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Housing Ombudsman publishes new Business Plan and revised Scheme 13/03/2020 Labelled as Regulation

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 July, include:


  • 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 maladministration.
  • 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 compliance.


Further details can be found on the Housing Ombudsman website

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