The Housing Ombudsman has published her Annual Report and Accounts 2015-16.
The report sets out a year of significant change and positive achievement. The Housing Ombudsman, Denise Fowler, has led an organisational review that is transforming the organisation with a new strategy based on her vision, Housing Matters: Fairness Matters.
In 2015-16, we dealt with 16,166 complaints and enquiries, more than ever before. Productivity increased significantly resulting in more cases being closed during the year than were received.
We aim to ensure the fair resolution of housing complaints, locally if possible. We work with landlords and residents to resolve individual complaints within the landlord’s complaint procedure. If things go wrong we aim to put them right and to encourage learning from outcomes. Our work with landlords and residents facilitates improvements to complaint handling and service delivery.
In 2015-16, 81% of the complaints we received were concluded without requiring a formal determination. We saw significant improvements in many landlords’ approaches to complaint handling.
At the same time, our speed and efficiency in dealing with cases requiring formal investigation and determination increased by 68%. In 2015-16, 976 cases were determined within the Ombudsman’s formal jurisdiction compared to 579 the previous year. This has enabled us to clear a historical backlog of older cases.
We have received excellent feedback from customers. Where we supported the local resolution of complaints 88% of customers said they were treated well. Where we determined the case after completion of the landlord’s procedure 82% said they were treated well.
The Housing Ombudsman, Denise Fowler, said:
“My priority has been to ensure that we provide the best possible service for our customers. I am very proud of the team’s achievements. In implementing our new vision Housing Matters; Fairness Matters, we sought to recognise the central importance of housing to people’s lives and the need to ensure that any disputes are dealt with fairly and effectively.
“This year we dealt with more disputes than ever before and cleared a historical backlog of cases. 2015/16 has been a year of safeguarding and building. We will continue to develop our organisation over the next year to deliver a high quality service to all our customers. We aim to role model the service we expect of others.”