The Housing Ombudsman Service has published its Business Plan
for 2020-21 and the revised Housing Ombudsman Scheme, giving the
Service stronger powers and more resources to deliver significant
improvements in housing redress. Both publications have been
approved by the Secretary of State following consultation last
year, which showed strong support for the Housing
Ombudsman's plans to strengthen the service.
The Business Plan 2020-21 introduces a new, more efficient
dispute resolution service as well as improved accessibility and
greater transparency. It aims to reduce the average determination
time on cases by half over the next two years - to 4-5 months in
2020-21, then to 3-4 months by 2021-22.
Investment in the service is needed to deliver the service
improvements and to meet continuing high demand for the service.
The subscription fee for landlords will increase for the first time
in three years to £2.16 per home.
New provisions under the revised Scheme to take effect from 1
- A new power that allows the Housing Ombudsman to issue
complaint handling failure orders when a complaint gets stuck in
the landlord's process or where landlords do not provide evidence
requested by the Ombudsman in a timely manner.
- A 'severe maladministration' finding to clarify the range of
determinations from service failure to maladministration to severe
- A more proactive approach in identifying possible systemic
failure and to undertake further investigation either into an
individual landlord or sector-wide issues.
- Developing a new complaint handling code to achieve greater
consistency across landlords' complaint procedures.
The goal is to deliver a step-change in providing timely,
effective and high-quality redress, together with promoting
positive change in the sector by sharing more learning and insights
into the Housing Ombudsman's casework. During the year the
Ombudsman will be publishing guidance on how complaint handling
orders will work, the framework for systemic investigations and the
complaint handling code.
ARCH member councils are urged to read the new Scheme and to
review their own complaint handling procedures to ensure full
Further details can be found on the Housing