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Copies of the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer's Six Monthly Reports and the SPSO Responses

Prof Ben Paechter made this Freedom of Information request to Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

We're waiting for Prof Ben Paechter to read recent responses and update the status.

Prof Ben Paechter

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

Your governance policies and procedures which can be found here:

https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

State that:

"The ICCR [Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer] will produce a six-monthly report for the Senior Management Team and the Audit and Advisory Committee on any customer service complaints, identifying any areas for learning and improvement, and make recommendations for action. The Senior Management Team are required to respond to these recommendations and agree appropriate actions."

Please could you send me copies of the ICCR's six monthly reports for the last three years (6 reports) and the Senior Management Team's responses (6 responses)?

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
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If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
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Prof Ben Paechter

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

I am writing to confirm that on 5th May 2017 I received the following information from the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer which relates to this request:

------------------------
"Thank you for your recent emails.

"The requirement for the Independent Service Delivery Reviewer to provide reports to SPSO was in the
Invitation to Tender document (attached) published by SPSO in 2014. As you will see, this includes
requirements for a ”6 month summary of complaints handling” and also “a formal report about … work
on complaints in the previous year for inclusion in the SPSO’s Annual Report…. to include trends,
recurrent failures or weaknesses in the complaints procedure”. No specific content is prescribed. ICRS has
provided reports to SPSO each year (attached) which have been presented to the Advisory and Audit
Committee and published in SPSO’s annual reports as part of the section on Corporate Performance. As
far as I am aware the Advisory and Audit Committee has found these adequate.

"I hope that this information is helpful. I am copying this letter to SPSO for information."
------------------------------

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

show quoted sections

 

Prof Ben Paechter

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

I am writing to confirm that on 10th May 2017 I received the following information from the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer which relates to this request:

--------------------------

"As mentioned in SPSO's Annual Report, our report was presented to SPSO's Audit and Advisory Committee. SPSO's Annual Report also includes a (separate) section on Complaints about SPSO. I do not believe that we have received any other formal response to our report.

"As your correspondence asks specific questions about SPSO and its actions, it seems appropriate to copy SPSO into our replies.

"I hope that this information is helpful. I am copying this letter to SPSO for information."

------------------------------

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

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Prof Ben Paechter

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

I understand with respect to this FOI request that in fact the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer did not provide six monthly reports on any customer service complaints, identifying any areas for learning and improvement, and making recommendations for action, and the Senior Management Team did not to provide any formal response to the reports that the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer did produce. This would appear to be contrary to your published governance policy.

Following a telephone conversation with one of your FOI officers today I understand that the SPSO might decide to take the position that the policy on reporting by the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer and responses from the Senior Management Team (SMT) has changed and that you simply have the wrong version of the policies on your website.

It might be helpful if I clarify that the policy is included in the SPSO Scheme of Control which can be found here:

https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

The Scheme of Control has very clear the rules that must be followed if it is to be changed:

Governance
• The Scheme of Control cannot be amended without the recorded agreement of the Ombudsman.
• The External Auditors should be informed of any changes to the Scheme of Control.
• The Scheme of Control should be reviewed annually by the Audit and Advisory Committee under the authority of the Ombudsman.
• The Scheme of Control will be available to members of the general public if so requested under the Freedom of Information legislation.

It is possible that previous Ombudsman, Jim Martin, did authorise a change the Scheme of Control to:

• remove the need for six-monthly reports from the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer;
• remove the need to report on any customer service complaints and any areas of learning and improvement identified and replace this with a summary; and
• remove the requirement for the Senior Management Team to respond to these recommendations and agree appropriate actions

If Jim Martin did authorise such a change then please could you provide copies of Jim Martin’s written agreement to the changes and the notice informing the external auditors of the change? Please could you provide a copy of the Scheme of Control in force on the last day of Jim Martin’s tenure – 30th April 2017?

If in fact the Scheme of Control has not been changed, and if the SPSO has simply been operating outside of its own rules of governance, then I would hope that the SPSO would be completely open and transparent about this. I would also hope that the SPSO would rectify matters by returning to proper practice and required by the Scheme of Control. If the Scheme of Control has not been adhered to then please remediate this by providing a report detailing all of the complaints upheld or partly upheld by the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer, along with their recommendations and the Senior Management Team response to those recommendations including their agreed actions. This would be for any year that the Scheme of Control has not been followed.

Please note that the tender document for the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer also specifies six-monthly reports. It can be found here:

https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view...

I asked the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer about this matter. You will see that I received replies which appear to accept that the requirements of the tender document and governance polices have not been met, but which also indicate that the Audit and Advisory Committee appear content with this. No claim was made that the rules had actually changed.

This is likely to be the first significant Freedom of Information request that has been responded to by the SPSO since Rosemary Agnew moved on from being the Scottish Information Commissioner to being the Ombudsman. In her leaving message on the SIC website she says:

“I have never made it a secret about how much I enjoy being Commissioner, nor how committed I am to openness, transparency and access to information. None of that has changed and I take my transparency principles with me as I move on to become the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman on 1 May 2017.”

I have complete confidence in Rosemary Agnew’s commitment to openness and transparency. I very much hope that she takes this opportunity to embed her values within SPSO culture by ensuring complete openness and transparency in relation to this matter. I will draw Rosemary Agnew’s personal attention to this matter so that she can ensure that the matter is responded to appropriately.

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Professor Paechter

 

Please find attached my letter of today’s date.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Helen Littlemore

Corporate Information Governance Officer

Email: [1][email address]

 

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

4 Melville Street | Edinburgh | EH3 7NS

Tel: 0800 377 7330 | Fax: 0800 377 7331

Web: [2]http://www.spso.org.uk

 

 

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References

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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Professor Paechter

 

Please find attached my letter of today’s date.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Helen Littlemore

Corporate Information Governance Officer

Email: [1][email address]

 

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

4 Melville Street | Edinburgh | EH3 7NS

Tel: 0800 377 7330 | Fax: 0800 377 7331

Web: [2]http://www.spso.org.uk

 

 

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References

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Prof Ben Paechter

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

I note that since I submitted my request for the full six-monthly reports, and the Senior Management Team responses, the paragraph in the Scheme of Control has now been changed in the published policy document so that the report from the ICCR is now only required yearly and now only a summary report is required.

The policy is here (although by the time you click on it it may point to a different version):

https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

You can find the new wording and Rosemary Agnew’s signature on page 15.

I noticed that the date on Rosemary Agnew’s signature is 1st May 2017– the day that I made my request.

I am finding this difficult to understand, because the SPSO office was closed on 1st May 2017 and Rosemary Agnew told me that her first day in the office was 2nd May 2017.

The properties section of the new version of the policy document records that the document was created on 10th May 2017 and last changed on 15th May 2017.

Please could you explain all of this?

Please could you provide a copy of the communication to the external auditors informing them of the change to the policy – including the date that the communication was sent and the date that the external auditors were told the new policy came into force?

Please could you let me know the date that Rosemary Agnew actually signed the policy document which is on the website today, which contains Rosemary Agnew’s signature and the date “1st May 2017”?

Please could you provide a (permanent) copy of the policy as it is published on your website today, including Rosemary Agnew’s signature and the date “1st May 2017”?

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

show quoted sections

 

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

7 Attachments

Dear Professor Paechter

 

I refer to your email of 1 May 2017.  In your correspondence you ask for
‘copies of the ICCR's six monthly reports for the last three years (6
reports) and the Senior Management Team's responses (6 responses)’.  You
refer to an extract from the SPSO Scheme of Control, specifically, under
the section ‘Quality Assurance’ which states ‘The ICCR will produce a
six-monthly report for the Senior Management Team and the Audit and
Advisory Committee on any customer service complaints, identifying any
areas for learning and improvement, and make recommendations for action.
The Senior Management Team are required to respond to these
recommendations and agree appropriate actions.’

 

In your further contact with us you confirmed that you understood that the
ICCR did not provide six monthly reports on any customer service
complaints and that the Senior Management Team did not provide any formal
response to the reports that the ICCR did produce.  You informed us that
the ICCR confirmed to you on 5 May that:

 

‘The requirement for the Independent Service Delivery Reviewer to provide
reports to SPSO was in the Invitation to Tender document (attached)
published by SPSO in 2014. As you will see, this includes requirements for
a "6 month summary of complaints handling" and also "a formal report about
.work on complaints in the previous year for inclusion in the SPSO's
Annual Report to include trends, recurrent failures or weaknesses in the
complaints procedure". No specific content is prescribed. ICRS has
provided reports to SPSO each year (attached) which have been presented to
the Advisory and Audit Committee and published in SPSO's annual reports as
part of the section on Corporate Performance. As far as I am aware the
Advisory and Audit Committee has found these adequate.’

 

And that the ICCR confirmed to you on 10 May that:

‘As mentioned in SPSO's Annual Report, our report was presented to SPSO's
Audit and Advisory Committee. SPSO's Annual Report also includes a
(separate) section on Complaints about SPSO. I do not believe that we have
received any other formal response to our report.’

 

You further requested on 11 May that if the previous Ombudsman, Mr Jim
Martin, authorised a change to the SPSO Scheme of Control in respect of
the above, to be provided with copies of Mr Martin’s written agreement to
the changes and the notice informing the external auditors of the change?
You also asked for a copy of the SPSO Scheme of Control in force on the
last day of Mr Martin’s tenure – 30th April 2017.

 

If the Scheme of Control was not changed, you have asked for a report
detailing all of the complaints upheld or partly upheld by the ICCR, along
with their recommendations and the Senior Management Team response to
those recommendations including their agreed actions for any year that the
Scheme of Control has not been followed.

 

Finally, on 18 May you noted that the Scheme of Control on our website had
been updated.  You queried the date of the signature and asked for
confirmation of the actual signed date.  You  asked for a copy of the
communication to the external auditors informing them of the change to the
Scheme of Control – including the date that the communication was sent and
the date that the external auditors were told the new policy came into
force.  You also ask for a permanent copy of the Scheme of Control as it
is published on 18 May.

 

Your requests have been processed in line with the Freedom of Information
(Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), and I can now respond as follows.

 

It was informally agreed by the Ombudsman and the AAC to only receive
annual reports from the ICCR.  This is evidenced by paragraph 3 of the
minute of the AAC meeting on 3 July 2016, where the ‘Chair welcomed
Elizabeth Derrington to her annual appearance before the Committee.’  I
have provided a link to the minute below.  Thank you for highlighting the
text in the Scheme of Control, which has been updated to reflect this.  In
line with section 17 of the FOISA I can confirm that we do not hold Mr
Martin’s written agreement or notice to the external auditors.

[1]https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

 

The updated Scheme of Control was signed on 10 May 2017 and published on
our website on 15 May.  Thank you also for highlighting the date of
signature which, due to human error shows 1 May 2017 instead of 10 May
2017.  This will also be updated as soon as possible.  Please find
attached a copy as it was published on our website on 30 April 2017 and
also as published on 18 May 2017.

 

The following link is to published SPSO annual reports which include the
ISDR reports.

[2]https://www.spso.org.uk/annual-reports

 

Please find attached (or links to) the following ISDR reports.  I have
also provided links to minutes published on our website citing ISDR
attendance at meetings.

 

1.     2016/17 ICRS annual report (attached) (information redacted under
s26 FOISA)

 

2.     ICRS 3^rd meeting on 3 July 2016 as Attendee.  Welcomed for her
annual appearance by Chair. 

[3]https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

 

3.     2015/16 ICRS annual report (attached)

 

4.     ICRS 2^nd meeting on 24 November 2015 as Attendee to provide an
update on first year’s work.   

[4]https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

 

5.     2014/15 ICRS annual report (Dec 2014-March 2015) (included in SPSO
Annual Report 2014-15)

[5]https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

 

6.     ICRS 1^st meeting on 12 February 2015 as Observer. 

[6]https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

 

7.     2014/15 ISDR annual report (May 2014-Oct 2014) (included in SPSO
Annual Report 2014-15)

[7]https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

 

8.     2014/15 ISDR 6-month report (attached) (information redacted under
s26 FOISA)

 

9.     2013/14 ISDR annual report (included in SPSO Annual Report 2013-14)

[8]https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...

 

10.  2012/13 ISDR report of cases dealt with in 2012-13 and in the first
five months of 2013-14 (attached) (information redacted under s26 FOISA)

 

Finally, detailed information about customer service complaints is
available on our website at
[9]https://www.spso.org.uk/complaints-about... Here you will
find quarterly and annual SPSO reports to the SMT/AAC of organisational
learning from service delivery complaints, to include our response to
recommendations and actions taken.

 

I am required to advise you that where information is available on our
website we consider that it is exempt information under section 25 of the
FOISA (information otherwise accessible) as it can be reasonably obtained
by other means.  This is an absolute exemption which means there is no
requirement to apply the public interest test.  In light of our duty to
provide advice and assistance, I have provided links to the information on
our website.

 

I must also advise that I have redacted complaint information from three
documents in line with section 26(a) of the FOISA (prohibited by or under
an enactment).  Section 19 of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act
2002 specifically prohibits the Ombudsman from releasing information
obtained in respect of a complaint except for specified purposes. 
Disclosing information under the FOISA is not one of those purposes. This
is an absolute exemption.

 

Your Right to Request a Review and of Appeal

You have a right under FOISA, to request a review of any part of this
decision, or of the handling of your request, and of appeal to the
Scottish Information Commissioner if you remain dissatisfied.  Details
about requesting a review and appealing to the Commissioner are set out on
page 3 of the attached information leaflet ‘Your Information Rights &
SPSO’.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Helen Littlemore

Corporate Information Governance Officer

Email: [10][email address]

 

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

4 Melville Street | Edinburgh | EH3 7NS

Tel: 0800 377 7330 | Fax: 0800 377 7331

Web: [11]http://www.spso.org.uk

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References

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2. https://www.spso.org.uk/annual-reports
3. https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...
4. https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...
5. https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...
6. https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...
7. https://www.spso.org.uk/sites/spso/files...
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9. https://www.spso.org.uk/complaints-about...
10. mailto:[email address]
11. http://www.spso.org.uk/

Prof Ben Paechter

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Public Services Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'Copies of the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer's Six Monthly Reports and the SPSO Responses'.

I asked for a copy of the notice to the external auditor that the Scheme of Control had been changed, and the date on which this was sent . You replied telling me that you did not hold any notice from Jim Martin. However my request did not specify Jim Martin. The Scheme of Control requires notice of any change to be sent to the external auditor. You have told me that a change was made on 10th May by Rosemary Agnew but you have not responded to my request with respect to Rosemary Agnew.

Additionally, I asked for a report detailing the Senior Management Team response to each upheld or partly upheld complaint, and the actions taken as a result of the complaint. You have referred me to documentation on your website. I disagree that the documents you refer to contain all of the information that I requested.

In addition to reviewing my previous request, please could you also provide, for each upheld or partly upheld complaint, the date on which the complaint was upheld or partly upheld, and the date on which the agreed action was actually implemented.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Dear Professor Paechter

 

Your request for review

 

I refer to your email of 07 June 2017.  In your correspondence you ask for
a review of the handling of your information request and you also asked to
“provide, for each upheld or partly upheld complaint, the date on which
the complaint was upheld or partly upheld, and the date on which the
agreed action was actually implemented.“

 

Your requests for a review and for information will be considered and we
will respond to you promptly, but in any event no later than 04 July 2017.

 

If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact
us.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Elena Carrara

Team Assistant

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

4 Melville Street Edinburgh EH3 7NS

Phone: 0800 377 7330

Email: [1][email address]  

 

 

 

 

 

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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

3 Attachments

Link: [1]File-List

Dear Professor Paechter

 

Please find attached the review of your FOI request 201700679.

 

Regards

Fiona

Fiona Paterson | Corporate Services Manager and Senior Personal Assistant
to the Ombudsman | SPSO, 4 Melville Street, Edinburgh.  EH3 7NS | Tel:
[2]0800 377 7330 | [3]http://www.spso.org.uk/

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Prof Ben Paechter

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

Many thanks for your response.

I should perhaps make it clear that the purpose of my correspondence is to ensure that the SPSO is open and transparent about complaints that are upheld against it, and the actions taken (or not) to put things right. This is obviously in the best interest of the public and improving the service you provide, and would also keep the SPSO within its own governance rules.

There are some problems with your response and so I will now raise this matter with the Scottish Information Commissioner. However, in order that you can have an early chance to put things right I will list the matters in your response that I am not satisfied with. Please feel free to respond further before being contacted by the SIC.

1. You have continue to assert that the information that I requested is available on your website when it is not.
2. I asked for the details of each upheld or partially upheld complaint but you have not detailed this, you have simply cut and pasted text from the ICCR's letter. In many cases this does not actually explain what the complaint was about.
3. I asked for copies of the Senior Management Team response to each upheld or partially upheld complaint (as required by your governance arrangements) but you have not provided this.
4. I asked for details of the actions taken in response to each upheld or partially upheld complaint but you have not provided this - only a few words which do not give any detail.
5. You have grouped together complaints which were submitted at the same time. This makes it difficult to see exactly the actions taken in response to each complaint. In some cases this may mask the fact that no action was taken.
6. Not all of the information provided is accurate.

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Dear Prof Paecther,

 

I can confirm receipt of your e-mail and that we will respond in due
course.

 

Kind regards

 

Elena Carrara

Team Assistant

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

4 Melville Street Edinburgh EH3 7NS

Phone: 0800 377 7330

Email: [1][email address]  

 

 

 

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Prof Ben Paechter

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

Many thanks for your response. Please, where appropriate, treat my email as a request for review of your response to my request.

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Sent on behalf Niki Maclean, Director

 

Dear Professor Paechter

 

Your request of 7 June 2017 for a review of the information request you
submitted on 1 May 2017 expressed dissatisfaction with our assertion that
SMT responses to ICCR recommendations and actions taken was available on
our website.  Our review response of 4 July reiterated our position, and
additionally provided a report detailing the recommendations and actions
for each upheld/partly upheld complaint.  I note your comments that the
complaints are grouped together.  

 

It might be helpful to clarify that FOISA requires us to provide recorded
information that we hold, and I can confirm that the information in the
report is extracted directly from our complaints handling system as
recorded.  I note that you remain dissatisfied with our response on this,
and that you will be appealing to the Scottish Information Commissioner
(SIC).  Our position remains the same and we will await contact from the
SIC.

 

In your email of 21 July, you express dissatisfaction that we have not
provided details on what the complaints were about.  This was not raised
as part of your previous review request, so we will respond to this as a
new request for review by 17 August. 

 

Finally, you have stated that not all information is accurate.  It is
difficult to comment further in this respect without additional
clarification from you about what information you consider to be
inaccurate.  I would ask that you provide further details to allow us to
consider this further. 

 

Regards

 

Niki Maclean

Director

 

 

 

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Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Sent on behalf Niki Maclean, Director

 

Dear Professor Paechter

 

I refer to your emails of 21 and 26 July 2017.  In your correspondence you
ask for a review of our response to your request for information and I can
now respond as follows.

 

On 11 May you asked for a report detailing all of the complaints upheld or
partly upheld by the ICCR, along with their recommendations and the Senior
Management Team response to those recommendations, including their agreed
actions for any year that the Scheme of Control has not been followed.  In
response to your request we referred you to the ICCR reports and our
quarterly and annual reports of organisational learning from service
delivery complaints. 

 

In respect of the Senior Management Team responses and actions taken, in
my review response of 4 July we also produced a report from our complaints
handling system detailing upheld/partially upheld stage 3 (ICCR) customer
service complaints from 1 March 2010.  However, in your email of 21 July,
you now express dissatisfaction that we have not provided details on what
the complaints were about.  

 

As noted in my review response of 4 July, it remains my understanding that
the ICCR reports and our quarterly and annual reports of organisational
learning from service delivery complaints contain the details about the
upheld/partially upheld stage 3 (ICCR) complaints.  However, I have
attached a further updated report from our complaints handling system
detailing all upheld/partially upheld stage 3 (ICCR) customer service
complaints from March 2010, to include additional detail on what the
complaints were about.  In line with section 17 of the FOISA, we have
indicated in the report where information is not held. 

 

Finally, in respect of your comments about the information provided not
being accurate, without further clarification from you on this point I
would note that the FOISA gives you the right to access recorded
information held by us.  It does not require us to create, justify or
change information that is held.  

 

Your Right of Appeal

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of any review carried out by the
SPSO following your request for information, you have a right under the
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 to appeal to the Scottish
Information Commissioner.  Details about appealing to the Commissioner are
set out on page 3 of the attached information leaflet ‘Your Information
Rights & SPSO’.  Following an investigation by the Commissioner, you have
a right (on a point of law) of appeal to the Court of Session.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Niki Maclean

Director

 

 

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

2 Attachments

Attachments included.

 

From: Paterson F (Fiona) (SPSO)
Sent: 16 August 2017 19:32
To: [FOI #404236 email]
Cc: SPSO_InfoRequests ([email address])
<[email address]>
Subject: FW: Internal review of Freedom of Information request

 

Sent on behalf Niki Maclean, Director

 

Dear Professor Paechter

 

I refer to your emails of 21 and 26 July 2017.  In your correspondence you
ask for a review of our response to your request for information and I can
now respond as follows.

 

On 11 May you asked for a report detailing all of the complaints upheld or
partly upheld by the ICCR, along with their recommendations and the Senior
Management Team response to those recommendations, including their agreed
actions for any year that the Scheme of Control has not been followed.  In
response to your request we referred you to the ICCR reports and our
quarterly and annual reports of organisational learning from service
delivery complaints. 

 

In respect of the Senior Management Team responses and actions taken, in
my review response of 4 July we also produced a report from our complaints
handling system detailing upheld/partially upheld stage 3 (ICCR) customer
service complaints from 1 March 2010.  However, in your email of 21 July,
you now express dissatisfaction that we have not provided details on what
the complaints were about.  

 

As noted in my review response of 4 July, it remains my understanding that
the ICCR reports and our quarterly and annual reports of organisational
learning from service delivery complaints contain the details about the
upheld/partially upheld stage 3 (ICCR) complaints.  However, I have
attached a further updated report from our complaints handling system
detailing all upheld/partially upheld stage 3 (ICCR) customer service
complaints from March 2010, to include additional detail on what the
complaints were about.  In line with section 17 of the FOISA, we have
indicated in the report where information is not held. 

 

Finally, in respect of your comments about the information provided not
being accurate, without further clarification from you on this point I
would note that the FOISA gives you the right to access recorded
information held by us.  It does not require us to create, justify or
change information that is held.  

 

Your Right of Appeal

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of any review carried out by the
SPSO following your request for information, you have a right under the
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 to appeal to the Scottish
Information Commissioner.  Details about appealing to the Commissioner are
set out on page 3 of the attached information leaflet ‘Your Information
Rights & SPSO’.  Following an investigation by the Commissioner, you have
a right (on a point of law) of appeal to the Court of Session.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Niki Maclean

Director

 

 

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Public Services Ombudsman's handling of my FOI request 'Copies of the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer&#39;s Six Monthly Reports and the SPSO Responses'.

I should perhaps make it clear that the reason for my requests it that I believe that all public oganisations should publish details on the service delivery complaints that are upheld or partially upheld (suitably anonymised), along with the management response to the complaints and the action taken to improve the service.

When I met with Rosemary Agnew she appear to share this view that openness and transparency about complaints upheld was essential in public bodies. This fitted with what she said when she left the role of Scottish Information Commisioner:

“I have never made it a secret about how much I enjoy being Commissioner, nor how committed I am to openness, transparency and access to information. None of that has changed and I take my transparency principles with me as I move on to become the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman on 1 May 2017.”

I note that you have said:

"In your email of 21 July, you express dissatisfaction that we have not
provided details on what the complaints were about. This was not raised
as part of your previous review request"

My request was:

"If the Scheme of Control has not been adhered to then please remediate this by providing a report detailing all of the complaints upheld or partly upheld by the Independent Customer Complaints Reviewer, along with their recommendations and the Senior Management Team response to those recommendations including their agreed actions. This would be for any year that the Scheme of Control has not been followed."

It is clear to me that a request for a report "detailing all of the complaints" would include information about what the complaint was about. We can wait for the Information Commissioner's view of this, but it seems clear that you have got this wrong and an apology would be appropriate.

I hope you will agree that it is clear that the Scheme of Control was not adhered to.

I note that your latest report still does not detail what the complaints were about. Information has been cut and pasted from decision letters, but these are summaries where the detail has been given elsewhere and in many cases it is difficult to understand the detail of what the complaint was about. I believe that you hold further information about what the complaints were about and request that you conduct a further review to ensure that all of the information about what complaint were about has been made available.

I note that you have still not provided the Senior Management Team response to each complaint as required by your governance arrangements (a SMT response would include more than simply a few words noting an outcome). I believe that you hold further information about the management response to some complaints.

I note that in your latest report you have continued to group complaints together so that it is impossible to see what actions and responses were in relation to which complaints - an whether any action at all was taken in reponse to certain complaints.

Regarding the accuracy of the report, I have provided information to your office by telephone.

I note that you have not address all of the points in my message of 21st July 2017.

It is currently my intention to ask the Scottish Information Commissioner to look at these issues, but in wanted to give the SPSO a further opportunity to out things right, apologise and provide all of the information requested.

Please conduct a review, or further review, as appropriate, of your earlier responses.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

 

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Dear Professor Paechter

 

Your request for review

 

I refer to your request for review of 11 September 2017.  In your
correspondence you ask for a review of the handling of your information
request IR 201700679.

 

I have passed your request for a review to Niki Maclean, Director, who
will consider it and respond to you promptly, but in any event no later
than 09 October 2017.

 

If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact
us.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Elena Carrara

Team Assistant

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

4 Melville Street Edinburgh EH3 7NS

Phone: 0800 377 7330

Email: [1][email address]  

 

 

 

References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Dear Scottish Public Services Ombudsman,

I note that in separate corrspondence you have told me that your system does not allow SPSO staff to record that action was taken but no apology given, and that this is the reason for the report you published containing inaccurate information that apologies were given when they were not.

You have also told me that:
"FOISA does not require us to create, justify or change information that is held, but rather provides access to recorded information that is held."

It is disappointing that the SPSO appears content to publish information which it knows is inaccurate on the grounds that the law does not insist that the information published is accurate.

It is clear that the SPSO is aware of a system deficiency that leads to inaccurate information about apologies being held in one part of your records. It is also clear that the SPSO does hold accurate information about whether an apology was given or not. It would seem reasonable therefore that the summary of complaints and outcomes that you have published in response to my request contains the correct information that you hold rather than the incorrect information.

I would therefore be grateful if you could check each line of the summary infomation on upheld complaints that you have published and replace any incorrect infomation with the correct information that you hold. Please regard this as a request that you review your previous responses.

Additionally, I would reiterate that the documents published on your website to not detail the actions taken as a result of all upheld or partly upheld complaints.

Yours faithfully,

Prof Ben Paechter

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

This is an automated receipt from SPSO to let you know that we have
received your email. Please do not reply to this.

 

If you have emailed a new complaint, we will register it and acknowledge
it in writing within three working days. We provide you with a reference
number which should be used in any future correspondence with us.

 

If your email was not a new complaint, it will be forwarded to the
appropriate colleague who will reply to you in due course.

 

If we have been copied into this email, we will not respond or take action
on this matter.

 

 

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

1 Attachment

Dear Professor Paechter

 

Your request for review

 

I refer to your email of 11 September 2017.  In your correspondence you
ask for a review of our handling of your request for information.

 

Your request for review has been passed to me to consider and I can now
respond as follows.

 

You have asked us to conduct a review as you do not consider that we have
provided the information you requested on 11 May 2017, specifically, the
details of what the complaints upheld or partly upheld by the ICCR were
about. 

 

I can confirm that we have already carried out a review of this aspect of
our handling of your request (I refer to my review response of 16 August)
in reply to your email of 21 July in which you expressed dissatisfaction
that we had not provided details on what the complaints were about. 
Therefore, you now have right to appeal to the Scottish Information
Commissioner who enforces the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

 

You have also expressed dissatisfaction with our response to your request
of 11 May for the Senior Management Team response to each complaint, as
you do not consider we have provided all of the information.  I am again
able to confirm that we have already reviewed this aspect of our handling
of your request (I refer to my review response of 4 July) in reply to your
review request of 7 June in which you disagreed that we had provided all
of the information you requested.  You, therefore, also now have the right
to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

 

In addition, you have expressed dissatisfaction with how the information
is set out in the additional report that was provided to you.  As
previously stated in my review responses, it remains my understanding that
the ICCR reports and our quarterly and annual reports of organisational
learning from service delivery complaints contain the requested details
about the upheld/partially upheld stage 3 (ICCR) complaints.  However, we
provided a further report containing information taken directly from our
complaints handling system.  I would comment again here that the FOISA
provides access to recorded information that is held, it does not require
us to create or change information that is held. 

 

You also say in your letter that we were incorrect in stating that you had
not raised your dissatisfaction that we had not provided details on what
the complaints were about  as part of your first review request 7 June and
we should apologise for this error.

 

I would note that your first review request of 7 June stated
‘Additionally, I asked for a report detailing the Senior Management Team
response to each upheld or partly upheld complaint, and the actions taken
as a result of the complaint. You have referred me to documentation on
your website. I disagree that the documents you refer to contain all of
the information that I requested.’  It therefore remains our position that
your dissatisfaction that we had not provided details on what the
complaints were about was not raised as part of your first review request
of 7 June. 

 

We have responded to you separately on the matter of accuracy.

 

Finally, I would be grateful if you could detail which aspects of the
review request of 21 July you consider have not been responded to. 

 

I have again attached our Information Rights leaflet, which provides
details about appealing to the Scottish Information Commissioner. 
Following an investigation by the Commissioner, you have a right (on a
point of law) of appeal to the Court of Session.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Niki Maclean

Director

 

Phone:                 0800 377 7330

Email:                    [1][email address]

 

References

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1. mailto:[email address]

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