We welcome the government’s new vision for social housing set out in the green paper, A new deal for social housing.
Our response is focused on our area of expertise as Housing Ombudsman, namely the effective resolution of complaints. We have drawn on the evidence we see through our complaints to form our response.
It comes at a time when we are developing our corporate plan for 2019-22. Both our plan and our green paper response seek to strengthen our role as Ombudsman to improve accessibility and allow faster redress on individual complaints, and to improve complaint handling and housing services more widely.
Our ambitions include:
- A sector-wide complaint handling standard to ensure consistency and fairness within complaints procedures, applied on a comply or explain basis
- Powers to assist residents obtain an outcome where there is unnecessary delay
- The ability to investigate individual complaints further to establish if there are potentially systemic issues for onward referral to the Regulator.
We strongly support the removal of the designated persons role to streamline access to our service. This will ensure that social housing residents are not disadvantaged and that, in common with complainants in nearly every other sector, they have unrestricted access to an Ombudsman.
Andrea Keenoy, Interim Housing Ombudsman, said: “We have taken a consultative approach in developing our response to the green paper, particularly with resident groups and other ombudsman schemes. We believe we can make a valuable contribution to improving the complaint experience for both residents and landlords.”