Response to article in The Observer

Published on 21/12/2020
On December 19th, the Observer newspaper reported that L&Q had been ordered to pay damages to a resident for failing to support them after a racist campaign by neighbours.

L&Q’s aim is always to ensure that our residents feel safe in their own home, and we have a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination of any kind.

We are proud to promote equality for people from all backgrounds and we take incidents of this kind very seriously, but it is clear from this case that we let our resident down. We have personally apologised to the resident and are working with them to ensure that their housing situation is resolved as soon as possible, but there are wider questions that we must ask ourselves and crucial lessons to be learned.

In tackling any type of hate crime or anti-social behaviour we work closely with residents and external agencies such as police and local authorities to put prevention and enforcement measures in place where necessary. However, we will now review our policies and procedures to ensure cases like this don’t happen again. Importantly, we will also reflect on the way we approach sensitive cases, to ensure that decisions are taken with empathy and understanding, and an awareness of individual circumstances.

The Observer also reported on a second resident who was seeking to be rehoused after fleeing from domestic violence.

We have a deep commitment to supporting victims of domestic abuse. This includes having specially trained staff on our front line and in our call centres who can help to spot the signs of domestic abuse and encourage residents experiencing it to come forward, including our caretakers, case managers and call centre staff. We advertise help and support available to victims frequently through our communications channels, including signage in our blocks and have systems in place to enable victims to report abuse safely. Where we become aware of abuse our case managers build strong relationships with residents and regularly check on them, discuss their options going forward and support them through whatever they decide to do.

We are always led by the resident and their wishes and ensure full confidentiality. If there is a safeguarding issue or threat to life we work with local authorities, support agencies and the police to assess any risk and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety, including enabling relocation in severe cases.

We have worked closely with the resident mentioned in the newspaper article, and have made a direct offer for priority rehousing. However, there are further lessons to be learned from this case, and will be carrying out an immediate review of the way these cases are managed in future.

The review of both of these cases will be overseen by our new Resident Services Board. This group of eight formally appointed residents was formed in November 2020. It is responsible for helping L&Q to deliver the best services we can, and provides a vital link between our Group Board and the people that live in our homes.