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In 2015-16, we saw some reduction in overall caseload but an increase in the complexity of cases.  We saw a 9% increase in NHS complaints that were ready for us to investigate.  Health cases are more complex because they often consist of multiple issues and may need specialist advice.  This complexity increases SPSO staff handling time and also puts pressure on our resources because of the direct costs of sourcing that professional advice.

We received 5,358 complaints and enquiries, compared to 5,667 in the previous year, a decrease of 5% in overall contact.

We handled 4,636 complaints, 3% less than last year.

The overall rate of upheld complaints investigated rose from 50% to 54%.

We made 1,524 recommendations for redress and improvements to public services, 6% more than last year.

The proportion of complaints that reached us before completing the authority’s procedure (premature complaints) dropped again, from 34% to 31%.

2015-16 annual letters

The Ombudsman sends some authorities an annual letter about their complaint numbers.
This year the Ombudsman is asking organisations to confirm to him that the learning from SPSO complaints has been discussed at a senior level by signing and returning a learning and improvement statement. The aim is to ensure that lessons are being learned and mistakes are not repeated.

Ombudsman's letter and learning and improvement statement (PDF, 216KB).

Higher Education

This year the Ombudsman also sent letters to Universities to advise them of their complaint numbers and to request a signed learning and improvement statement.

Higher Education Annual Letter (228KB)

Updated: March 17, 2021