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Housing Ombudsman consults on 2024-25 Business Plan following another record year for complaints

12 March 2024

The Housing Ombudsman has launched its consultation on the 2024-25 Business Plan which it will use to deliver an independent, visible and proactive Ombudsman.

magnifying glass on images of houses

The Housing Ombudsman has started to consult on its Business Plan for 2024-25. The Business Plan covers the final year of the Ombudsman’s 2022-25 Corporate Plan, which aims to deliver an independent, visible and proactive service for social housing residents and landlords. 

While additional resources mean the Ombudsman is expected to double the number of investigations completed in 2023-24 compared to the previous year – equating to a determination being issued around every 20 minutes – the consultation follows another record year in complaints, including: 

  • a 91% increase in cases coming to us in the first 9 months of 2023-24 (compared to the same period last year) 
  • a maladministration rate of 72% (it was 59% in 2022-23) by Q3 
  • compensation of £3.7m (compared to £1.1m for the whole of 2022-23) by Q3  
  • more than 14,000 remedies following our investigations (compared to 6,500 in the prior year) by Q3 

The next year will be pivotal in the housing sector with the commencement of much of the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, including proactive consumer regulation and the legal duties to comply with the Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code.  

The Business Plan sets out how the Ombudsman will develop its role in light of these system changes and significant increases in demand – by working to improve local complaint handling, by implementing its remaining new powers and by delivering the remaining work on its strategic programmes.  

The 2024-25 Business Plan also continues the Ombudsman’s focus on expanding its casework activities and using its systemic work to help improve landlord services. 

The Ombudsman is using this consultation to seek views on what learning tools it can provide to support landlords in improving their complaint handling and to test support for changes to the fee regime to incentivise better complaint handling. 

Overall, 2024-25 is likely to be a difficult year for social landlords and, as a result, the Ombudsman expects demand to continue to increase by between 50% and 80% compared to 2023-24. 

2024-25 Business Plan Consultation pdf

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “Social housing is vital for residents and wider society, and our work aims to help strengthen it, but it is evident from our casework and the volumes of complaints we are receiving how challenging the situation has become.  

“With an ever-increasing volume of complaints, we are using this Business Plan to look at how we can drive more learning and improvements in complaint handling.  

“This would help landlords resolve more complaints within their own complaint processes – providing residents with earlier resolution and improving relationships between landlord and resident. With a range of new statutory powers this year, we are considering how we use these to improve landlords’ services and culture. 

“The vital work of the new statutory Complaint Handling Code will see a huge increase in effort from us to monitor compliance and will ensure that residents will not suffer from poor and inconsistent complaint handling. 

“Our focus on learning and helping landlords access the tools they need to handle complaints more effectively will help all landlords – and in particular those where a significant proportion of residents are coming to us – through what is likely to be a difficult year.” 

Complete the Business Plan consultation form

The consultation is open until Friday 5 April.