Which? response to Public Administration Select Committee report ‘Time for a People’s Ombudsman Service’

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“People often don’t speak up when things go wrong in public services because they don’t think anything will change, but feedback is vital to help improve services. When complaints are unresolved it’s even more important there is an effective and proactive ombudsman to give people confidence that complaints do count.

“We’ve been calling for a unified public services ombudsman to act as a one stop shop and deal swiftly with issues raised. We hope the Government now acts on these proposals and makes it easier for people to voice their concerns, which will help prevent the same things happening again.”

Background

1. Our ‘Make complaints count’ campaign is calling on the Government to pledge to be the champion of patients, parents and all users of public services by committing to:

  • Giving people a role in triggering inspections by regulators through their complaints

  • Giving people a unified public services ombudsman which can swiftly deal with their unresolved complaints

  • Giving people a voice by allowing representative groups to make super-complaints in our public services, as they do in private markets

People can support the campaign at www.which.co.uk/publicservices

2. Previous Which? research has found:

  • 34% of people who have experienced a problem with public services in the past year didn’t complain

  • 39% didn’t complain because they didn’t think it would be worth the effort

  • 32% didn’t complain because they didn’t think anything would be done

  • 75% would be more likely to complain if they knew it would result in direct action

  • 79% would be more likely to complain if they knew it would make a difference to other people’s experience

Methodology: Populus, on behalf of Which?, conducted an online survey of 4,132 UK adults between 19th and 23rd February 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all UK adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by their rules.

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