Step 1: Follow the Council’s Complaints Procedure in full

In West Dunbartonshire Council we are committed to providing the best quality services which we can afford and we aim constantly to improve those services. In all big organisations like ours, things sometimes go wrong. With your help, we aim to identify problems, to solve them quickly and efficiently and to prevent them happening again. Your views matter to us. Our complaints procedure lets you tell us what you feel has gone wrong and helps us improve our services for everyone.

West Dunbartonshire Council complaints procedure

Step 2: Contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)

If the complaints procedure ends and you are unhappy with how we dealt with it, you can contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).

🏠 Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO), Bridgeside House, 99 McDonald Road, Edinburgh, EH7 4NS

☎ 0800 377 7330

Step 3: Serious Concerns

If you are a tenant of a social landlord, and the specific complaint affects a group of social landlord tenants; you can also take a third step. You can report the issue to the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)

When can you report a serious concern to the SHR?

Tenants can contact the SHR where their social landlord regularly and repeatedly fails to achieve the regulatory requirements for social housing; and this failure affects a group of the social landlord tenants.

What is a serious concern?

When your social landlord:

  • has acted in a way which puts tenants’ interests at risk and this affects, or could affect, a group of tenants or all tenants; or
  • repeatedly fails to achieve outcomes in the Social Housing Charter or outcomes agreed with tenants; or
  • has not reported its performance annually to its tenants or has reported it inaccurately; or
  • does not meet our standards for how an RSL should govern itself and manage its finances; or
  • has not met any targets we have set it.

Examples of a serious concern

When your social landlord:

  • fails to consult with tenants on a rent increase; or
  • regularly fails to do gas safety checks when it should; or
  • regularly does not do repairs when it should; or
  • does not allow tenants to apply for another house; or
  • does not respond formally to complaints.

Serious concerns of this nature are considered to be a Significant Performance Failures (SPF) under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 by the SHR.

How to report a serious concern

To report a serious concern, you should complete the form attached to this factsheet and send it to the SHR by email or post. You should tell the SHR exactly what the issue is and why you believe the concern is serious. You should show how the problem affects a group of the social landlord tenants; and also tell them how and when you raised it with your social landlord, how they responded, and why you believe the serious concern has not been resolved or resolved within a reasonable time.

What will happen next

The SHR will:

  • look at the information to decide whether it is, or could be a serious concern;
  • provide you with advice on how to take the matter forward with the landlord if you haven’t already done so;
  • ask you for further information if we need it;
  • ask the social landlord for information if we need it;
  • decide whether we need to contact other regulatory bodies;
  • keep you updated about progress and how we will use your information;
  • tell you when we aim to make a decision; and
  • write to tell you and the social landlord our decision and the reasons.

They will decide whether your serious concern meets the criteria as quickly as possible. The length of time it takes will depend on:

  • how complex the issue is;
  • the amount of information they need to gather and look at; and
  • how quickly they get the information they need.

Whether they determine the issue raised is a serious concern will depend on the circumstances. The SHR will decide whether they need to engage with the social landlord to ensure it takes action to address the issue. They may take immediate regulatory action if they feel this is necessary.

If they need to engage with the social landlord, they will say this in its Engagement Plan.

Where there has been a serious concern reported and investigated, they may publish the findings on their website under the Significant Performance Failures section.

Complaints and serious concerns - information for tenants and service users of social landlords | Scottish Housing Regulator