Our consultations

Here you can find information relating to consultations about the Housing Ombudsman Service.

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Our business plan 2023-24

February 2023

The Housing Ombudsman has started to consult on its business plan for 2023-24. The business plan covers the second 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.

The consultation seeks views to help the Ombudsman deliver its awareness raising and Centre for Learning activities, representing two of the three strategic programmes set out in the corporate plan.

The consultation comes after the inquest into the tragic and preventable death of Awaab Ishak. The period following the inquest led to another surge in enquiries and complaints to the service which has been handling unprecedented volumes of casework since 2021-22. The cost-of-living crisis, economic pressures and heightened media coverage are also expected to lead to more complaints during 2023-24.

To ensure the Ombudsman can meet demand, growth forecasts have been significantly increased above our original assumptions and we expect to deliver over 10,000 investigations in 2023-24, a four-fold rise. The service has introduced a new operating model improving efficiency and the plan sets out the resources required to deliver timeliness, quality and impact.

The consultation is open until 27 February 2023 and you can respond via the online form.

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Our Corporate Plan for 2022-25 and Business Plan 2022-23

March 2022

This consultation report summarises the responses to our consultation.

October 2021

We have published a consultation paper seeking feedback on our corporate plan 2022-25 and the and the key activities for year one. It is set within the context of an unprecedented increase in the volume of casework and major change in the social housing sector, the plan reinforces the changing role and importance of complaint handling.

The plan is built around our values of fairness, learning, openness and excellence, the key elements of the plan are to:

  1. Increase awareness of the Ombudsman’s role, together with improving access to our service for those facing barriers.
  2. Extend fairness through high-quality, inquisitorial and impartial investigations to establish if there was service failure with robust remedies and undertake thematic inquiries into systemic issues.
  3. Use proactive interventions to improve landlords’ complaint handling and support earlier, local resolution for the benefit of all residents.
  4. Establish a Centre for Learning to promote complaint handling excellence among social landlords by using insight from our casework, data and intelligence.

In the consultation document respondents are asked to give their views on the four values based strategic objectives and the activities planned for the first year plus the proposed measures of success and approach to the subscription fee based on expected demand for our service.

The consultation on our Corporate Plan for 2022-25 and business plan 2022-23 closed on the 12 November 2021.

Our business plan 2021-22

March 2021

This consultation report summarises the responses to our consultation.

November 2020

We have published a consultation paper seeking feedback on our business plan 2021-22. It is set within the context of the Social Housing White Paper and its strengthened role for the Ombudsman, plus the continued challenge of Covid-19 and our ongoing transformation programme.  

We have made good progress towards our overall objectives with average determination times continuing to reduce while quality and positive customer feedback have been maintained.  

The consultation focuses on two key areas that will help shape our future development. The first concerns raising resident awareness of the role of the service and redress, a key part of the White Paper. An Ombudsman led initiative planned is the creation of a new Resident Panel with 100 members to support engagement and provide feedback as our service evolves 

We will also be inviting landlords to host quarterly ‘Meet the Ombudsman’ events around the country. This will provide an opportunity for their residents to discuss the lessons identified in the latest published Insight Report with the Ombudsman and his team.  

The second key area for future development is expanding work on learning with landlords, with a comprehensive range of complaint handling information, tools and training and encouraging the sharing of best practice between members. Targeted support will be provided for landlords with particular issues, higher maladministration rates or complaint handling failure orders.  

The consultation is open until 5pm on Tuesday 22 December 2020. Full details on how to respond are set out in the consultation document  


Our business plan 2020-21 and the Scheme

March 2020

These consultation documents summarise the responses to our consultation for the business plan 2020-21 and the revised Scheme (to take effect from 1 July 2020).

October 2019

We launched consultations on two documents aimed at providing a faster, more accessible and more transparent service.

Both the Business Plan for 2020-21 and revised Housing Ombudsman Scheme propose significant changes to meet the challenges of unprecedented demand for our service and respond to resident and landlord expectations.

The consultation on the Business Plan 2020-21 closed on 6 December 2019, and the consultation on the Scheme run until 20 December 2019.

The Business Plan 2020-21 sets out new approaches for handling casework based on a new, more efficient operating model. It includes plans to support earlier resolution of complaints within landlords’ complaint procedures as well as faster, high-quality decisions on complaints in its formal remit.

We aim to achieve our fastest determination rate on record, effectively halving average case handling times over the next two years. In addition the service will be more transparent, publishing more information on performance, landlord reports and all determinations. The service improvements planned require additional resources so an increased subscription is proposed for the first time in three years, together with a new approach. This would see the rate capped at £2.16 per home over the next two years with the aim of giving landlords longer-term certainty.

The Housing Ombudsman Scheme governs how the service works, setting out the matters that can and cannot be considered within the Ombudsman’s role. Changes proposed would increase awareness of the service and support consistent complaint handling practice across landlords. A new power would help to ensure evidence is provided in a timely manner to accelerate complaint resolution, with the initial evidence requested not being received in an estimated 25% of cases. Another new power to conduct further investigations beyond the initial complaint would help to identify any potential systemic failure.