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The Housing Ombudsman launches publication of decisions and investigation reports

Posted: 26/03/2021

On 9 March, the Housing Ombudsman started publishing all decisions on cases investigated, naming the landlord involved in each case. The move is aimed at increasing transparency and accountability and encouraging service improvement. The investigations and decisions cover a range of issues, including Right to Buy, staff conduct, property applications, moving home, repairs and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

In each report, the Housing Ombudsman sets out its approach, the complaint, determination, summary of events and the reasons behind the determination. Key findings in the most recent reports include:

  • no determination of maladministration in the manner in which a landlord dealt with a resident’s application to move property, but a finding of service failure in the management of the complaint by the landlord due to delayed responses and poor record-keeping;
  • a determination of maladministration in a complaint made about the level of compensation offered to a resident following repair delays – the Ombudsman found that the landlord failed to supply investigation information supporting and explaining its decision against which the fairness or reasonableness of its actions could be assessed;
  • a service failure where a landlord failed to respond to ASB issues and the complaint raised by a resident in the manner and time expected; and
  • the requirement that a landlord pay £500 in compensation after complaints made around the accuracy of information provided about a resident’s right to buy their property.

There are some reports in which the Ombudsman outlines why the case fell outside of its jurisdiction. Reasons included:

  • the complaint being brought to the attention of the Ombudsman more than 12 months after the landlord’s complaints procedure had been exhausted; and
  • the complaint falling into the jurisdiction of another Ombudsman, regulator or complaint-handling body.

In publishing the reports and naming the landlord involved, the Housing Ombudsman is hoping that residents will be able to better understand its work and that landlord staff will regularly consult their casebook in order to develop their own organisation and also improve the experience of their residents.

It’s clear that the Regulator of Social Housing wants to see boards having appropriate oversight of complaints-handling and that poor complaints-handling could be linked to governance failures. If you haven’t already – now is the time to get your house in order.

Read more in our previous article on the Housing Ombudsman’s updated Scheme and new Complaints Handling Code.

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