Throughout 2023, the media landscape was dominated by housing concerns, sparking conversations on topics ranging from affordability and housing shortages to worries around poor housing conditions and resident safety.

The Housing Ombudsman plays a crucial role in the housing sector, undertaking the task of investigating complaints and resolving disputes for tenants and leaseholders of social landlords (housing associations, local authorities) and voluntary members (private landlords, letting agents).

Their most recent Annual Complaints Review for 2022-23 revealed a staggering 323% rise in severe maladministration findings. They paint a challenging picture of social housing complaints which has seen a significant increase due to inadequate complaint handling, poor property conditions and compromised resident safety. This alarming trend underscores the critical need for effective staff training, particularly on housing management software.

The consequences of inadequate training are severe, ranging from financial losses to compromised safety, reputational damage and heightened risks. Maladministration has become a critical issue within the housing sector, resulting in over 5,000 complaints reported last year alone, according to the Ombudsman’s Annual Complaints Review.

The rapid growth in technology is leading to confusion, particularly when it comes to managing system updates and getting new starters and temporary staff up to speed. With more people working from home, the lack of in-person learning adds to the challenge. This leads to employee frustration, hindering job performance and ultimately increasing the risk of maladministration. Failing to invest in training jeopardises the efficiency of the complex housing management system, risks forfeiting potential returns on investment and perhaps more importantly, can have a serious impact on resident health and well-being.

Recent reports show that poor housing conditions cost the NHS a staggering £1.4 billion annually (The Times). Cold, damp, and mould-infested homes not only pose a threat to residents’ well-being but also strain our healthcare system. This underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to address the challenges posed by maladministration in the housing sector.

The repercussions of maladministration can be severe, as evidenced by the tragic case of a vulnerable resident who ended his own life following long-running mental health issues and a nine-month noise nuisance complaint. This incident highlights the pressing need for landlords to make sure their staff are adequately trained in dealing with vulnerable residents, as failure to do so can result in severe consequences.

As the housing sector grapples with these alarming trends, prioritising staff training is crucial for ensuring the safety, well-being, and satisfaction of residents, while also safeguarding the reputation and effectiveness of housing providers. Me Learning’s flexible and customisable digital training solution offers a comprehensive strategy to embed software and streamline processes. This solution guarantees increased staff efficiency, enhanced customer service, risk mitigation, and substantial financial savings.

Find out how we are providing digital training to assist Lambeth Council’s Housing team to unlock more benefits from their complex housing management system here.

For more information, please contact Helen Forshaw Hayes: helen.forshawhayes@melearning.co.uk / 07510 374 074.

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