Festive Period: Our office will be closed from Thursday 23rd December 2021 at 5 pm until Tuesday 4th January 2022 at 9 am (inclusive). You will still be able to submit enquiries and applications during this period to our contact mailbox: contact@scoaf.org.uk. But, they won’t be actioned until we re-open in the New Year.

Phone line: We are currently operating a voicemail call back service on our contact telephone number 0300 369 0689. All messages received are collected by our Enquiries Team, Monday to Friday, 9:00 am until 16:30 pm. Please leave a voicemail, with your name, phone number, email address (if possible), and enquiryWe aim to respond to all messages within 2 working days. Any messages received to our voicemail on Friday afternoon will be retrieved on Monday, after the weekend. 

Our new Strategic Objectives

In my last blog, I reflected on my first few months in post. Now, three months on, it is time to look forward – at what my plans are for SCOAF over this business year, and my tenure as a whole. It is an exciting time for SCOAF, as we look to the future and consider all the opportunities for change and improvement that are open to us.

On taking this role, one thing I was particularly aware of was the fact that coming in as the new ombudsman, with new ideas and a different style of working has the potential to be challenging for everyone. Change is never easy, and it is vital that everyone in the organisation feels engaged and on board with any plans for the future.

I was really pleased to be able to run an open workshop for all SCOAF staff to gain their insights, and gather ideas of where the focus should be. The new strategic plan has been developed in consultation with my staff, drawing on their experiences and insights, to shape the way SCOAF will address my key priorities over the next five years.

Our three strategic objectives image

The strategy: 2021-2025

Full details of the plan and the new Strategic Objectives can be found in this year’s SCOAF Business Plan 2021-2022 (337 KB) , but I thought I would use this opportunity to sum up the key things that SCOAF will be focusing on in coming years:

  • SO1 – Improve organisational performance to ensure SCOAF operates in a way that is efficient, effective and fair. This is my key focus, and it is about ensuring that SCOAF is delivering and operating well – so that people can have faith in our role within the system. This involves holding ourselves to the same standards we use to report on the Service Complaint system, and focusing efforts where they are needed to make key operational improvements.
  • SO2 – Increase confidence in the service complaints system by sharing knowledge and insight, and driving awareness and visibility of the Ombudsman. This is bout doing more to share trends, learning and insight in order that improvement to the Service Complaints system as a whole can be made, along with ensuring that Service personnel are aware of SCOAF and the services provided.  We need to be able to share this information in a way that is accessible and useful to the services, and can be used to make real time improvements.
  • SO3 – Identify and drive forward systemic change through [continued] engagement with wider stakeholders. SCOAF must ensure it is correctly positioned to be able to drive systemic change through focused engagement. By ensuring our voice is heard in the right places, we will be in a better position to improve the system. This speaks to wider service complaint reform, and ensuring that we are involved and engaged in discussions around what the system could or should look like, and that we are positioned in such a way as to be able to have a positive influence.

Business plan 2021-22

These wider objectives are supported by a suite of specific activities for the 2021-22 business year. The main priorities for this year are to:

  • Improve operational performance
  • Ensure the consistency and quality of decisions made
  • Improve staff engagement and focus on staff development
  • Deliver an improved outreach programme, with greater interaction with Service personnel of all ranks
  • Work collaboratively with key stakeholders, while sharing best practice

We will be providing regular updates on progress against our business plan in future news articles, so do look out for these.