Clarion’s response to the Housing Ombudsman’s Special Report
The recent report from the Housing Ombudsman covers 13 cases from 2019-2021. In these cases, Clarion has not provided the quality of service we aim to, or that our residents deserve. We have learnt from these cases and in every instance, we have made changes to our approach so that we reduce the chance of a similar issue arising.
During the course of the investigation, we collaborated fully with the Ombudsman, sharing the work we are doing to secure lasting improvements. We have also worked with our residents to review the learning and accepted and implemented their recommendations for change.
We have been working together across our organisation to secure lasting improvements to our service and embed a positive complaints handling culture. Since the cases considered in the report were referred to the Ombudsman, we have completed a service review of our complaints handling process and have taken the decision to establish a dedicated Quality Team to oversee the quality of the information we provide and the quality of the handling of the complaint. We are also setting up regional complaints-focussed panels to drive forward complaints effectively and in a timely manner.
To further strengthen accountability, we have developed ‘Super User’ roles, responsible for seeing the complaint through from collating information to resolution. Similarly, we are piloting new Resident Liaison Officer (RLO) roles. RLOs act as the single point of contact for residents in complex repairs cases, which by their nature involve several appointments and often different contractors. RLOs ensure residents are communicated with and kept up to date at every stage of the process.
We know that resident involvement is key to service improvement and we formed a dedicated complaints group made up of 19 of our residents in January 2022. This resident group gave its feedback and recommendations which were incorporated in Clarion’s Customer Complaints Policy and our online complaints training module for colleagues. In addition, 700 of our residents responded to our online Customer Complaints survey, and the results have also supported the amendments made.
Clarion carries out over 1,300 repairs per day. Our dedicated team are highly trained problem solvers who take accountability for resolving issues. This year, we have invested in new equipment to support the early detection of damp and mould, and have taken advantage of new technology in order to track property interventions - measuring and reporting results. Our new, proactive and data-led approach allows us to catch problems early, before they become bigger and more disruptive problems for our residents.
We are determined to learn from the Ombudsman’s report, to drive continuous improvement in our service and be transparent with our residents as we make changes along the way.