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Housing Ombudsman publishes special report on Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

The Housing Ombudsman has published a special report on Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, finding that a culture of ‘othering’ of the residents lies at the heart of the issues at the landlord. This involves a pattern of exclusion and marginalisation based on identities perceived as different.

The Ombudsman’s wider investigation, which was prompted by the inquest into Awaab Ishak’s death from prolonged exposure to mould and its review of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing’s complaints brought to the Ombudsman, makes more than 20 recommendations for improvement at the provider.

Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said that “Our investigation has highlighted that culture change will be central to the landlord’s recovery.  The weakness in policies, repeated failures and failure to learn from complaints has led us to conclude there was wider service failure by the landlord in areas other than its response to damp and mould, including record keeping and communication.  Our investigation found reoccurring instances of residents being treated in dismissive, inappropriate or unsympathetic ways. In some instances, the language used was derogatory”.

Mr Blakeway goes on to warn that “It is highly unlikely that this endemic behaviour of ‘othering’ is isolated to a single landlord and the social housing sector should consider whether they also need to turn over the stone and do a deep dive into their culture and whether they are living their social purpose”.