Call for evidence: Investigation into knowledge and information management

Under the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, we can conduct investigations into potential systemic and thematic issues. In March 2021, we published our systemic framework setting out how we will look beyond individual disputes to identify key issues that impact on residents and landlords’ services. The framework allows us to issue a call for evidence and the Ombudsman has decided to use this to support a thematic investigation into knowledge and information management.

Knowledge and information management is integral to effective complaint handling and landlords’ overall service provision. Poor record-keeping and data management is a consistent theme we have found in our casework and this has been referenced in previous Spotlight reports. Consequently, we recognise the need for this to be the subject of a Spotlight report in its own right.

We want to understand more about the current barriers to effective governance in this key area. Therefore, we are calling for evidence submissions from complaint handlers in member landlords. The definition of complaint handler in this context is anyone who responds to stage 1 or stage 2 complaints as part of their day-to-day role.

Your feedback will help us to ensure that we are able to make far-reaching recommendations that promote greater understanding of the importance of information and knowledge management, particularly with the advent of the Access to Information Scheme. We also want to share best practice across the sector – helping landlords to develop their policies and procedures with a view to improving the experience of all residents.

Our call for evidence is asking six questions, along with collecting some basic geographic and demographic data to allow us to report on any regional variation and/or variation within types of landlord.

The survey closed on 23 December 2022.

To preview the complaint handlers survey questions ahead of submitting a response, please see helpful links (to the right).

Residents were invited to share their experiences and give views on their landlords’ practices through discussion forums with members of our Resident Panel. Feedback from those forums together with submissions to the call for evidence and an analysis of our casework will all form part of the investigation and the final Spotlight report to be published next year.