The Housing Ombudsman welcomes the plans set out in the government’s Social Housing White Paper published today and its ambition for a strong Ombudsman service.
The White Paper recognises and supports the changes under way at the Ombudsman service, including the new Complaint Handling Code which will provide greater consistency in complaint handling across landlords and the revised Housing Ombudsman Scheme strengthening its powers.
It will also provide further opportunity to strengthen and expand the Ombudsman’s role with a number of new initiatives. These include:
- a new Access to Information Scheme for housing associations with the Ombudsman as the reviews body
- a commitment to reviewing the Ombudsman’s powers, including legislation, to strengthen its role where necessary
- making the memorandum of understanding between the Ombudsman and the Regulator statutory, giving greater weight to information sharing, plus making the Ombudsman a statutory consultee for future reviews of the Regulator’s economic and consumer standards to harness the knowledge and expertise of the service
- a major awareness raising campaign around complaints focused on the role of landlords and the Ombudsman.
Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “We have a central and positive role to play in the government’s plans to evolve the sector. The White Paper recognises the key role we perform and the work we are doing to create a cultural shift in the sector. There are a number of new areas featured in the paper which combined seek to strengthen and embed our existing role as well as potentially expand our scope.”