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Housing Ombudsman sees 8% increase in cases on last quarter, with almost half resulting in maladministration findings

The Housing Ombudsman has said he is making "significantly more orders" in the service's most recent report, which also shows an 8% increase in the last quarter in cases coming into its formal remit for investigation.

The latest 'Insight Report', which looks at trends in Housing Ombudsman cases and complaints between January and March 2022, has revealed that the service handled 1,013 cases in the quarter, compared with 934 in the previous quarter.

Providers were handed maladministration findings in 46% of the cases, and the Ombudsman's orders and recommendations following investigations made improvements for residents on 1,250 occasions, the Ombudsman claims.

Alongside reporting country-wide data, each quarterly report focuses on a new region in the UK. The latest report analysed data from the East Midlands.

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Thirty-nine per cent of property condition complaints in the East Midlands resulted in maladministration findings, compared to 29% in the West Midlands and 28% in the East of England, making it the region with the highest proportion of such findings.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said the service is making "significantly more orders" to put things right and recommendations to improve services following its investigations.

He went on to detail a number of cases seen in the East Midlands, including one in which a resident was left for almost two months without a response to their complaint about their landlord's gas safety appointments process.

“One case highlights where we found the level of redress offered by the landlord was reasonable," he said. "It concerned a voluntary member of our scheme and their response to a group complaint about repairs. We found that the landlord acted reasonably in the circumstances, seeking feedback from the residents ahead of major works and offering appropriate compensation for the disruption caused.

"We also feature three cases with findings of maladministration where landlords took too long to act. In one case a resident was left waiting for seven months to get a response to their complaint about unexplained delays and missed repairs appointments and in another blame was inferred on the resident for damp and mould."

"It reinforces the need for landlords to use the good practice set out in our Complaint Handling Code, so they can respond to complaints fairly and effectively," the Ombudsman noted. "We have recently strengthened the provisions in the Code to support a positive complaint handling culture. This includes promoting learning and empowering complaint handling teams to ensure they have the resources and respect to do their job."

Adam Carey

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