Earlier this year we commissioned an independent panel to carry out a peer review assessment of our value for money, led by Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman for the Republic of Ireland and President of the International Ombudsman Institute.
The panel has now published their report which concluded that following our organisational reforms and the service we offer beyond investigating complaints, we offer good value for money for taxpayers.
Our wider impact
Although complaint handling is our core business, the panel recognised that we also make a significant contribution to improving public services. Our insight reports have been highly influential in this regard, highlighting issues we have seen in our casework.
For example our eating disorders insight report, Ignoring the alarms, prompted NHS England to set up a task group to implement our recommendations. We also provide an advisory and signposting service for thousands of people each year, helping them to navigate the complex complaints system.
The panel was particularly impressed with the clear direction provided by the senior leadership team, our openness to feedback from people that have used our service and our sector leadership in staff training and development.
They also commended our commitment to measuring performance against our Service Charter using complainant feedback, part of our modernisation which started before my tenure.
However, we still have work to do, particularly in IT, which we are addressing through our new ICT and digital strategy.
The potential to do more
I have written before about the restrictive legislation that prevents us from investigating issues outside of the complaints we receive. Having ‘own initiative’ powers would allow us to respond to early warning signs, investigate cases from whistleblowers and give a voice to those who are less likely to complain.
This is common practice for ombudsmen internationally and the panel recommended that we are given this power so that we can provide justice for more people.
Committed to ongoing improvement
Our strong leadership and new ways of working have put us on the right footing to becoming an exemplary Ombudsman service. Ongoing improvement is one of our organisational principles and we will continue to listen to feedback from the people who use our service, our strategic partners and fellow ombudsmen.
Download the Value for Money Study (PDF 683KB).