Our research shows that people are more likely to make a complaint to an organisation they are unhappy with, when they know they can escalate that complaint to a public ombudsman service if it is not resolved.
So, in 2013 we set out on a simple mission - to have more impact for the people who are affected when public services fall short. We began a five-year journey to achieve this, and two years in, we are on track to do what we committed to do. We are now meeting the demand for our service, and last year we completed ten times more investigations into unresolved complaints compared to two years ago. This was only possible because of our staff’s tremendous hard work, flexibility and commitment.
But moving from fewer than 500 investigations a year to over 4,000, in the space of just two years, has not been without its challenges. One of the very real knock-on effects has been the delays that some people have unfortunately experienced when they have used our service. We know this has been a big problem for the people we are here to help, and we are actively tackling it.
To inform our modernisation, we have been asking people who use our service what they want and expect from an Ombudsman service. It is clear that people’s confidence in our service is greatest, even when we do not uphold their cases, when we explain our role and what we can and cannot do, are transparent about the methods or processes we follow, and consistently provide a timely, empathetic service that keeps people up to date about progress on their case.
We are really grateful to everyone who has taken the time to give us feedback. It is informing our own service changes and the commitments we will make to people who use our service in the future.