Industry News

Government launches campaign to empower social housing residents to raise complaints and make things right

awareness of the complaints process and the provision of straightforward advice. ‘Make Things Right’ will help residents raise


complaints if they are unhappy with their landlord and struggling to get problems resolved, with clear advice on how to progress issues to the Housing Ombudsman if necessary. The launch of the new campaign is a

commitment from the Government as part of the social housing white paper – ‘The Charter for Social Housing Residents’ - which set out a comprehensive action plan to make landlords more accountable for the services they deliver. The Charter aims to speed up the complaints

procedure for social housing residents, by reducing decision times and ensuring effective resolution and improving access to the Housing Ombudsman. The national campaign, ‘Make Things Right’, is

running adverts on digital and social media channels, as well as music streaming sites, to raise awareness of the complaints process and barriers to these being progressed. Housing Minister Eddie Hughes said: “The

Charter for Social Housing Residents is clear that all social housing residents should receive a good service and reassurance that if you speak up, then things will be put right. While most landlords work hard to put things

right when they go wrong, we want to ensure that all residents know how to raise complaints if they have to, and how to approach the Housing Ombudsman to escalate their concern.

VOICES MUST BE HEARD “That is why we are launching this new campaign to ensure those living in the 4 million social homes

The Charter aims to speed up the complaints procedure for social housing residents, by reducing decision times and ensuring effective resolution and improving access to the Housing Ombudsman

across England know how to access the complaints process to provide a greater voice for residents and refocus the sector on its social mission.” Councillor James Jamieson, Local Government

Association Chairman, said: “Councils want all residents, regardless of tenure, to have the security

ocial housing residents will be helped with improving their living conditions through a new Government campaign launched to raise

of a safe and well-maintained home which they are proud to live in. It is really important that the voice of all social housing residents is heard, and councils are supportive of measures which improve standards and empower residents. This will give them confidence in ensuring that

action can be taken to improve living conditions, where it is required.” The Charter will make landlords more

accountable for the services they deliver, including access to a new information scheme for residents of housing associations and introducing a set of resident satisfaction measures that landlords will have to report against. It has been created to ensure all social housing

residents are treated with respect and dignity and sets out what every resident should expect from their landlord:

1 To be safe in your home. 2 To know how your landlord is performing. 3 To have your complaints dealt with promptly and fairly.

4 To be treated with respect. 5 To have your voice heard by your landlord. 6 To have a good quality home and neighbourhood to live in.

7 To be supported to take your first step to ownership.

This comes as Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures show that 59 per cent of issues raised by social housing residents do not make it through as an official complaint to the landlord, despite the resident being unhappy with the initial response received – with 35 per cent of residents listing concerns around retaliation by landlords and neighbours as a reason for not raising an issue.

Social landlords’ repairs spending up by half in late 2020

Spending on repairs and maintenance by the largest 200 housing associations in England rose by 50 per cent in the last quarter of 2020. The Regulator of Social Housing’s quarterly

survey for October to December 2020, revealed that registered providers in England spent £455m on capitalised repairs and maintenance over the period, which was close to pre-pandemic levels. Despite this being a big rise on the £299m spent

in the previous quarter, the figure was 24 per cent lower than was forecast, as the sector reported continuing delays due of lockdown restrictions. Repairs work had been forced to stop earlier in the

year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The quarterly survey provides a financial health

check on England’s housing association sector. It is based on information provided by 214 landlords, all owning or managing more than 1,000 homes. Housing associations financial forecasts show

they expect performance and plans to return to normal levels over the next 12 months, but the regulator warned this could be impacted if the Government’s roadmap out of the pandemic is delayed. Losses from rent arrears and voids “remained stable”, the regulator said, although they are still

affected by the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic. Rent collection rates are matching normal seasonal trends, with the sector having “strong” underlying cashflow performance. Will Perry, the regulator’s director of strategy

said: “The social housing sector continues to show financial strength and forecasts increased spend on maintenance and investment over the next 12 months. The continuing challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic reinforce the need for providers to manage risk effectively and ensure they can both maintain services to tenants and plan and invest for the future.” | HMM April/May 2021 | 5

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