We have laid our Annual Report for the year 2022-23 before the Scottish Parliament.
- 3,527 public service complaints received and 3,829 closed
- 66% of public service complaint investigations upheld
- 350 recommendations made to public bodies, 52% relating to learning and improvement
- 1,142 Scottish Welfare Fund reviews handled. This includes the highest number of Crisis Grant and Community Care Grant reviews since the service was launched in 2016
- 125 whistleblowing cases received and the successful launch of our awareness raising campaign 'Speak Up Week'
- reaccreditation for Investors in People Gold status
Rosemary Agnew, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, said:
We started the year with 677 cases awaiting allocation, some of which were taking up to 11 months to pass to a complaints reviewer. That was not the only impact of the pandemic. Our Scottish Welfare Fund Reviewers had high caseloads because of the introduction of the Self-Isolation Support Grant, and the age profile of our open caseload was worryingly old.
Compare that to the end of the year. We had just had notification that we had achieved IIP Gold standard reaccreditation, unallocated cases had fallen to 298 and the waiting time for allocation had been reduced to five months (it has continued to fall). This was not all we did to address backlogs, we had also been allocating priority cases (which were not held in the unallocated cases pool), maintaining a steady reduction in the age of open cases, and had recovered our pre-pandemic performance in the handling of SWF review applications.
We are starting 2023—24 positively and with optimism. We recognise we still have much to do... that there are significant risks facing us, particularly in relation to resources and complaint volumes, and cyber security. We also recognise that our operating environment is going through constant change, and we need to be agile in our approach to meet the challenges.