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Blog

The importance of educating personnel on the Service complaints process

In my first Annual Report as Service Complaints Ombudsman, one of the recommendations I made concerned the importance of training and education on the Service complaints system at all levels. It was a recommendation that I made after receiving feedback from a number of personnel who felt there wasn’t enough training on this issue. While work on this recommendation is still continuing, I wanted to let you know more about what we have been doing and why I think education in this area is so important.

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Just and equitable – what does it actually mean?

There are time limits for making a Service complaint and also for making an application to my office. These time limits are set in law.  Complaints that are made outside of those time limits can still be accepted if it considered “just and equitable”. But what does that actually mean?

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Our allocation backlog

An Ombudsman’s office is the place people turn to when things go wrong. Whether they want information about how they can address their complaints, or want an investigation, there is an expectation that the Ombudsman can and will help in a timely manner. However, those expectations may not be met when that office is experiencing a backlog. This is the current situation in my office.

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9ICOAF – DCAF Annual Report

9ICOAF took place in London in 2017 and was co-hosted by the Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces of the UK. It focused on how ombuds institutions can act as a moral compass of the armed forces and engender positive change.

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My midterm update: What we have achieved so far and the work still to come

As the Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces, I am appointed by the Crown for a single term of 5 years. Having started the role in January 2016, this month marks the halfway point in my term. In my blog this month, I reflect on what we have achieved so far and what I hope to achieve before the end of my term.

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Volunteering for all #VolunteersWeek

This week is Volunteers’ Week in the UK. It is an annual event that provides an opportunity to recognise the contribution that volunteers make to society. Volunteering is something that is strongly encouraged within the OSCO by myself and my senior management team. In my first blog for June, I will be sharing with you why I believe volunteering is so important and how it benefits our office.

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Volunteers week

Improving our communication with you

The Office of the Service Complaints Ombudsman (OSCO) is a learning organisation. That means that as we grow and develop, we strive to improve the way we do things. This applies to all areas of our work – including how we tell people who we are and what we do. In my last blog for May, I will be sharing with you what we have done and will be doing over the coming year to improve our communication with you.

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Address your stress for #MHAW

May 14th – 20th was Mental Health Awareness week – an annual event hosted by the Mental Health Foundation in the U.K. Each year, a different theme is explored to raise awareness of mental health, break down the stigma surrounding these issues and bring about lasting positive change. This year the theme was Stress, something […]

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How many staff does it take to investigate complaints?

No, it isn’t the start of a good joke! The question of whether an organisation has enough staff to deliver their core objectives is one that is common to most sectors, including the ombudsman community. As many of you will have seen from our recent communications, including the Annual Report, we don’t currently have enough staff to meet our published time targets. While this is an issue we are working to rectify as quickly as we can, I thought I would use my second blog this month to explore this issue further.

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Investigations folders

Introducing our Chief Of Operations

In 2017 the Office of the Service Complaints Ombudsman went through a restructure in order to provide greater oversight of and resilience in the operational arm of the office. As part of that restructure, two new positions were created – Chief of Operations and Chief of Staff. This month the Ombudsman is turning her blog over to the Chief of Operations, Eleanor Handslip, so that she can tell you more about the role and what she hopes to achieve.

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Meeting with new Chief of Operations