This page provides our annual statistics from 2004-5 onwards. All tables are in pdf format. Please contact us if you have any difficulty in accessing these.
Please note that if you intend to compare 2007-08 statistics with previous years, it is important to read about the changes that we made to recording in April 2007. These changes are explained in the Changes to Recording section. From 2010-11 we also started to record information about the outcomes of complaints on which we made a decision but did not report publicly. There have been no other significant changes to our recording methods since 2007-08.
Click here to see tables of the total annual number of enquiries and complaints we received from April 2003 onwards. From April 2004, these show the proportion of complaints received about each of the sectors under our jurisdiction - health, local government, housing, the Scottish Executive/ Scottish Government and devolved administration, and further and higher education.
Further and higher education came under our remit in October 2005, and complaints from prisoners from 1 October 2010. Complaints from prisoners about the Scottish Prison Service are included in Scottish Government sector totals from 2010-11 onwards, From November 2011, we also began to take complaints from prisoners about health matters, Any such complaints are recorded for the relevant health board area and included in the health sector totals from 2011-12.
In 2011-12, the SPSO
Increase in upholds
Upheld complaints are those that were valid for us to investigate, and that we fully or partially upheld. The overall level of upheld complaints rose from 34% in 2010-11 to 39% in 2011-12. In the health sector – where we can look at clinical decisions as well as administrative processes – the level of upheld complaints rose from 45% to 56%. In the local government sector, it rose from 29% to 32%.
Fewer premature complaints
Premature complaints are those that we received too early (before the body concerned had a chance to respond to the complaint). The overall level of premature complaints we received fell from 51% in 2009-10 to 45% in 2010-11 and 43% in 2011-12. There are differences between sectors, but it is satisfying that the level of premature complaints about local government - the sector about which the SPSO receives most complaints - fell from 55% in 2010-11 to 52%.
The Ombudsman sends some authorities an annual letter about their complaint numbers. You can find information about this year's letters to health boards by clicking on this link and to local authorities by clicking on this link.
Due to the wrong recording of the outcome of one complaint, we revised the tables of complaints determined on 29 August 2012.
You can access more details about complaints received and resolved in other years since April 2004 by clicking on the links below:
"Too many authorities are getting complaints wrong first time, rather than right first time"
The Ombudsman’s key message from the 2010-11 annual statistics is to service providers about the quality of service provision and complaints handling procedures. Too many authorities are getting complaints wrong first time, rather than right first time. When making decisions on complaints in 2010-11, we upheld or partly upheld 34% of all the complaints that were valid for SPSO (i.e. cases that had completed the organisation’s complaints process and were within our jurisdiction). To put this another way, in over a third of cases that had already been investigated by the local service provider - through multiple, often lengthy stages of review and appeal - that provider got something wrong. This clearly demonstrates a need for change, and through our Complaints Standards Authority we are working with organisations in the various sectors under jurisdiction to simplify processes and improve complaints handling. It is not possible to make a direct comparison between this 2010-11 figure and figures for previous years. This is because we only began to record the outcomes of decisions (other than those in published investigation reports) in this way after Jim Martin, the current Ombudsman, took office in May 2009.
Please note that no details are available for 2003-04 or earlier.
Outcomes relate not just to the investigation reports we send to the Scottish Parliament, but to the full range of responses we make to the complaints we receive. We now record and publish the outcome of all the complaints we receive, to share the learning from our work as widely as possible and so improve the delivery of public services. To see explanations of the different outcomes, please see the Explanation of Terms section.
For more information about how an authority can make a request for us to investigate a complaint under 'Section 2(2)' of the Ombudsman Act, please click here.
Last updated 29 August 2012