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Service Complains Commissioner: Annual Report

Volume 594: debated on Tuesday 24 March 2015

I am pleased to lay before Parliament today the Service Complaints Commissioner’s annual report for 2014 on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the service complaints system.

This is the first report to be published by Nicola Williams as the Service Complaints Commissioner, and covers the work of her office in 2014 under the leadership of her predecessor Dr Susan Atkins. I would like to take this opportunity to echo her praise for the work done by Dr Atkins during her time in post.

The report details those areas where further work is required to make improvements to the way complaints are handled, while also recognising the good work that the services have undertaken during 2014 and the changes that they have made to the way they manage complaints. The continuous improvement approach that the services have adopted since the complaints system was introduced in 2008 has, year on year, delivered significant changes to how complaints are managed by all those involved in the process. These changes, and those proposed by the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill will make the process shorter and quicker, while also strengthening oversight and accountability through the powers of the new Service Complaints Ombudsman.

The findings of the report and the recommendations made are now being considered in detail. A formal response to the Commissioner will follow when that work is complete.