Housing Ombudsman seeks views on 2017-18 plans and budget
Wednesday 25th of January 2017
The Housing Ombudsman Denise Fowler has published a consultation paper on her proposed plans and budget for 2017-18, including the level of subscription fee, plus an update on performance for the current year.
As a public service that is funded by subscription from its members, the Housing Ombudsman Service aims to be open and accountable for how it uses its resources so is seeking views from landlords and tenants.
Denise Fowler said: “We know that landlords and tenants continue to face new challenges and we want to support them effectively to resolve disputes and drive up housing standards. Our work helps ensure the provision of high quality homes and services across England. We aim to role model the service we expect of others so, just as we expect landlords to seek the views of tenants in designing their services, it is important that we take into account the views and insight of all our stakeholders in planning our own service and budget.”
The consultation paper sets out the improvements made to the service this year resulting in significant operating efficiencies. In 2017-18 productivity and efficiency gains are expected to continue as new ways of working and new systems and tools are introduced. But the service is also expecting an increase in complaints of 10% overall and a 20% increase in the number which require investigation under the Ombudsman’s formal remit.
The plan for next year, informed by feedback already received from landlords and complainants and to be finalised following consultation, is to set a subscription fee of £1.25 per housing unit to enable the Housing Ombudsman Service to:
- reduce average case times further
- do more work with landlords to address potential systemic problems
- continue work with both landlords and residents to improve local actions that will benefit both
- continue work to resolve complaints early.
The consultation seeks views on the proposed service, including the balance of activity between casework resolution and sector development, and the fee.
The outcome of the consultation will inform the Ombudsman’s business plan which is then submitted to the Secretary of State who must approve any increase in the subscription fee.
The consultation is open until 13 February 2017.