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Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s severe maladministration finding by the Housing Ombudsman

The Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (Rt Hon Michael Gove MP) has written to Stoke-on-Trent City Council following a finding of severe maladministration by the Housing Ombudsman.

The details of the letter are shown below :-

I write following a finding of severe maladministration by the Housing Ombudsman, for your failure
to respond, on two separate occasions, to a stage one complaint. Your failure left a resident and her
two vulnerable children in a home with damp and mould.

In this case, your resident did not receive a formal response to her stage one complaint, which
concerned your failure to act on the damp and mould in her property. The resident raised her
complaint again after the problem persisted, and she again received no formal response. It was only
after the Ombudsman was forced to intervene that you responded to the resident, but you still did
not address fully the issues she had raised. You also failed to act in accordance with the
Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code.

Your inaction left your resident and her two vulnerable children in damp and mouldy conditions. This
is unacceptable. You failed to provide the level of service your residents should expect to receive.
This is deeply disappointing. When your residents report an issue, especially when vulnerable
people are involved, it should be acted upon swiftly and effectively. The tragic case of Awaab Ishak
has shown that we must not be complacent about issues that have the potential to damage
residents’ health.

I have been clear that social housing residents must be able to put their trust in their landlords to
provide a decent home and deal with complaints swiftly and effectively. The Social Housing
Regulation Act is bringing in a tough new regulatory regime to support this Government’s
commitment to driving up standards and holding landlords accountable for providing social housing
residents with decent homes.

I expect the changes you are implementing to make a significant difference to the service you deliver
to your residents. I will be taking a personal interest in how your organisation continues to deliver its
responsibilities to its residents.

I am copying this letter to Jonathan Gullis MP, Jack Brereton MP, Jo Gideon MP, Councillor Jane
Ashworth, and Councillor Daniel Jellyman, the Select Committee for Levelling Up, Housing and
Communities, and the Housing Ombudsman.

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