2020-21 was a challenging year for the SPSO. On the one hand, SPSO’s investigative capacity was affected because of its own reduced staffing resource, reduced availability of some clinical advisers and because of delays in obtaining information from public bodies who themselves were struggling to maintain services. On the other hand, the Office adapted and accelerated the improvement of its processes and policies. While lockdown presented the SPSO with significant challenges, it equally offered opportunities to develop its business and approach.
Ombudsman Rosemary Agnew said: "To say 2020-21 was a challenging year is an understatement. Looking forward, we continue to learn from our experience and to build on the positive learning and improvements, as well as mitigate the negative. Our values remain at the heart of what we do and inform how we balance the needs of our users, with supporting colleagues, driving complaint handling improvements and being as efficient and effective as we can."
Amongst all of this, the SPSO prepared for the launch of its new Independent National Whistleblowing Officer role (which went live on 1 April 2021), including working with NHS boards on the implementation of the National Whistleblowing Standards, developing training materials and resources as well as defining our own processes.
This SPSO’s Annual Report 2020-21 features the office’s performance across all its functions and the most significant achievements during 2020-21. Some highlights include:
- 3,130 public service complaints were received (4,226 in total when including complaints carried over from last year) and 3,176 closed;
- of all investigated public service complaints 61% were upheld;
- 740 recommendations were made to public bodies;
- a new online training courses was launched and 11 complaints handling courses delivered in just the last quarter of the year alone.
The full Annual Report and accounts is available to read on the SPSO’s Website.
Source: Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO), UK