Wednesday 8 July 2020 - Report

Handling and learning from complaints

Topics: Complaints

Departments: Customer & Local Services

Sector: All

C&AG Report - Handling and Learning from Complaints - 08 July 2020

Report: pdf (545.70 KB)

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Effective management of complaints from members of the public about public bodies can:

  • provide valuable information about weaknesses in programmes of work, policies and service delivery
  • stimulate improvement
  • reassure the public that an organisation is committed to resolving problems; and
  • enhance accountability and transparency.

Poor handling of complaints can:

  • fail to produce learning and improvement
  • lead to repetition and in some cases exacerbation of the underlying issue
  • damage an organisation’s reputation; and
  • impact on an organisation’s relationship with the public and other stakeholders.


This review evaluated:

  • the design and operation of the Government’s current arrangements for handling and learning from complaints; and
  • the design of proposed changes in the arrangements for handling and learning from complaints.


The Government has taken important steps to improve complaints handling. The adoption of a Customer Feedback Policy, investment in a Customer Feedback Management System, recruitment of a corporate team and designation of departmental staff have shown a commitment to improving complaints handling.

More work is required to secure consistent handling of and learning from complaints. In particular, there is a need for a focus on:

  • ensuring that the staff handling complaints are people with the right skills, experience, training and supervision
  • ensuring that there are appropriate processes, consistently applied, to facilitate the delivery of the Customer Feedback Policy
  • ensuring that the Customer Feedback Management System is developed where necessary and its capacity fully used; and
  • maximising the value that can be secured from the analysis of complaints and handling.


Associate Member of EURORAI - a cooperation project between public sector supervisory bodies in Europe