UK | SPSO presents Annual Report 2018-2019

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) has just published its Annual Report for the period 2018-2019.

The report highlights the office’s achievements in what according to Ombudsman Rosemary Agnew was “both a challenging and an exciting year.” She said that despite increasing caseloads (both complaints and Scottish Welfare Fund review applications) the SPSO continues to perform to an excellent standard, maintaining a consistently high level and quality of output.

The 2018-19 highlights include:

  • 4,188 complaint handled and 3,955 complaints determined
  • 800 Scottish Welfare Fund review applications handled
  • a rise of 16% in cases requiring investigation
  • 58% uphold rate with 1,160 recommendations made for learning and improvement
  • a review of the Model Complaints Handling Procedure
  • a change in the way we issue complaint decisions
  • introduction of the Support and Intervention Policy
  • our next steps in preparing for the launch of the Independent National Whistleblowing Officer

Detailed statistical information about complaints is available here:

In addition to casework, the SPSO continues to add value and have an impact through complaints,


  • providing redress for people who bring complaints to us (the SPSO publishes reports and summaries monthly here:
  • responding to consultations that impact on SPSO, public bodies, complaint handling and access to justice
  • appearing before two separate Scottish parliamentary committees, giving evidence to contribute to improvements in legislation
  • supporting organisations under our jurisdiction to learn from complaints
  • supporting organisations under our jurisdiction to improve and develop their own complaint handling. This included delivering 37 training courses, developing e-learning resources and facilitating a good practice workshops at various external events.

The SPSO has made a significant change in February 2019 as the institution has introduced ‘provisional decisions’. According to Mrs. Agnew, this had significant impact. “It has extended the time taken to conclude an investigation, as it is an additional step. However, we think this is more than compensated for, because it brings the benefits of greater transparency of decision-making”, Ombudsman Agnew said.

Finally, Ombudsman Rosemary Agnew also mentioned the upcoming implementation of the Independent National Whistleblowing Officer (INWO) role for the NHS in Scotland, which is going to be take place in July 2020.


Source: Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, United Kingdom

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