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Housemark: ‘True’ number of tenant complaints could top one million

Multiple flying wood houses

Although housing providers have recorded 186,000 formal complaints since April 2023, Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSM) data shows many more residents feel they have complained in that period, according to research by Housemark.

The research found that including complaints that had not been “officially recorded” would put the true number of complaints at more than 1 million.

The findings come as Housemark launches a new partnership with research company Service Insights Ltd. Housemark Research combines expertise in conducting tenant surveys, as required by regulators in Scotland, England and Wales, and data analytics expertise to offer housing providers an unrivalled feedback and business insights service. The new partnership will also include transactional customer and staff surveys.

Kirsty Wells, director of Housemark Consultancy Services and Housemark Research, said: “In the first year of TSM data being required in England we were able to work with housing providers to deliver invaluable insights, allowing them to make informed business decisions.

“Customer complaints are just one of the key areas monitored through TSM data and we are able to use Housemark’s data benchmarking and consultancy expertise to help housing providers to improve services in response to customer concerns.”

She added: “Our work with Service Insights Ltd on TSMs delivered significant customer benefits in 2023. Launching this partnership means we can now offer long-term support to housing providers across the UK, ensuring they benefit fully from our combined research and insight skills.”

Dr Simon Williams, managing director of Service Insights Ltd, added: “Our partnership with Housemark enables us to bring a unique combination of experience through working in the sector, coupled with an in-depth knowledge of customer satisfaction measurement and management.

“Alongside Housemark’s expertise in benchmarking and performance management, our combined offer helps landlords better understand how their services are performing, where to target improvements, and where to invest or disinvest in their services.”

Jonathan Cox, Director of Data and Business Intelligence at Housemark, said: “Our finding that the total number of resident complaints is likely to be five to eight times that recorded in official figures is surprising. It clearly demonstrates the value of good data and having the ability to act on the insights it provides.”

Housemark’s monthly Pulse Report is based on data from 171 housing providers to 31 December 2023. As well as insight on customer complaints, the Pulse Report also found that another TSM question – work in progress (WIP) on repairs – is a useful indicator of landlord performance.

Landlords with higher ratios of WIP often take longer to complete repairs and have lower satisfaction scores.

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