Our performance and improvement
Our work recognised
In December 2021, our work over several years on process improvement was recognised when we won the Project and Programme Management Award at the Scottish Public Service Awards. The judges praised our entry on the theme of Delivering results – agile improvement in action, commending our approach and the impact it has had on delivery.
We continued to closely monitor timescales in the complaint process. The overall timescales went down and we updated our public estimated timescale for all stages from 11 months to 9.5 months. Statutory restrictions in our process extend this, and we have highlighted the impact of these as part of discussions on new legislation to demonstrate where we could make further improvement, if the system were to be reformed.
We also trialled simultaneous investigations with the Law Society of Scotland for hybrid complaints so that both bodies investigate at the same time. This has only been practical since we moved to digital investigation files. There is a huge potential benefit to those involved in the complaints process, as they don’t need to wait for one organisation to finish to start the next investigation.
We reviewed, updated and extended our quality framework, as well as increasing our reporting to Board on quality indicators. The framework covers how we induct and train our team, and how we monitor areas such as process compliance, quality of investigation and reasoning, and clarity of drafting.
Failures to respond
We are still having problems with some solicitors not co-operating with our investigations. This includes not providing information and not providing their file when we make a statutory request for it because we need it to consider a complaint. We’ve highlighted this continuing issue over several years, but it is now the single biggest delay in our investigation times. This year, as well as taking all possible action to encourage compliance, we took the unprecedented step of raising legal actions in the court of session to obtain files. We will continue to do this as long as is necessary to be able to deliver our statutory duties.