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Ombudsman urges sector to tackle new social injustices as it issues call for evidence for next Spotlight report

8 June 2023

The Ombudsman has issued its latest call for evidence as part of its latest thematic report into communications and relationships.

People figures with comment clouds above their heads. Social communication. Information exchange. Rumors and gossip. Talk and chat. Discussion and dialogue. Public opinion poll. Dispute settling

We have issued our latest call for evidence for our upcoming Spotlight report into communications and relationships, urging the sector to get to grips with the latest social injustices facing the housing sector.

It is looking for both residents, advice agencies and landlords to take part in the surveys (links below), to build a complete picture of what the social housing sector is grappling with.

The investigation will establish three areas of best practice:

  • What it means to be vulnerable in social housing and what is an appropriate response by landlords
  • What effective communication looks like and how this could help service better outcomes
  • Whether there are areas (either service or demographic) where there are repeated patterns of poor service response.

We have chosen this topic after a recurrence of the issue in many of our cases, including severe maladministration findings where landlords fail to fulfil their obligations around human rights, including the Equality Act or adhere to their vulnerable persons policy.

When we have undertaken a wider special investigation into a landlord under paragraph 49 of our Scheme, the issue is also often present.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “Social landlords have a proud history of tackling social injustice and this housing crisis speaks to new social injustices in health, equality and race. It is time for the sector to rise to this challenge.

“This is a complex and sensitive area but repeatedly we are seeing landlords not meeting basic obligations.

“Much of this is about respect and empathy but it goes far beyond communications. There needs to be a debate to define what being vulnerable means in social housing. This housing crisis is stretching the concept of ‘general needs’ housing to its limit.

“This report will look to shed light on these issues and look at where landlords have got this wrong, but also crucially where they have got it right. Both will provide strong learning opportunities for the sector.”

The call for evidence will close on 03 August 2023.

Link for landlords

Link for residents

Link for advocacy services