Promise 3 of the Social Housing White Paper sets out the intention for residents of social housing to have complaints dealt with promptly and fairly, with access to a strong Ombudsman who will give swift and fair redress when needed.
This section of the White Paper very much builds on changes we have seen and heard about over the past year from the Housing Ombudsman. It goes further by proposing:
* That the Ombudsman will have greater powers;
* The Ombudsman's relationship with the Regulator of Social Housing will be put on a statutory footing, moving on from the Memorandum of Understanding the two organisations entered into earlier this year;
* Landlords will have to clearly publicise a resident's right to complain, including putting their complaints policy on their website;
* Tenants can complain more easily, removing the unpopular democratic filter previously put in place; and
* Publication of the Ombudsman's findings on complaints. The publications it produces annually, which for the first time this year including a specific report in relation to leaseholders and shared owners, do make for interesting reading as to where a landlord can learn from others mistakes and remediation of those.
For residents, these will no doubt be welcome changes when their landlord doesn't get things right. For landlords, it emphasises the importance of handling complaints right. At the end of the day, no-one is perfect and every organisation makes mistakes: the key is dealing with those mistakes well and promptly and learning from them.
For our full ebriefing on all aspects of the Social Housing White Paper please click here.
Social Housing White Paper: A new hope for tenants?