Press Notice 25, Session 2007-08

24 March 2008

PASC CALLS FOR ONE STOP SHOP TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT PUBLIC SERVICES

In a report released today, Monday 24 March 2008, the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) calls on the Government to make it easier for people to complain when they have been poorly treated by government organisations.

The Committee says that complaints processes should be easily accessible to all. It urges the Government to explore providing a single point of contact for impartial information about complaints to Government and public services-“Public Services Direct”. This service would act as a “one stop shop” for complaints about public services.

In the Committee’s view complaints should be handled effectively at the earliest possible point, not least because this is cheaper for all concerned. The Committee says there appears to be a systemic problem with first-tier complaint handling by government organisations and is “disturbed” that so many complaint reviewers described a poor standard of complaint handling.

Complaints are a very useful form of feedback to improve public services. The Committee suggests that government organisations should be more systematic in how they monitor and use information from complaints. At a minimum the management boards of all departments and agencies with a customer-facing role should consider trends in complaints annually. They further recommend that government organisations should be made to declare regularly how many complaints they receive and how these are dealt with.

Chairman of the Committee Tony Wright MP said: “When citizens complain, they want their concerns taken seriously and matters put right. People also need to be given the necessary help and support to make their complaint in the first place. ‘Public Services Direct’ would provide a one stop shop for the information that citizens need.”

He also said: “Complaints provide valuable feedback on how public services are running. Government bodies should be using the information they get from monitoring complaints in a much more systematic way to improve how services are delivered. It is extraordinary that there are departments and agencies that seem not to be monitoring or learning from the complaints they receive. ” /ENDS

Notes:

  1. For all media inquiries please contact Jessica Bridges Palmer on 0201 219 0724
  2. This report is the first of a series arising out of the Committee’s inquiry into Public Services: Putting People First. Other reports relating to this inquiry will be on user involvement in public services, and public services after the Citizen’s Charter.
  3. The full report will be available on the Committee’s website at www.parliament.uk/pasc


FURTHER INFORMATION:

Committee Membership: Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Paul Rowen (Lib Dem) (Rochdale), Charles Walker (Con) (Broxbourne), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)

Media Enquiries: Jessica Bridges-Palmer, 020 72190724, [email protected]

Specific Committee Information: Email: [email protected] Tel: 020 7219 3284

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/pasc

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:  www.parliamentlive.tv 

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk