbon Estates have up to 35 working days to respond to the complaint.
6.2 The time Low Carbon Estates have to resolve a complaint starts from the date it is received anywhere in its business.
6.3 Low Carbon Estates must consider the complaint as quickly as possible and must acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 7 working days. If Low Carbon Estates is unable to give a response, the customer must be updated within 28 working days.
7.0 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms
7.1 For Consumer redress mechanisms and Business-to-Business ADR mechanisms, Low Carbon Estates will make use of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) located at the International Dispute Resolution Centre, 70 Fleet St, London, EC4Y 1EU.
8.1 Low Carbon Estates will ensure that all staff are provided with the time resources and support to learn, understand and deal with customer complaints and that full training will be provided for new and existing employees on the complaint handling policy, procedures and expectations.
8.2 The designated employee will be assigned the role of investigating complaints and will gather all necessary documents, recordings, and information to make an independent review of the incident.
9.0 Patterns and Analysis
9.1 Low Carbon Estates will ensure that the complaint log and issues forms are reviewed monthly to identify any patterns or reoccurring issues. Low Carbon Estates is dedicated to improving its performance, services and functions through auditing of our complaint records and investigation process. Where gaps or patterns are identified, corrective actions and mitigating solutions will be put into place as soon as possible.
10.0 Complaints Officer
10.1 Low Carbon Estates will nominate a Compliance Officer or a dedicated Complaints Officer with the role of overseeing, investigating, and recording all customer complaints and is responsible for regular auditing of the complaints log to ensure mitigating actions and improvements are put into place where possible.
10.2 The Complaints Officer will complete their complaint handling duties independently and without bias and each complaint is reviewed to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with the appointed officer.
10.3 The Complaints Officer has full authority and internal credibility to ask questions, carry out investigations and interviews, obtain and analyse evidence, recommend policy or process changes and be involved in department functions for the purposes of complaint handling.
11.0 Complaints Log Guidance
11.1 The complaints log under Appendix A is in place to:
• demonstrate the tracking and management of a complaint
• demonstrate what actions have been taken and when
• identify any training needs and reduce the number of complaints Low Carbon Estates receives
11.2 Low Carbon Estates staff must include full details of the complainant within the complaints log (see Appendix A). These should include the contact’s name, postal address, email address, and/or telephone. The company should also record any impairments or special circumstances which the firm should take into consideration when progressing the complaint.
11.3 Low Carbon Estates should consider including the dates of when the complaint was received and when any actions were carried out, i.e., each time the complainant was contacted, when action or investigation took place, when the matter was referred to a redress scheme and/or insurers.
11.4 Low Carbon Estates staff must include the name of the person who is dealing with the complaint for ease of reference. The company must also allocate a reference number to the complaint to make it easier to locate the files.
11.5 The complaint log must clarify what the complaints are about, i.e., whether against the company or an individual, to establish if there are any training needs, or whether some of the company’s internal processes need amending to reduce the number of complaints received.
11.6 Complaint logs must always include a description of the complaint, detailing what the complaint is about and ensuring that all correspondence is in writing. Low Carbon Estates should also establish if there has been a number of complaints about a particular area of work or about a particular individual which may need further addressing.
11.7 The complaint log should outline what outcome Low Carbon Estates has reached through investigation of the complaint and what action will be or has been taken. The company must include details of whether the matter has been referred to insurers or independent redress. Low Carbon Estates must ensure that the complainant is informed in writing of the company’s decision and on the subsequent steps should they not agree with the actions taken.
11.8 Low Carbon Estates should consider whether any insights have been gained from the investigation of a complaint to reduce the number of complaints received or to prevent a similar situation from arising again. This may include the noting down of potential areas of training Low Carbon Estates could offer; amendments to policies and procedures; individual training needs; and notification to insurers and/or redress providers.
11.9 A copy of the complaint log used by Low Carbon Estates is available on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
12.0 Jurisdiction and Applicable Law
12.1 Applicable jurisdiction and applicable law in relation to this Complaints Handling Procedure will be subject to England and Wales.