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Housing Ombudsman writes to Ealing Council over its high rate of maladministration

Ealing Council is one of 91 landlords which the Housing Ombudsman has written to the chief executives of who have a maladministration rate of over 50%.

In the four page report, Ealing Council, which has over 16,000 homes had an overall rate of maladministration rate of 63% which the Ombudsman determined the council to be at vault. This compares to a national average of 55% for landlords of a similar size.

Writing directly to Ealing Council chief executive Tony Clements on 12 October 2023, Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman said:

“I wanted to draw your attention to your individual report because we have found 62.5% maladministration in the 24 findings we have made for your organisation during 2022-23. We are writing to a total of 91 landlords with a maladministration rate of 50% or above.

“I recognise the challenging operating environment for the sector. While there are separate and sometimes conflicting pressures placed on landlords and their finances, a positive complaints handling culture is vital to ensure residents are treated fairly and reasonably. Clearly such a high rate of maladministration is concerning and for issues to occur across this proportion of findings indicates that improvements could be made in your organisation to prevent and resolve complaints more effectively.

“I would strongly encourage you to share your performance report with your member responsible for complaints, governing body and any relevant scrutiny panel to review. I would consider in the round the determinations made by us in 2022-23 and identify the appropriate lessons in policy, practice or culture for service areas, particularly in light of the orders and recommendations we made in those reports.”

The Ombudsman revealed that between April 2022 and March 2023, it had made 32 orders to Ealing Council and that it ordered the council to pay out £4,725 in compensation to residents.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Councillor Gary Malcolm, leader of Ealing Liberal Democrats said: “Liberal Democrats say that Ealing Council are failing so badly with managing its housing. The recent ombudsman report shows that it clearly is failing far more than other Councils with one of the highest maladministration rates, of 63% So many of these complaints could have been dealt with by investigating and prioritising them earlier so that issues like mould, damp and other repairs can be made quicker.”

A council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS: “The COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the cost-of-living crisis mean that this is a very challenging time for all social landlords, and Ealing is no exception. There has been an unprecedented surge in demand to our homelessness prevention service, which continues to be one of the best performing in London despite escalating demand. However, we know we need to do some things better.”

The spokesperson added: “As part of our Council Plan, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone can live in a decent, secure, and safe home. Despite an extremely challenging economic environment, we are delivering thousands of desperately needed, high quality new homes to let at genuinely affordable rents. Furthermore, we have committed to spending £400 million on improving our existing stock of homes over the current council term. This has helped us take on a new repairs contractor to deal with our maintenance backlog, includes refurbishments to thousands of kitchens and bathrooms, and will help to deliver more energy efficient homes through refitting.”

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