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Ombudsman shows breadth of knowledge and information failings

Ombudsman shows breadth of detriment caused by knowledge and information failings in latest severe maladministration report.
Richard Blakeway (002)

The Housing Ombudsman has published its latest ‘learning from severe maladministration ’ report, highlighting the huge range of failings that can come from Knowledge and Information Management (KIM) inadequacies.

With the important role that social housing has to play in giving safe and secure housing to millions, the learning in these reports will help landlords provide effective services that protect this aspiration.

The report comes a year after the its Spotlight report on the issue, providing more lessons landlords can learn from recent cases.

The first section of the report focuses on three key cases where poor KIM can impaired the response to repairs, domestic abuse and damp/mould.

In one case a resident was exposed to damp and mould for a prolonged period because the landlord did not have adequate processes in place for information to be passed to new staff members and in another case no action was taken or vulnerabilities recorded despite four complaints from a domestic abuse survivor.

Other cases demonstrate how landlords are unable to evidence to the Ombudsman action it has taken in response to repairs and anti-social behaviour because of inadequate or missing records, and how this can also hamper investigations by the Ombudsman.

The report also includes some cases where the KIM failing was only maladministration, but provides context for a separate finding of severe maladministration in the case.

This includes a complaint where the Ombudsman recommended the landlord consider a referral to the Information Commissioners Office following a data breach.

There are also opportunities for landlords to receive support and training on KIM through the Ombudsman’s expanding Centre for Learning, which provides CPD-accredited modules, as well as analysis and recommendations from Spotlight reports and other publications.

The landlords highlighted in this latest severe maladministration report are:

  • A2Dominion
  • Anchor Hanover
  • Clarion
  • Gateshead Council
  • Harlow Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • Lewisham Council
  • L&Q
  • Metropolitan Thames Valley
  • Notting Hill Genesis
  • PA Housing
  • Sanctuary


Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: “This report is a timely reminder one year on from our Spotlight recommendations of the importance of landlords taking further action on this key issue.

“From domestic abuse to repairs to ASB, failings in this area can have a significant impact on residents, their health and wellbeing, as well as eroding trust in their landlord. Inadequate or inaccurate records can also present significant organisational risk, both handling individual cases or more widely.

“This creates a lottery where landlord actions can be inconsistent or non-existent.

“There is also a strong coloration between poor records, protracted complaints and severe detriment which is hard to ignore and can involve landlords of all sizes and types.

“In a challenging and changing operating environment, Knowledge and Information Management should be the foundation of a solid service delivery and complaint handling.

“We have set out practical lessons within this report building on the Spotlight recommendations to help landlords prevent service failings and improve complaints handling which we encourage all landlords to engage with seriously.”

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