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Directorate Seminar on Complaints Handling Complaints Handling – 2008 Government Survey. Steve Barclay Assistant Director, Efficiency Unit 11 December 2008. The Survey. Objective To understand the current situation To identify good practices To pinpoint potential improvement areas Scope

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directorate seminar on complaints handling complaints handling 2008 government survey

Directorate Seminar on Complaints HandlingComplaints Handling –2008 Government Survey

Steve Barclay

Assistant Director, Efficiency Unit

11 December 2008

the survey
The Survey
  • Objective
    • To understand the current situation
    • To identify good practices
    • To pinpoint potential improvement areas
  • Scope
    • All bureaux and departments
    • All types of public complaints (Oct 2007 to Sep 2008)
    • Exclude statutory appeals, objections or petitions to the CE, staff complaints, complaints referred from selected statutory public bodies, and complaints about crime and corruption
question
Question
  • How many complaints has the Government received in the past 12 months?
  • (Hint: the ICC received 270,000 complaints, service requests, and suggestions in the same period)
    • 200,000 – 300,000
    • 300,000 – 400,000
    • 400,000 – 500,000
    • Over 500,000
complaints received
Complaints Received
  • Nearly 260,000 complaints reported by departments
  • Probably on the low side
    • 7 departments could not provide statistics
    • Some departments’ statistics surprisingly low
complaint channels
Complaint Channels

Many departments have publicised their complaints channels

complaint channels1
Complaint Channels
  • … but a website search revealed that
    • Some departments published the channels inconspicuously, e.g.
      • Click “Service guide” > “XXX Complaints System” (p.5)
      • Click “About us” > “Enquiries and Contacts”
    • Some avoid using the word “complaint”, e.g.
      • “There will be occasions when, despite our best efforts, we are unable to provide the services within the specified standards. In such cases, if you want an explanation or if you feel that your case has not been dealt with adequately, you should ...”, Comments and Suggestions page
      • The telephone number given is the complaint hotline, but this is only stated explicitly on a departmental press release
complaints received1
Complaints Received
  • Different mix of complaints observed
    • Considerable number of referrals received from external sources (excluding 1823)
      • Are the existing complaint channels effective?
      • Any issue on publicity of complaint channels?
    • Considerable number of complaints related to regulatory/oversight responsibilities
      • Have different procedures been established to deal with such complaints?
    • Considerable number of complaints on policy issues
      • 6% departments say policy prevents customer satisfaction
      • 38% departments say complainants disagree with policy
      • 47% departments receive complaints involving multiple departments
      • Have the bureaux been informed about the public’s concerns?
complaints handling system1
Complaints Handling System
  • Good practices
    • Clear roles and responsibilities of staff at different levels
    • Emphasise the importance of provision of customer-oriented service
    • Developed complaint record forms
    • Developed sample letters for communication with complainants
    • Case studies on complaint handling
  • Improvement opportunities
    • Recognise the importance of complaints
    • Multiple channels
    • Facilitation of making complaints
dealing with complaints
Dealing with Complaints

The problem is mainly with the complainants?

dealing with complaints1
Dealing with Complaints
  • Target response time
    • Interim reply
      • Departments: 94%
      • Target: normally 7 – 10 days
    • Substantive reply
      • Departments: 72%
      • Target: normally 10 – 30 days
  • Keeping complainants informed of case progress
dealing with complaints2
Dealing with Complaints
  • Good practices
    • Maintaining close communication with complainants
    • Control mechanism on complaint processing time
    • Mechanism to handle repeated, groundless or malicious complaints
    • Limiting the number of internal referrals
    • Dedicated committees to monitor and review complaints
    • Job attachment programme for Customer Services Officers
    • Alert to potential complaint cases
    • Quality assurance
    • Explaining your decisions
dealing with complaints3
Dealing with Complaints
  • Improvement opportunities
    • Develop a mechanism to handle cross-departmental complaints
      • 47% of departments have received such complaints but over 40% don’t have a mechanism in place
    • Publicise complaint statistics
      • Increase transparency
      • Increase alertness
      • Help make the system more robust
    • Ensure consistency of complaint handling practice by external service providers
question1
Question
  • When was the last time you read your B/D complaints report?
    • In preparation for this seminar
    • Within the last month
    • Within the last 3 months
    • Within the last 6 months
    • Within this year
analysis and reporting1
Analysis and Reporting
  • Not many departments produce reports that are seen by senior directorate officers
analysis and reporting2
Analysis and Reporting
  • 28% of departments conducted reviews or customer satisfaction survey
analysis and reporting3
Analysis and Reporting
  • Improvement opportunities
    • Compile report and analyse
    • Ensure that reports are seen regularly by directorate officers
    • To regularly review the complaint handling system and/or conduct customer satisfaction survey
    • Analyse the causes of complaints
    • Identify systemic weaknesses and improvement areas
next steps
Next Steps
  • Further analysis of survey results: report in due course
  • Survey results will inform Admin Wing’s circular and EU’s complaints handling guide
  • EU/CSTDI noted departments’ interest in training – under discussion
  • EU can assist departments reviewing complaints handling arrangements