|It is often not the ‘mistake’ that annoys people, but rather the ‘cover-up’ and the reluctance to at least say ‘sorry’|
In their report on complaints, the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) says a culture of denial & failure of leadership in public services in handling complaints is what leads to failures like the Mid-Staffs hospital disaster. The Mid-Staffs crisis, which highlighted how leadership failures to hear & address concerns from patients, their families, and staff led to ‘unspeakable disaster’, sparked the PASC inquiry.
Opportunities to offer sufficient redress, improve services & boost public confidence was often missed in poor complaints handling. PASC calls for “single point of contact for citizens to make complaints about Government departments or agencies”, which provides “meaningful human support at the end of a telephone for those who need it.”
The Committee concludes success depends on the right leadership of public services which values complaints as critical for improving, and learning about, their service. PASC often heard the words ‘complexity’ and ‘confusion’ about complaints processes. Sometimes it’s an “appeal” or “review” or “feedback”. The report concludes, “A complaint is a complaint... nobody should be shy of the term ‘complaint’... Other euphemistic terms for ‘complaint’ should be banned.”