The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has today published its report following our 2020-21 scrutiny session.
Like many organisations, we have not been immune to the impact of the pandemic. The Committee has acknowledged that the strain placed on the NHS also had consequences for the length of time we take to process complaints.
Our work to develop and introduce the NHS complaint standards over the past year will support organisations to provide quicker, simpler, and more streamlined complaint-handling services. Alongside the improvements we continue to make to our service, this will help us to tackle the backlog which resulted from the pandemic and to improve the time a complainant waits for a decision.
We are committed to addressing these issues as we continue our journey to become a leading Ombudsman service, notwithstanding the fact that demand for our service is now significantly above pre-pandemic levels.
The Committee's report highlights several other positive changes we made last year that we are proud of, including:
- our achievements in building international partnerships
- the way we have improved data reporting
- increased staff engagement
- our continuing journey to improve staff training.
Our new Strategic plan (2022 to 2025) continues this transformation. It gives prominence to the harnessing of data and technology to increase transparency and maximise the impact of lessons learned. We are committed to ensuring the public has a greater understanding of the way we make decisions and to making our service available to and inclusive of people from all backgrounds.
We welcome the Committee's call for legislative reform of PHSO. We believe this is vital in delivering improved public services and will bring us in line with international best practice. We will provide a full response to the Committee's report in due course.