Ombudsman highlights failings from 8 landlords in new approach to sharing learning from severe maladministration

9 April 2024

Ombudsman highlights failings from 8 landlords in new approach to sharing learning from severe maladministration

white model house in the middle of red model houses

The Housing Ombudsman has published its first ‘learning from severe maladministration report (PDF)‘ which highlights cases involving 8 landlords.

The first section of the report looks at some of the key themes highlighted in our recent Spotlight report on attitudes, respect and rights and includes cases on discrimination, staff conduct and a lack of adjustments due to vulnerabilities.

The Ombudsman is also publishing some other key cases, including one with an order for an independent dip sample survey to be carried out following an asbestos case, to see if other residents were suffering unknowingly from the same issue.

Other cases include a family being left in damp and mould for 5 years and the lack of action by the landlord giving rise to the feeling of discrimination, as well as an anti-social behaviour case in which the landlord did not handle its safeguarding responsibilities well enough.

With the Ombudsman doubling the number of decisions it is making during the last year, and casework coming to the service continuing to rise, it is increasingly important to focus on the lessons arising where there has been serious failure.

The report will group together several cases, potentially involving different landlords, to examine related themes and lessons, including where vital opportunities were missed to improve outcomes for residents.

There will also be opportunities to provide support and training from these cases through the Ombudsman’s expanding Centre for Learning, which offers CPD-accredited modules, as well as the analysis and recommendations from Spotlight reports and other publications.

In the coming months, alongside this report, the Ombudsman will also be doing more to highlight where there is no maladministration in the landlord’s handling of an issue.

With the important role that social housing has to play in giving safe and secure housing to millions, the learning in these reports will help landlords provide effective services that protect this aspiration.

The landlords highlighted in the first publication are:

  • ForHousing
  • Hastoe Housing
  • Metropolitan Thames Valley
  • North West Leicestershire Council
  • Peabody
  • Plus Dane Housing
  • Trident Housing
  • Two Rivers Housing

Learning from severe maladministration report (PDF)

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “There are common and repeated reasons for severe maladministration across these cases, whether issues with policy, practice or systems, as well as inadequate redress.

“It is important that vital learning is not lost because of the sheer volume of findings, and we urge everyone in social housing to read this, from frontline officers to those sitting around the board table. When you group these severe maladministration cases like we have, you can plainly see that complaints cannot be only seen as operational, but something that impacts every area of the business.

“The Centre for Learning will also help landlords with practical guidance and interactive workshops to improve services for residents. This is all free to access and speaks to our aims of improving local complaint handling so that issues are resolved earlier and without the need for Ombudsman.”