Today Rosemary Agnew, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, laid her Strategic Plan for 2020-2024 before the Scottish Parliament, as required by section 17A of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002.
In it the Ombudsman sets out her vision for the delivery of the SPSO’s functions under the strategic themes of accessibility, access to justice, capacity and standards.
She said: “In delivering our strategy, we are adding value by contributing to Scottish public services improvement and providing access to justice for users of those services. We understand both the complexity of our business and the challenges and risks SPSO and Scottish public services face over the coming years”.
Rosemary Agnew acknowledged the additional challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents to the SPSO and Scottish public services, highlighting that the longer-term impact is likely to span years rather than months.
The key strategic risk to the SPSO is capacity, in particular the adequacy of resources and impact of the unpredictability of work volumes. Irrespective of the impact of COVID-19, SPSO already struggles to deliver its functions within published timescales, and this is likely to worsen.
“Any increase in volume is, effectively, a cut in resources, and unless we can maintain our capacity, we face the prospect of having to make difficult decisions about the extent to which we deliver our statutory functions, which in turn could undermine trust and confidence, both in us and Scottish public services.”
“We are a great team; dedicated and committed, driven by deep-rooted values of being people centred, fair, independent, and learning and improvement.”