I am grateful to Julia G on Twitter for this suggestion:
Following the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee meeting on 08//11/22. Brent Council should ensure that it submits information to the Housing Ombudsman's call for evidence on record keeping.
This is the relevant information from the Housing Ombudsman. I do hope Brent Council and other social landlords contribute:
We have issued a call for evidence to support our next systemic investigation which will look at record keeping and data management. This has been a consistent theme found in our casework with 67% of investigations upheld in 2021-22 involving poor records.
Strong record keeping practices are integral to effective complaint handling and landlords’ overall service provision. The purpose of the call for evidence is to understand more about the current barriers to effective knowledge and information management.
Complaint handlers within social landlords are invited to submit evidence which will help the Ombudsman make recommendations that promote greater understanding of the importance of information and knowledge management. It will also share best practice helping landlords to develop their policies and procedures with a view to improving the experience of all residents.
Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said:
Our previous Spotlight reports have covered a wide range of topics but poor record keeping has been repeatedly identified as a driver of poor service. This can result in residents experiencing inadequate responses, delays and things not being put right. It is a systemic, sector-wide issue and that’s why we’re focusing on it as the subject of our next investigation and the topic of a Spotlight report in its own right.
The fact that more than two thirds of our determinations with a finding of have identified record keeping as an issue should be a cause of concern for landlords, particularly their governing bodies. There are real benefits for services by getting record keeping right and our report will support landlords in doing just that.
Residents were invited to share their experiences and give views on their landlords’ practices through discussion forums with members of our Resident Panel. Feedback from those forums together with submissions to the call for evidence and an analysis of our casework will all form part of the investigation and the final Spotlight report to be published next year.
Under the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, the Ombudsman can conduct investigations into potential systemic and thematic issues. In March 2021, we published a systemic framework setting out how we will look beyond individual disputes to identify key issues that impact on residents and landlords’ services. The framework allows us to issue a call for evidence and we have decided to use this to support a thematic investigation into knowledge and information management.