Our latest Insight report covering January to March 2022 shows an increase in cases coming into our formal remit for investigation. We received 1,013 and made 1,250 orders and recommendations to put things right, an average of nearly 20 for every working day.
The regional focus for this report covers the East Midlands, West Midlands and East of England. The data shows that property condition was the largest category of complaint in all three areas in line with the overall data, and the highest proportion of maladministration findings for property condition complaints was in the East Midlands.
Six case studies featured involve landlords in these areas, drawn from the top three categories of complaints. They highlight a range of findings including where landlords have responded effectively as well as where the Ombudsman has found failings.
Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “We are making significantly more orders to put things right and recommendations to improve services following our investigations. An important element of these reports is sharing the lessons we’ve drawn from the complaints featured in our case studies, particularly when things have gone wrong but also when things have gone right.
“One case highlights where we found the level of redress offered by the landlord was reasonable. It concerned a voluntary member of our scheme and their response to a group complaint about repairs. We found that the landlord acted reasonably in the circumstances, seeking feedback from the residents ahead of major works and offering appropriate compensation for the disruption caused.
“We also feature three cases with findings of maladministration where landlords took too long to act. In one case a resident was left waiting for seven months to get a response to their complaint about unexplained delays and missed repairs appointments and in another blame was inferred on the resident for damp and mould.
“It reinforces the need for landlords to use the good practice set out in our Complaint Handling Code, so they can respond to complaints fairly and effectively. We have recently strengthened the provisions in the Code to support a positive complaint handling culture. This includes promoting learning and empowering complaint handling teams to ensure they have the resources and respect to do their job.
“We also look forward to meeting residents in the Midlands shortly to discuss this report and our wider work.”
The Ombudsman’s series of quarterly Insight reports provide complaints data, a selection of case studies and key learning points. It is 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.
Following the report will be the next in our series of Meet the Ombudsman events, hosted by Midland Heart. The events are part of increasing engagement with residents to help raise awareness and understanding of the Ombudsman’s service.
Landlords can register an interest in hosting a Meet the Ombudsman event by email to Insightreport@housing-ombudsman.org.uk