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Publication policy

Our openness value:  We are accessible and accountable; we publish information on our performance and decisions

Why publish?

The Housing Ombudsman is not only a redress scheme but is also a proactive Ombudsman service. This means we promote positive change in the housing sector, in part by sharing insights from the complaints we see.

Increasing access to our decisions and data helps us live our value of Openness and will bring the following benefits to our customers:

  • Demonstrate what we do, how we do it and the outcomes we can achieve in our casework
  • Provide insight into not just the complaints we investigate but also those that fall outside our jurisdiction
  • Provide a resource for residents to help them present their complaints clearly and help manage expectations about possible outcomes
  • Provide a resource for landlords to help them deal with complaints more effectively and to promote learning from complaints
  • Provide a resource for other interested parties on complaints made about social landlords
  • Give residents access to more information about the individual complaints that have been made against their landlord
  • Provide insight for residents on the volume, category and outcome of complaints about their landlord brought to the Ombudsman to complement the information landlords are already reporting to their residents
  • Allow residents to know when the Ombudsman has referred their landlord to the Regulator of Social Housing or undertaken an investigation that may lead to referral
  • Publishing details of any referrals that the Ombudsman makes to the Regulator of Social Housing will allow greater understanding of how we work together and provide insight into a landlord's performance
  • Enable sharing of good practice across landlords.

Our approach

What we will publish

The Housing Act 1996 (Schedule 2 s8) allows the Housing Ombudsman to publish determinations of complaints plus any report where it is considered appropriate. From March 2021 onwards we will publish our decisions unless there are reasons not to do.

We aim to strike a balance between being open and transparent without having a disproportionate impact on the sector. When publishing any determination or report, we will have regard to the need for excluding so far as practicable:

  • any matter which relates to the private affairs of an individual, where publication would seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual, and
  • any matter which relates specifically to the affairs of a landlord where publication would seriously and prejudicially affect its interests, unless the inclusion of that matter is necessary for the purposes of the determination or report.

We will never publish the name of a complainant or any information which, in the opinion of the Ombudsman, is likely to identify them, and will consider any request from a resident requesting non publication.

During 2021-22 we intend to publish the following on our website:

  • Case determinations, naming the landlord but with resident anonymity
  • Individual landlord complaints data covering the previous year
  • Quarterly reports naming landlords where a complaint handling failure order has been issued
  • Insight and thematic reports, highlighting common themes and issues which are supported by case studies or data analysis to share learning and any good practice, naming the landlords involved
  • Periodic complaint analysis, for example by landlord type or location
  • Notification of any systemic investigation  along with the outcome of the investigation
  • Referrals to the Regulator of Social Housing relating to systemic investigations, cases that raise a potential breach of a regulatory standard, non-compliance with the Ombudsman’s orders and all findings of severe maladministration.

When we will publish

We will publish a final decision no less than three months after the final decision has been made. This ensures that those involved in the case have time to challenge the decision at review or through other legal action. A final decision will include:

  • The Ombudsman’s determination where there has been no challenge at review within the review time period
  • Determinations that have completed the review process.

Other information will be either published shortly after the period to which it relates or on an ad hoc basis as the related matter arises.

How we will publish

Casework decisions: We will publish decisions on our website in a searchable format. Both residents and landlords involved in a complaint will be informed that the decision will be published at the time the decision is issued. Decisions will be removed from the website after a minimum of five years.

Landlord reports: In the prior year, if either an enquiry or complaint was received by the Ombudsman, a determination issued or compliance with an Ombudsman’s order was due, we will contact the landlord to share a draft of their report prior to publication to ensure the data is correct.

Complaint handling reports: Each quarter we will publish a list of all landlords where a complaint handling failure order has been made building up an overall picture for each financial year.

Insight reports: These are published quarterly on our website and publicised through social media, our enewsletter and other channels.

Thematic investigations: These are published on our website and publicised through social media, our enewsletter and other channels at any time throughout the year.

Systemic investigations: Details of the scope of these investigations along with the outcome of any investigation will be published on our website.

Referrals to the Regulator of Social Housing:  Details of any referral to the Regulator will be published setting out the type of referral and the reasons that the referral was made.