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Complaints to the Ombudsman continue to rise

1 September 2021

The Housing Ombudsman’s latest Insight report covering April to June 2021 shows a 21% increase in the volume of enquiries and complaints received compared to the previous quarter.

The Housing Ombudsman’s latest Insight report covering April to June 2021 shows a 21% increase in the volume of enquiries and complaints received compared to the previous quarter. We received 7,276 enquiries and complaints between April and June, up from 6,010 between January and March 2021.

Compared to the same quarter in 2020, the volume has gone up by 230% however between April and June 2020 we had experienced a reduction due to the Covid-19 lockdown coming into place. There was a drop of 41% in the enquiries and complaints received then compared to 2019. Over the course of 2020-21 the numbers picked up and then exceeded the previous year’s figures for each quarter.

The report also provides data for the South East and South West regions, together with six case studies concerning landlords in those areas. The most common reason for maladministration in the South West was complaint handling at 43%, whereas in the South East property condition at 33% was highest. The report contains a number of cases on anti-social behaviour, the third highest category of complaint in both regions, with a range of findings following investigation.

The report will feature in the next Meet the Ombudsman event being hosted by Cornwall Council, giving residents in the area an opportunity to ask questions direct. These events are part of increasing engagement with residents to help raise awareness and understanding of our service.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “This period has seen a further increase in complaints. There are several factors driving this including heightened awareness of the complaints process, and we expect a higher volume of casework to continue.

“As well as providing insight on the individual complaints we have received, these reports have an important role in sharing lessons from those more widely across the sector. Using this collective learning can help to resolve issues at a more local and earlier stage, for the benefit of both residents and landlords.

“Two cases involve anti-social behaviour and reinforce the need for action to be taken promptly whilst updating the resident as they are often living under stress. Our report also examines the role of mediation where there may still be a realistic prospect of resolving a complaint without carrying out a full investigation as it can help to restore a more trusting landlord-resident relationship.”

Read the report

The quarterly Insight reports are part of our continuing progress towards being a more open and transparent service and promoting positive change by sharing knowledge and learning from our casework. All issues are available on our website.

For further information on our Meet the Ombudsman events including how landlords can register interest in hosting an event, see our Meet the Ombudsman page.