Council slammed by Housing Ombudsman for poor repairs and complaints handling

Council slammed by Housing Ombudsman for poor repairs and complaints handling

0:06 AM, 21st February 2024, About 4 months ago 6

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A special investigation by the Housing Ombudsman has exposed how Hammersmith and Fulham Council failed to provide adequate repairs and complaints handling to its residents, leaving them ‘feeling anything but secure in their homes’.

The report found that the council had a maladministration rate of 88% in 33 cases investigated, with 85 findings of fault and 138 orders to remedy the situation.

The investigation was launched last year after several cases of severe maladministration were brought to the Ombudsman’s attention.

‘Landlord appeared to be operating in crisis management mode’

Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman, said: “The landlord appeared to be operating in crisis management mode for a number of years.

“Central to this investigation is the handling the short-term impact of the removal of a contractor when some residents were living with unacceptable service failures that required redress. This provides cautionary evidence for other landlords.”

He added: “The human impact of multiple and repeated failures in service delivery is apparent throughout our report.”

He said that those failures led to residents ‘feeling anything but secure in their homes and on the streets’.

Report highlights two main areas of concern

The Ombudsman’s report highlights two main areas of concern: repair handling and complaint handling.

It revealed how the council did not meet emergency or routine repairs deadlines, sent wrong or incompetent contractors, did not update records properly, and ignored the needs of vulnerable residents.

It also reveals how the council’s complaints procedure was not compliant with the Complaint Handling Code, resulting in delays, errors, contradictions, and unfulfilled promises.

The council also failed to follow its own compensation policy, leading to discrepancies between initial offers and final payments.

‘Reiterate our deepest regrets to those residents affected’

Hammersmith and Fulham Council said: “We are truly sorry and reiterate our deepest regrets to those residents affected. We have apologised, compensated, and worked hard to rectify where we let people down.

“The Housing Ombudsman has recognised the transformational change we are making and our continued ambition to improve.

“We strive for consistently high-quality, fair, and compassionate services. We want everyone to have a safe, decent warm home in a diverse and thriving community.”


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Comments

Dennis Forrest

10:18 AM, 21st February 2024, About 4 months ago

How many £30,000 fines have been imposed?

Tim

14:17 PM, 21st February 2024, About 4 months ago

Exactly. No accountability on the part of H&FBC. No fine, no criminal proceedings, seemingly no lost jobs or employee reprimand. I thought Mr Goves Dept was all about levelling up🤷‍♂️

Peter Lassman

18:23 PM, 21st February 2024, About 4 months ago

I wonder if H&FBC will be fined like others or are they a bunch of self ruled self imposed Hypocrites with 1 rule for themselves and the other for PL

Tim

19:16 PM, 21st February 2024, About 4 months ago

So in December God Gove admonished 10 local authorities and housing associations including Newham, Manchester and Stevenage with SECOND warnings to Metropolitan Thames Valley and Hyde Housing. I have also seen articles that Ealing and Notting Hill Genesis have been written to. The percentages of failure are very high and yet there still persists this arrogance that the state sector housing is to a higher level than that offered by the PRS. I just wish especially before this impending election an investigative journalist would do a robust piece about how dreadful state housing is and how wide ranging and challenging this embryonic HMO legislation is proving to be to professional landlords.

Crouchender

21:15 PM, 21st February 2024, About 4 months ago

H& F Chief Exec is supposed the helping the Labour party review PRS!! Typical they just want to chase the money from the selective licencing of smaller LLs

Stella

23:02 PM, 21st February 2024, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Crouchender at 21/02/2024 - 21:15
It beggars belief this is this very same council that cost me £thousands because they did not fix a cast iron downpipe just outside a bedroom window in my ex - LA flat.
It caused penetrating damp which meant the plaster had to hacked off back to the brick and tanked.
Tenants had to be moved out. The Council had given what was reputed to be a £177 million contract to an external company to take care of repairs.
It was a disaster.
Every time I phoned them to try to get the problem fixed they gave me a different reference number for the same job. It took them a month before they sent anyone to look at the problem and it took 6 months for them to fix the problem. They would make appointments and sometimes they would not turn up or they would send someone who was on a zero hour contract and did not have a clue.

I eventually got the problem sorted when some kind person at the council gave me the mob. number of one of the directors of the company and then it got fixed straight away.
He was very surprised to hear from me.
You could not make it up!

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