Driving improvements through transparency
Complaints can provide essential insight, knowledge and learning for service development. To support effective learning amongst social landlords, this month we have started publishing all of our decision reports: www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/decisions/ (opens in new tab).
This is a crucial step towards greater transparency, accountability and demonstrating the difference complaints can make. Our decisions are published every two weeks, and our casebook will provide an ever-expanding resource to help landlords to improve performance and services.
The first cases published highlighted the wide range of issues we consider, including Right to Buy, moving home, repairs and anti-social behaviour, as well as the different outcomes, investigated in an independent, fair and impartial way. The landlord in each case is identified.
We are encouraging all landlord staff – whether a board member or frontline staff – and anyone who cares about achieving excellence to regularly consult our casebook to develop their organisation and improve the experiences of residents. The publication of our investigations is also important to help residents to understand our work and see the decisions we make about their landlord.
The move to publishing our decisions is the latest step to promote transparency, since adopting a revised Housing Ombudsman Scheme last year. This includes the publication of new annual landlord performance reports, special reports where we found severe maladministration and an increasing number of reports into thematic and systemic issues. Our latest thematic report examined more than 200 real-life experiences of residents’ complaints about heating, hot water and energy, and made several recommendations to get things ‘right first time’ and strengthen contract management. This report is timely given the significant impact on vulnerable households when things go wrong and the changes expected with decarbonisation.