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Housing Ombudsman's latest spotlight report - Spotlight on attitudes, respect and rights - relationship of equals

The Housing Ombudsman's (HOs) latest Spotlight report has been published focusing on attitudes, respect and rights.

A call for evidence ran between 8 June and 3 August 2023 which was open to residents, landlords and advocacy services, asking questions such as what the barriers to effective communication are, what main issues advocacy services are asked to support residents with and whether they had seen an increase in requests for assistance. 

Within the report, the HO states that ‘A decent home is a basic human need but fair and reasonable services, which recognise individual circumstances, especially when vulnerability presents, can be a human right. This role is not discretionary for social landlords, it should be core’.  

The report highlights a number of case studies and also looks at culture which the HO says remains ‘vital to embed this approach’ . The HO also reiterates the importance of good complaint handling, ensuring that landlords are confident their complaint procedure is accessible to vulnerable residents and they are aware of the HO Service. 

There are many recommendations set out within the report, including the following: 

  • A call for a Royal Commission to create a long-term plan for social housing following concerns that current approaches in the sector are “not working” for vulnerable residents. 
  • The introduction of legislation which provides a consistent legal framework for vulnerabilities and places a mutual duty on agencies, such as social services, to cooperate with social housing providers.
  • A review of mission statements and vulnerability policies in conjunction with current practice.
  • The implementation a vulnerability strategy, including how it is defined. The report suggests Landlords should transform their vulnerable persons policy from a passive document to an embedded practice by stress testing it against the 3Rs – recognise, respond and record vulnerabilities.
  • That landlords produce their own “Resident of the Future” analysis for the next ten years.
  • To raise awareness of the complaints procedure and ensure it provides clear explanation. 

The full report can be found here: Spotlight on: Attitudes, respect and rights

If you would like further information, or have any queries, please contact Victoria Smith.


housing management & property litigation, social housing, housing associations, landlords, property managers, registered providers, housing sector