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Developing a Good Practice Guide for Student Complaints - Paul McFadden
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Developing a Good Practice Guide for Student Complaints - Paul McFadden

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  • Crerar and Sinclair Reports looked at scrutiny of the public sector, and of complaints in particular. Found a range of problems across most publicly funded services.
  • CSA developed by SPSO in response to new legislation (Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010) that requires SPSO to take on new role of improving complaints handling across public services. 2 strands to CSA work: One standardised, simplified model CHP for each sector make complaining easier, simpler and more consistent for all ‘ customers’ empower staff to ‘get it right first time’ reduce numbers of escalated complaints through improved frontline complaints handling more efficient – removes extra layers reducing costs Improving the learning from complaints, through recording and reporting to management clearer monitoring of complaints handling performance including timescales and costs CSA as a centre of best practice working in partnership with each sector to develop ways of gathering and sharing best practice in complaints handling CSA providing guidance Sectors taking ownership of developing networks for sharing best practice and learning
  • Definition: An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about the organisation’s action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the organisation. Not a complaint: - 1 st time request for service - request for compensation - issues going to court - issues that could be decided through an appeal - a complaint where a final decision has already been given – they come on to SPSO Who can complain? Anyone and third parties ‘with personal consent’ – up to you to decide re written consent, dealt with through CHP whoever brings the complaint 2 stages – Frontline – 5 days - Investigation – 20 days Recording reporting, learning and publicising – with specific requirements Frontline Resolution isn’t about who fixes the problem. It’s about when a problem is fixed. All staff should try to resolve customer complaints as early as possible. Frontline Resolution should always be attempted where the issues involved are straightforward and potentially easily resolved, requiring little or no investigation.
  • Definition: An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about the organisation’s action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the organisation. Not a complaint: - 1 st time request for service - request for compensation - issues going to court - issues that could be decided through an appeal - a complaint where a final decision has already been given – they come on to SPSO Who can complain? Anyone and third parties ‘with personal consent’ – up to you to decide re written consent, dealt with through CHP whoever brings the complaint 2 stages – Frontline – 5 days - Investigation – 20 days Recording reporting, learning and publicising – with specific requirements Frontline Resolution isn’t about who fixes the problem. It’s about when a problem is fixed. All staff should try to resolve customer complaints as early as possible. Frontline Resolution should always be attempted where the issues involved are straightforward and potentially easily resolved, requiring little or no investigation.
  • From the Guidance – standard across sectors. Part of a wider initiative to standardise across public services. Based on 2 stage model introduced in NHS several years ago.
  • WHY? Less confusing – customers have a quick, streamlined process Customers are happier Customers want problems fixed quickly (or attempts made to explain something) Reduces the likelihood of repeat complaints Its Cheaper / takes less time Less senior staff time Less duplication of reviewing same facts and issues 2010 OFWAT report – 15 minutes to resolve complaints at the frontline; 70 hours at final stage NAO report on DWP - frontline resolutions are 40 times cheaper than those resolved at the final stage. DWP 50% reduction in costs since introducing new model (2012)
  • Research by LGO re Council housing – what tenants want when they bring a complaint
  • Research by LGO re Council housing – what tenants want when they bring a complaint
  • Here are the issues your organisation may wish to address as it works towards implementing the Model CHP. Internal processes, such as signing off different types of investigation complaints Update recording systems to include all the relevant info, specified in model CHP Consult on elements where there’s flexibility – eg. what info tenants want to know about complaints and where. For some this will include role of management committee in individual complaints. Awareness and training – e-learning modules for frontline staff, SPSO training days, and SHARE. Pro-forma for monitoring implementation to be returned by 12 th October. Monitoring performance will start in April 2013, via ARC, so need systems in place for then. Social landlords manage their businesses so that: tenants and other customers find it easy to communicate with their landlord and get the information they need about their landlord, how and why it makes decisions and the services that the landlord provides. This outcome covers all aspects of landlords‘ communication with tenants and other customers. It is not just about how clearly and effectively a landlord gives information to those who want it. It also covers making it easy for tenants and other customers to make complaints and provide feedback on services, using that information to improve services and performance, and letting people know what they have done in response to complaints and feedback. It does not require landlords to provide legally protected, personal or commercial information.’ (Emphasis added by SPSO)
  • Here are the issues your organisation may wish to address as it works towards implementing the Model CHP. Internal processes, such as signing off different types of investigation complaints Update recording systems to include all the relevant info, specified in model CHP Consult on elements where there’s flexibility – eg. what info tenants want to know about complaints and where. For some this will include role of management committee in individual complaints. Awareness and training – e-learning modules for frontline staff, SPSO training days, and SHARE. Pro-forma for monitoring implementation to be returned by 12 th October. Monitoring performance will start in April 2013, via ARC, so need systems in place for then. Social landlords manage their businesses so that: tenants and other customers find it easy to communicate with their landlord and get the information they need about their landlord, how and why it makes decisions and the services that the landlord provides. This outcome covers all aspects of landlords‘ communication with tenants and other customers. It is not just about how clearly and effectively a landlord gives information to those who want it. It also covers making it easy for tenants and other customers to make complaints and provide feedback on services, using that information to improve services and performance, and letting people know what they have done in response to complaints and feedback. It does not require landlords to provide legally protected, personal or commercial information.’ (Emphasis added by SPSO)
  • Definition: An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about the organisation’s action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the organisation. Not a complaint: - 1 st time request for service - request for compensation - issues going to court - issues that could be decided through an appeal - a complaint where a final decision has already been given – they come on to SPSO Who can complain? Anyone and third parties ‘with personal consent’ – up to you to decide re written consent, dealt with through CHP whoever brings the complaint 2 stages – Frontline – 5 days - Investigation – 20 days Recording reporting, learning and publicising – with specific requirements Frontline Resolution isn’t about who fixes the problem. It’s about when a problem is fixed. All staff should try to resolve customer complaints as early as possible. Frontline Resolution should always be attempted where the issues involved are straightforward and potentially easily resolved, requiring little or no investigation.
  • What is the biggest challenge you will face? How prepared are you? What information would help you most? Do you record, analyse and report on all complaints? If not how could this be achieved? What might be challenges / barriers to achieving this? Do you regularly review the lessons learned to identify patterns in service failures? How could you improve this? Do you publish information on complaints - volumes / types of complaints/performance? Do your senior management and/or management committee receive and act on regular reports? Do you have processes in place to allow quick response to critical or systemic service failures? Would you be interested in learning from others through a network of complaints handlers? What do you think you do well that you could share with others?
  • Transcript

    • 1. 1 Building a culture that values complaints Paul McFadden Complaints Standards Authority (CSA) Academic Registrars’ Council Developing a Good Practice Framework for student complaints 6 June 2013
    • 2. 2 The need to improve “Not fit for purpose”  Complex and confusing: Need to make complaining more straightforward. Reduce the complexity of the current complaints handling systems. SPSO premature rates as an example of this.  Inconsistent and lacking co-ordination: within and across sectors. Need to remove potential for duplication and overlap.  Too slow: need to reduce the time taken  Not Getting it Right First time: reduce unnecessary customer interaction. Need to deal with complaints more locally  Focused on organisational need not on customer  Inconsistent learning: need to enable the lessons learned to be applied more easily across all public services.  Lack of focus on performance and costs - value for money
    • 3. 3 Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act (2010) Complaints Standards Authority  Model Complaints Handling Procedure for each sector  Standardised, simplified  Consistent for service user  Sectoral approach  Centre of best practice  Develop and share best practice across sectors  Building networks  Providing training and support
    • 4. 4 Building a culture that values complaints  Quick, simple process  Roles and responsibilities are well defined from frontline to boardroom with empowered staff and effective governance  Effective complaints resolution is embedded in the culture of the organisation  A performance culture drives complaints handling  Organisational learning from all complaints informs service improvement
    • 5. 5 One standardised CHP  What is / is not a complaint  2 stages, standard timescales  Clear roles and responsibilities and good governance  Standards for recording, reporting, learning and publicising  Dealing with unacceptable actions  Share complaints performance and lessons learnt throughout organisation  Share outcomes and action taken with customers
    • 6. 6 Quick, simple process
    • 7. 7 Quick, simple process  Empowered, customer-focused frontline  Complaints well defined  Resolve quickly at, or close to, point of delivery  Local, easily accessed  Telephone / face to face  DWP 80%  Brings challenges – quality of record is crucial  Get it right first time culture - One co-ordinated investigation  Removing safety nets  Making the right decisions  learning lessons  training staff
    • 8. 8 Quick, simple processWhy?  Less confusing – customers understand the process and get a quick response  Customers are happier - customers want problems fixed quickly (or explained)  Things don’t ‘snowball’  Cheaper / takes less time  2010 OFWAT report – 15 minutes to resolve complaints at the frontline; 70 hours at final stage  NAO report on DWP - frontline resolutions 40 times cheaper  DWP 50% reduction  Less senior staff time  Less duplication of reviewing same facts and issues
    • 9. 9 Complaints handling roles and responsibilities are well defined  Frontline staff are empowered  Know when, how and in what circumstances they can act  Know when authorised to say sorry and take corrective action  Senior management ownership  Signing off investigations – the final decision  Monitoring complaints info – concerns and trends  Are staff making right decisions?  Board reviewing individual cases  Right management and governance processes in place?  Leading culture Ownership and responsibility Governance and management culture (See Mid- Staffs)
    • 10. 10 Effective complaints resolution is embedded in the culture of the organisation All staff - welcome and ‘own’ complaints  Don’t see them as a threat or act defensively  Mind-set of quick resolution - staff automatically and instantly contact customers  Admit failings – all staff empowered to apologise and put things right  Move away from the legalistic mindset: ‘apology = liability’ Organisation - Value Complaints  Need a clear, very visible signal from the most senior level  Complaints on agenda - throughout organisation : team meetings, executive team, frontline, performance targets  Plan and improve service delivery on basis of customer insight  Give sufficient status and weight to complaints managers – professionalise
    • 11. 11 What customers want when they complain 1. An acknowledgement of the error 2. Confirmation that they, the customer, were right 3. An understanding of why things went wrong 4. An acceptance of responsibility and a meaningful and timely apology 5. Reassurance that the problem has been addressed and will not happen again 6. A reconciliation of a relationship 7. The restoration of the customer’s reputation Department for Communities and Local Government June 2009 ‘Getting it right, righting the wrongs’ www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/1258299.pdf
    • 12. 12 The power of apology A meaningful apology Accept responsibility for failings  Not blaming anyone else and not making excuses  accept total responsibility for action or inaction. Express regret  Empathy, acknowledgement of the injustice caused. Resolve the matter,  or commit to take action to prevent reoccurrence
    • 13. 13 A performance culture drives complaints handling  Not all about reducing the numbers  Focus on resolving more, more quickly at the frontline -  Monitor and reduce proportions resolved at frontline  Target phone contact / on-the-spot  Reduce number of escalated complaints  Reduce ‘lost’ complainants – e.g. SPSO prematures  Average times  Reduce uphelds  Measure customer satisfaction  Measure responsiveness - what and how often have you changed as a result of complaints?  Base-line and benchmark performance – private and public sector  Focus on costs
    • 14. 14 Organisational learning  Record, analyse and report on all complaints  You can’t manage what you don’t measure  Managers act on regular reports - identify, action and review quarterly  What are we getting wrong and why?  Service failures identified, actioned and reviewed quarterly  Root cause analysis  How do we improve?  Share with staff stories of poor service / customer journeys  Allow staff to make quick changes to service delivery  Communicate learning to customers  Publicly report complaints outcomes, trends and action taken  Student awareness of value of CHP  Put complaints on the agenda – from the board room to team meetings
    • 15. “Such an approach completely ignored the value of complaints in informing the Board of what was going wrong and what, If anything was being done to put it right.” The Trust Board was limited in the learning it received from complaints. In particular, it did not receive details of any individual complaints and, indeed, the Chair of the Trust did not review any of them personally. Her reason for this remote approach was that: “As far as complaints are concerned, … individual complaints always risk giving a biased and partial view of what’s happening in the trust. A complaint that’s investigated properly and resolved is then put to bed and doesn’t need to come to the attention of the hierarchy in the organisation, actually.” Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, volume one, page 250
    • 16. “However, it is far from certain that a more penetrating look at complaints would have shaken her confidence in the management of the Trust because her instinctive reaction to complaints appears to have been a combination of scepticism about their substance and a tolerance, borne of a belief that such complaints were not uncommon in the NHS.” Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, volume one, page 250-251
    • 17. 17 Challenges  Culture Change  Frontline and senior staff  Are HEIs customer focused?  Consensus on CHP  No. of stages – no review stage  Training and staff awareness  ‘All frontline staff?’  Decision making and learning  10 years of SPSO – same messages  Recording ALL complaints  Definition of complaint / service request  ‘Informal’ complaints  Systems  Mobile staff  Publicising complaints performance  Higher Education - competitive market place
    • 18. 1818 Supporting and promoting best practice Online resources - www.valuingcomplaints.org.uk  Complaints handling developments and good practice resources  Ask each other – cross-sector discussion forum / community  Ask CSA – implementation advice Networks of complaints handler Training  E-learning modules Module 1: Understanding the Model Complaints Procedure Module 2: What Is A Complaint? Module 3: What Customers Want When They Complain Module 4: Getting It Right From the Start Module 5: Active Listening Module 6: Finding the Right Solution Module 7: Learning From Complaints Module 8: Managing Difficult Behaviour  Investigation and Frontline classroom-based courses
    • 19. 20 Compliance / performance  Compliance  SPSO Act  Regulatory structures  Performance  Transparency
    • 20. 21 How do you match up?  Quick, simple process?  Is it accessible?  Easy to navigate?  How efficient? Do you know?  Roles and responsibilities well defined from frontline to boardroom?  How empowered and authorised are your staff?  Governance post-Francis?  Complaints culture of the organisation?  Welcoming, valuing complaints?  Legalistic?  Does a performance culture drives complaints handling?  Do you report, publish, target, IMPROVE?  Organisational learning from all complaints informs service improvement  What processes in place to analyse, report and learn from all complaints?
    • 21. 22 UK Public Administration Select Committee Cross-departmental inquiry 1. What objectives should Ministers adopt when considering how complaints about Government and about public services provided by Government are handled? 2. How effectively do Government departments and public service providers use complaints to improve the service provided? 3. How quickly do complaints systems deal with legitimate grievances and provide redress? 4. How easy is it to make a complaint about a Government department or agency, and how could this be improved? 5. What lessons from Francis Report?
    • 22. 23 Any Questions ?
    • 23. www.valuingcomplaints.org.uk CSA@spso.org.uk