Ombudsman figures show sector still grappling with repairs complaints | News

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The Residents' Network

Ombudsman figures show sector still grappling with repairs complaints

The Housing Ombudsman made 2,617 orders and recommendations to "put things right and improve residents’ lives" in 2019-20.

Of those 2,617, orders made up 1,618 of them and 999 were recommendations.

The figures come from the organisation's Annual Report and Accounts.

Once again, repairs was the highest category of complaint received, with it making up 38% of the overall number.

The accounts show that landlords were ordered to pay compensation to residents totalling £412,214.54 across the year.

Overall, the report shows strong performance against targets, including reaching the six-month target on determinations for the first time, and sets out how the service is changing.

Other headlines from the report are:

  • The average determination rate for formal investigations was below the six month target at 5.8 months, the first time the target has been achieved
  • All cases were determined within 12 months, exceeding the target of 99%
  • High levels of compliance with the Ombudsman’s orders at 95% within three months and 99% within six months, meeting the targets

The Ombudsman has been listening to residents and landlords about how the service works. Changes to the service started during the year focused on increasing efficiency, providing greater openness and accessibility, and promoting positive change in the sector.

Revisions to the Housing Ombudsman Scheme are strengthening the Ombudsman’s powers and include a new Complaint Handling Code for greater consistency across landlords’ complaint procedures.

A new series of Insight reports launched in the year help to promote positive change by sharing knowledge and learning from the Ombudsman’s casework.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “Following the hard work of my team, I am pleased to report that 2019-20 was a successful year in terms of our performance, the best performance against targets in recent times. We were able to quickly transition to effective remote working at the end of the year following the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to provide a full service.

"Our service will be even more important as we move forward and we remain committed to delivering our plans to expand and change the service, ensuring the Ombudsman is integral to a healthier housing system.”

During 2019-20, the Ombudsman continued to close more cases than the number received – 14,903 enquiries and complaints received and 15,832 closed.

For the first time in three years, the number of determinations at 2,138 was higher than the number of cases in its formal remit at 1,981.

On the cases determined, the Ombudsman found full or partial maladministration in 39%, an increase of 2% on the previous year.

The full report can be found here.