We publish Welsh Health Board and Trust complaints data for the first time.
We are also publishing the most recent data on the complaints handled by Welsh Local Authorities.
The statistics published today relate to the first half of this financial year (April to September 2022).
The data shows that between April and September 2022 Welsh Health Boards and Trusts received over 10,500 complaints. This is the equivalent of 6.84 complaints for every 1,000 residents of Wales.* (We use this type of representation to better compare public services in Wales which vary greatly in size).
The data collected by us shows that 28% of complaints recorded by Health Boards and Trusts were about clinical treatment or assessment, 18% were about appointments, and 17% were about communication issues.
Welsh Health Boards and Trusts closed just over 9,700 complaints within the relevant period – 76% within the target of 30 working days.
When people are unhappy with how service providers considered their complaints, they can refer those complaints to us. Therefore, the volume of complaints handled by Welsh Health Boards and Trusts gives context to our caseload as well.
Between April and September 2022, we received just under 500 complaints related to Welsh Health Boards and Trusts. This means that about 5% of all complaints that Health Boards and Trust closed within the relevant period were referred to us.
Within the same period, we closed 413 complaints about Health Boards and Trusts (some of which would have been referred to the office before April 2022).
We found that something has gone wrong and intervened in 28% of those cases, by recommending Early Resolution**, or settling or upholding a complaint after an investigation. This is broadly consistent with our intervention rate into complaints about Health Boards and Trusts during the previous financial year.
Welsh Local Authorities
We are also publishing today the most recent information about Local Authority complaints. During the first half of 2022/23, Local Authorities in Wales logged more than 7,500 complaints. This equates to 4.92 complaints for every 1,000 residents.
31% of complaints recorded by Local Authorities were about waste and refuse – a theme continuing from previous years – 16% were about housing, and 13% were about social services.
Similar to the Welsh Health Boards and Trusts, Local Authorities handled about 76% of complaints within the target time – although Local Authorities use a shorter target of 20 working days. This performance is similar to previous years.
Local Authorities upheld around 40% of all complaints, broadly the same as last year.
Within the same period, we received 508 new complaints about Local Authorities.
The office also closed 548 such complaints (some of which would have been referred to the office during the previous financial year). We intervened in 12% of those cases, by recommending Early Resolution**, or settling or upholding a complaint after an investigation.
“I’m pleased to publish complaints data from Welsh Health Boards and Trusts for the first time. Visibility of this information helps public bodies improve the way they deliver services, promotes transparency, and it shows the level of service they provide to the general public. We’ve been publishing data on Local Authorities for more than 12 months, and we hope this next step shows some of the value of our Complaints Standards Authority.”
“I’m delighted that we’re able to publish this data for the first time today. We’ve been working with public bodies since 2019 to help them feel confident in the way they handle complaints. Data always has to be the start of the story, and this publication gives us new and improved ways to describe performance”
*This figure is adjusted to allow comparison with full year figures
** In some cases, we may take the view that there is action that the organisation being complained about could take quickly to resolve a complaint. In these cases, we will contact the organisation involved to explain what we think might be done and seek its agreement to take that forward.
Briefing paper: Complaints handled by Welsh Local Authorities and Welsh Health Boards and Trusts – April to September 2022
The data for the first and second quarter of 2022 is presented below.
Our Complaints Standards Data reports show complaints information for public bodies, and PSOW, during the financial year. The reports are updated twice a year. Complaints Standards data is data that can be used and shared by anyone for any purpose. We make this data publicly available under the Open Government Licence to provide transparency about public sector complaints we receive, and those dealt with by public bodies in the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.
In publishing this information we have taken steps to ensure that it is not possible to identify any individual.
You can view more data on PSOW cases via our Open Data page – Open Data, and through our annual report.