The culture of an organisation should ensure that complaints are seen as an opportunity rather than a threat. It should demonstrate an organisation that focuses on its customers and uses learning to improve services.

Here are some of the signs of a positive complaints culture:

  • Effective governance provides leadership in complaint management and sets clear objectives for driving change leading to service improvement. There is clear accountability through the governance structure.
  • Leaders and senior managers are committed to achieving positive outcomes and learning from complaints.
  • Adequate resources are available for complaint handling.
  • Complaint handling is open, in that processes are accessible to tenants and expectations are properly managed.
  • The clear purpose of the complaints handling process is to reach appropriate resolution at the earliest opportunity and to ensure organisational learning from the outcomes.
  • Everyone involved in the process understands their role and responsibility and has the authority to make decisions.
  • People dealing with complaints have the skills, ability and support to consider the individual circumstances of a complaint and reach a fair outcome at any stage.
  • Diversity is taken seriously to make sure that tenants are treated fairly whatever their circumstances.

Why is ‘culture’ relevant?


  • We encourage landlords to have a positive complaint culture. We look for opportunities to promote such a culture and its benefits. For example, fewer wasted resources, better relationships with tenants, improved services and a better working environment.


  • Tenants’ actions and behaviours contribute to the culture. Having realistic expectations of their landlord will help to contribute in a positive way.
  • Scrutiny and tenant panels can hold landlords to account using the principles. What they do and how they behave will have direct impact on the organisation’s complaint handling culture.

Designated persons

  • Can consider a landlord’s cultural attitude towards complaints when reviewing its complaint handling.