The Housing Ombudsman’s latest Insight report, covering October to December 2022, has shown how it is making a different to thousands of residents lives across the country, as well as driving up the standard of services by landlords.
Orders and recommendations following investigations made improvements for residents on 1,263 occasions this quarter, an increase from 819 in the previous quarter July to September 2022 – a 54% increase.
However, the maladministration rate has also risen. The Ombudsman found full or partial maladministration in 55% of cases this quarter, compared to 43% in in the same period last year.
Other key statistics from the report:
- The Ombudsman received 8,123 enquiries and complaints in this quarter – 24% increase
- While property condition remains the top complaint category, it has risen from 41% to 51% of all complaints
- Second highest complaint category is complaint handling with 13% and third is ASB with 10%
The case studies in this report provide an opportunity to share learning more widely across the sector. They involve landlords operating in the North West and North East of England, as well as the Yorkshire and Humber region.
One case features Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council responding to a complex and challenging complaint after a resident reported multiple repairs and raised concerns about rent arrears. The landlord was able to demonstrate that they had promptly responded to the residents’ concerns to resolve repairs and answer the residents arrears enquiry.
Other case studies of good practice include Doncaster Borough Council’s effective inspection process and timely repairs, which meant the resident’s concerns were dealt with appropriately. Another example was Gateshead Metroplitan Borough Council who dealt with an ASB case successfully by acting in a proportionate manner and evidencing the decisions they were making.
“We’re seeing the continuation of the surge in complaints we’ve experienced since last year.
“And not only that, we’re now finding more maladministration than before, showing some of the issues we’re uncovering are serious and have needed dealing with for some time.
“This also means we are issuing more orders and recommendations to make residents lives better and improve landlord’s services so that residents do not suffer in the future.
“This Insight report is also full of good practice where we have not upheld the complaints. These lessons are invaluable for landlords to improve services and prevent complaints. This includes how effective record keeping practices are integral to effective complaint handling and landlords’ overall service provision.
“We’ll soon be publishing a Spotlight report on Knowledge Information Management, which includes record keeping, and hope the sector takes the learning from that to improve in this key area of complaints.”Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman
The series of quarterly Insight reports provide complaints data, a selection of case studies and key learning points. It is part of our continuing progress towards being a more open and transparent service and promoting positive change by sharing knowledge and learning from our casework.
The reports precede ‘Meet the Ombudsman’ events, hosted by member landlords in different parts of the country, which are an important part of raising awareness and understanding of the service among residents.
Landlords can register an interest in hosting a Meet the Ombudsman event by email to email@example.com
Read the report here.