Ombudsman highlights five cases as it starts to publish investigation reports | Residents' Network news

Ombudsman highlights five cases as it starts to publish investigation reports

The Housing Ombudsman has released the first wave of investigation reports on its website, in a bid to improve transparency and encourage learning.

Decisions will now be published every two weeks, providing an "ever-expanding resource to promote learning in the sector" and demonstrate the difference complaints can make for individual residents and wider benefit.

The Ombudsman carries out more than 2,000 formal investigations each year.

The first cases published highlight a wide range of issues considered by the Ombudsman, including Right to Buy, moving home, repairs and anti-social behaviour, as well as the type of outcomes following its investigations. The landlord in each case is identified.

Highlights of the first group of decisions to be published are:

  • A finding of maladministration (service failure) where Metropolitan Housing Trust failed to do enough or act quickly enough to address the anti-social behaviour issues reported, including noise nuisance (201905797).
  • A Notting Hill Genesis case about the accuracy of information provided to a resident concerning their Right to Buy where the Ombudsman reached an agreed settlement of £500 compensation through its mediation process (201809422).
  • A Stockport Homes case where the Ombudsman found there was no evidence that the landlord was required to reimburse a resident for improvements at a previous property and any alterations needed at the new property should be determined by an occupational therapy assessment (202002678).
  • A finding of reasonable redress in a London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham case about repairs where the landlord took steps to acknowledge its failures in relation to delays and offered compensation which the Ombudsman found satisfactory (202003176).
  • A complaint about an application to move property where the Ombudsman found no maladministration in how Thirteen Housing dealt with the resident’s application but service failure in how it handled her complaint due to delayed responses and poor record keeping (201910486).

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “This is a crucial step towards greater transparency, accountability and demonstrating the difference complaints can make. The cases published today show the wide range of issues we handle, and the different outcomes we reach, investigating in an independent, fair and impartial way.

“Our investigations are a critical tool for learning. Our casebook provides essential knowledge, helping landlords to improve performance and services. I would encourage landlord staff – whether a board member or frontline staff – and anyone who cares about achieving excellence to regularly consult our casebook to develop their organisation and improve the experiences of residents.  

“The publication of our investigations is also important to help residents to understand our work and see the decisions we make about their landlord.”

This initial group of decisions provide lessons for service improvement, particularly in the way landlords deal with cases of anti-social behaviour, as well as highlighting a number of common complaint handling issues including poor record keeping, delays in responding and the lack of clear and timely communication. 

You can view all of the decisions here.