The government is set to write to the country’s largest housing association to express concerns over a recent severe maladministration judgement the landlord received over repeated complaint-handling failures.
Picture: Hiran Perera
The government is set to write to the country’s largest housing association to express concerns over a recent severe maladministration judgement #UKhousing
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) revealed on Twitter that ministers would be writing to Clarion to raise concerns over the judgement from the Housing Ombudsman after the association was found to have repeatedly failed to respond to a tenant’s complaints about widespread disrepair in her property.
Clarion was forced to pay more than £2,000 in compensation to the tenant after repeated complaints about the state of her home were not acted on by the landlord.
The tenant had complained to the ombudsman that the constant chasing for updates was causing “considerable trouble and frustration” as well as having a detrimental impact on her family’s health.
The government said the decision to write to Clarion was part of its new plan to ‘name and shame’ social housing landlords that fail to provide quality housing and services.
Last month, rough sleeping and housing secretary Eddie Hughes revealed that the government would publicly shame sub-standard social landlords failing to meet standards, with these organisations being “called out” on the government’s website and across social media channels.
We recently promised to name & shame social housing landlords who fail to provide quality housing & services – t.co/3CJuT0rFs0
— Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (@luhc)
We recently promised to name & shame social housing landlords who fail to provide quality housing & services – https://t.co/3CJuT0rFs0
Ministers will write to Clarion to express their concern following @HousingOmbuds judgement on their repeated failure to respond to complaints⬇ https://t.co/FerevPRJvY
— Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (@luhc) April 26, 2022
It appears that Clarion is one of the first landlords to have its maladministration judgement shared on the DLUHC’s Twitter feed.
The tactic makes up part of wider reforms by the government aimed at improving standards across the social housing sector, largely through the Social Housing Regulation Bill.
This will see the role of the Regulator for Social Housing extended, with the watchdog to also assess providers on consumer standards such as compliant-handling and repairs performance.
Clarion is one of several landlords to come under the microscope of the media in the past 18 months. The association was the focus of an ITV News investigation last year which looked at widespread issues of disrepair at the Eastfields Estate in Merton, south London.
At the time, Clarion apologised for the sub-standard conditions and has made changes to the structure of its management team in a bid to improve the quality of housing for its residents.
Responding to severe maladministration judgement earlier today, a Clarion spokesperson said: “We want to ensure the services we provide at Clarion are customer-focused and always as effective as possible.
“This was a complex case and while our focus was on completing the repairs and keeping the resident and her family regularly updated on progress, we accept that our formal communication via the complaints process fell short of the standard our residents have a right to expect.
“It took us too long to reply to letters and we accept the ruling of the ombudsman on this basis and apologise to the resident.
“We have explored what we can learn from this case and have issued renewed guidance to staff on when to escalate an enquiry to a formal complaint. We are also piloting the introduction of resident liaison officers who have a specific focus on managing complex cases and seeing them through to resolution.
“Clarion has also written to every one of our residents across the country in recent months, explaining how they can make a complaint and the process for contacting the Housing Ombudsman.”