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Investigation Manual

15. Joint working with the Housing Ombudsman 

Please see the Memorandum of Understanding with the Housing Ombudsman

15.1. Consent 

If sharing a complainant’s personal data with the Housing Ombudsman, the complainant’s consent is required. See separate guidance and the consent form on ECHO. 

15.2. Cases passed through from Assessment

Where Assessment has identified that a complaint to us requires investigation, and where it is also known that there are aspects which may engage the jurisdiction of the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS), advice will be taken from the Housing Forum’s Lead AO. Where appropriate, she will liaise with the Housing Ombudsman. If it is decided the case is for joint working, the complaint will be allocated to an Investigator with particular experience in this area. The allocation will be done in discussion with the Investigator’s manager. The Housing Forum’s Team Coordinator, will ensure the case is logged on the spreadsheet which records cases being worked jointly between LGSCO and HOS. The Housing Forum’s Lead AO will discuss progress on joint working cases at regular liaison meetings with HOS. 

The Investigator will contact the HOS on allocation to let them know who their point of contact is. The Investigator will need to check that we have consent from the person affected to look at the complaint jointly and share information with the HOS. An Investigation Plan will need to be agreed with the HOS and a progress note will be recorded by the Investigator on the LGSCO-HOS joint working spreadsheet every four weeks. 

15.3. Cases passed to Investigation but where a joint element is later identified 

In some cases it may emerge that the actions of a social landlord have some relevance to our own investigation. Where it seems that a complaint about the landlord could be or has been made, it may be sufficient to advise the complainant about the Housing Ombudsman service. Where we know a complaint has already been made to the Housing Ombudsman, we should find out what stage the complaint has reached. 

If it seems clear that there is a joint element which could be investigated, the case should be drawn to the Housing Forum’s Lead AO’s attention. They will liaise as necessary with the Housing Ombudsman. If it is decided the case is for joint working, it will be dealt with as above, although the case could remain with the original Investigator if that seems appropriate. 

15.4. Cases that are referred to LGSCO from the Housing Ombudsman

All referrals from the Housing Ombudsman will be in writing and will be sent direct to Intake where they will be processed just like any other incoming complaint. If and when they complete the Assessment stage, they will be allocated for investigation.