A new Complaints Standards Authority has been launched to drive up standards of public services delivered by Welsh councils.
In a letter to Chief Executives of Local Authorities, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, outlined the role of a Complaints Standards Authority (CSA) as part of his office, established through Welsh Parliament legislation.
The aim of the CSA is to drive improvement in public services across Wales. The CSA’s task is to work with public bodies within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to:
Councils must now submit a copy of their complaint handling procedure within six months to the Ombudsman’s office, as well as information on their complaints performance every quarter.
The Authority, led by the Head of Complaints Standards, Matthew Harris, will actively monitor and publish complaints data for each local authority, and other public bodies, on its website. His team has been engaging widely with representatives of Wales councils and is providing extensive bespoke training to council staff on the new standards.
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, said: “The new legislation will allow my office to shine a spotlight on complaints data, and pinpoint those peaks and troughs of service delivery across Welsh local authorities.
“For the first time ever, common, open, transparent data will be available so we can tangibly analyse local authority performance, and then share best practice to drive up service delivery.
“Our new guidance aims to bring practices back into broad alignment – providing basic standards, a common language and a set of principles to underpin how complaints are handled throughout public services across the nation.”
Head of Complaints Standards, Matthew Harris, said: “We’ve visited all the Local Authorities in Wales to understand the challenges they face and to share some of our early findings. The Complaints Standards Authority will work with public bodies to improve access and visibility of complaints processes, provide free of charge training for complaint handlers, and share good practice from around Wales and beyond. Most importantly, we’ll support Public Services to use learning from complaints to ensure that all service users receive good outcomes, not just those who have the means or ability to complain.”
The Authority’s Statement of Principles, Model Complaint Handling Process, and Guidance are in full effect and can be found at: www.ombudsman.wales/complaints-standards-authority.
For further information please contact Matt Aplin, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07957 440846.