Section: Ombudsman

The Housing Ombudsman appoints its first Independent Reviewer of Service Complaints

Posted 16.03.21
Housing Ombudsman: Further reading

The Housing Ombudsman has appointed Adam Sampson as its first Independent Reviewer of Service Complaints. He will support the Ombudsman in learning from complaints about its service, so as to continually improve performance.

He brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the new role, having been CEO of Shelter for seven years.

Adam Sampson also has experience within the Ombudsman sector. He set up both the Prisons Ombudsman and the Legal Ombudsman, where he was Chief Legal Ombudsman.

The Independent Reviewer will consider a sample of complaints against the service and how effectively they were handled, including timeliness and responsiveness.

Where complaint handling standards are not met, the Independent Reviewer will be able to make recommendations for improved practice.

The Independent Reviewer's reports will be published on our website from 2021-22.

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Severe maladministration finding for excessive delays

Posted 03.03.21
Housing Ombudsman: Further reading

The London Borough of Newham took an excessively long time to deal with a complaint about repairs following a leak, and then failed to apologise or offer appropriate compensation.

In its investigation the Housing Ombudsman found severe maladministration, stating that the delay was unreasonable for a relatively straightforward complaint.

Following a leak from a flat above, the landlord temporarily moved the resident out of his flat. The resident contacted the landlord several times in order to get the repairs carried out but was unable to get through.

He then called the landlord's call centre and said he was told that he could carry out the work himself which he did and requested reimbursement.

The resident complained after receiving no response from the landlord. He then had to pursue his complaint for more than 18 months before getting a final response, during which time the Ombudsman also contacted the landlord on at least seven occasions asking it to respond.

The landlord said it would not have advised the resident to carry out the work himself, but telephone recordings were only retained for six months so the opportunity to review it was lost.

The Ombudsman also found that the landlord had no specific policy on repairs, so was unable to determine who had responsibility for carrying out the repair work and could not order the landlord to recompense the resident.

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Reporting on March 2021

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