Mid Sussex councillor calls for Housing Ombudsman to investigate Clarion Housing Association after cyber attack

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A Lib Dem councillor is calling for the Housing Ombudsman to investigate Clarion Housing Association after its IT services suffered a cyber attack on June 18.

After the incident, the housing association said damage to its systems had been ‘extensive’, adding that there would be ‘a long period of disruption’.

Mid Sussex councillor Simon Hicks (Burgess Hill, Leylands Ward) said he wants Clarion investigated over ‘its lack of preparedness’ for the attack.

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Clarion has insisted that it actively monitors and mitigates cyber security risks.

Clarion Housing was hit by a ‘cyber security incident’ on June 18Clarion Housing was hit by a ‘cyber security incident’ on June 18
Clarion Housing was hit by a ‘cyber security incident’ on June 18

Mr Hicks said: “It is over three months since the Association was hit by a cyber attack resulting in a significant loss of service to tenants, particularly around not being able to contact staff directly by phone, and paying rent by their normal method. It is a concern that this attack had such a devastating effect on the Association and has created significant uncertainty for residents concerned about the safety of their personal data and being unable to speak to customer services about routine tenancy issues.”

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A Clarion spokesperson said: “As a responsible organisation, we actively monitor and mitigate cyber security risks, undertaking security reviews and acting upon findings. The cyber-attack we were subjected to was a criminal act and in our response to this incident, we have engaged the authorities accordingly.

They said: “It has taken time to restore systems safely but we are progressing in our recovery.”

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Mr Hicks also expressed concerns about Clarion’s repair service, saying that tenants of Church Flats in Cuckfield Lane, Warninglid, had highlighted the disrepair of their roof multiple times.

He said: “When I raised the issue scaffolding was put up to allow repairs to the fascia although three weeks later no actual repairs have taken place.”

Clarion said: “We are sorry there have been delays in completing the repairs to the roof at Church Flats. Heavy rain and nesting birds have meant we have not been able to avoid pushing back the work. We expect the work to be completed on 11th October.”

Clarion said residents can report emergency repairs online and said planned investment work and critical safety checks were unaffected.

A spokesperson said: “We have been in regular liaison with our regulators and the Housing Ombudsman service to keep them updated on the services we have been able to provide residents.”

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