We have published our business plan for 2021-22, setting out the next steps to grow and improve our service that build on changes introduced over the last year. It is set within the context of the Social Housing White Paper, the continued challenge of Covid-19 and our ongoing transformation programme.
The White Paper emphasises the importance of our service and the role of redress. Work has already started on the two key priorities of closer working with the Regulator of Social Housing and raising awareness of our service with residents. The revised memorandum of understanding with the Regulator increases the areas for sharing information and potential referral including those arising from our new systemic framework. Resident engagement activities under way include the new Resident Panel and Meet the Ombudsman events, hosted by landlords.
The impact of Covid-19 will continue to be felt in 2021-22. The volume of enquiries and complaints is expected to continue to rise, plus more complex complaints requiring investigation of a landlord’s actions in the light of Covid-19 alongside the complaint itself.
During 2020-21 we have been implementing a new operating model for our dispute support and resolution service, bringing a reduction in average determination times while maintaining quality. A redesigned organisation has also seen improvements on accessibility and promoting positive change in the sector. In 2021-22 the focus will be on embedding these changes with the aim of providing a more responsive dispute support service, a further reduction in average determination times and publishing a wider range of information and tools to increase transparency and share learning.
Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “Our service has made solid progress towards the goals set out in our corporate plan. Even with the challenge of Covid-19 we have been able to improve our performance over the year and I am immensely proud of our committed, diverse and talented team.
“This year has seen major changes with the introduction of the revised Housing Ombudsman Scheme, the Complaint Handling Code, systemic powers and increased openness and transparency through the publication of landlord reports and decisions. Our plans for 2021-22 continue to be ambitious with a key focus on embedding our changes and promoting learning when things go wrong. We are grateful to all those who responded to our consultation on the business plan.”
The business plan was approved by the Secretary of State following a consultation with landlords, residents and other stakeholders which gave very positive support for our plans. The subscription fee for 2021-22 remains the same at £2.16 per unit.