Embracing Complaints: Opportunities to improve your organisation

Embracing Complaints: Opportunities to improve your organisation

Walking away from this seminar, delegates gained an understanding of the benefits and the importance of embracing and learning from complaints to ultimately benefit their organisation.

Over the last 10 years, the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales has seen a significant increase in complaints and concerns about devolved services in Wales. 

The introduction of fees for bringing claims to Employment Tribunals by employees has markedly reduced the number of claims being brought, with the consequence that staff complaints, or more accurately grievances, are taking up more organisational resources to deal with. 

As leaders of Public Services, you will be well aware of the significant amount of change public services have faced, and continue to face, over the coming years. Environmental challenges in population and climate change, changes in technology, as well as continued reductions in public spending are to name a few. Public Services also need to deal with significant changes in legislation, including the Well-being of Future Generations Act, the Social Services and Well-being Act, the Environment (Wales) Act and the proposed Local Government Bill. Resources will be stretched to an extent not yet experienced and the impact of this cannot be underestimated.

During these times of change, leaders will face difficult decisions which will not always be seen in the same light by members of the public and, indeed, internal staff. It is therefore understandable that expressions of dissatisfaction or concern may be raised.

This seminar focused on how organisations can prepare themselves for the challenging times ahead, and encouraged leaders to think about culture and behaviours within their organisations – are staff empowered to engage with complainants positively? Do your staff and services users feel they have a voice and concerns are taken seriously? Do Board members engage and challenge data on complaints and seek evidence that improvements have been introduced in instances of poor service delivery?

Who the seminar was aimed at

This seminar was aimed at public and third sector staff in the following roles:

  • chief executives
  • public pervice board members
  • heads of governance
  • non-executive board members
  • scrutiny members


  1. Embracing Complaints [PDF 906KB opens in new window] - Nick Bennett, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
  2. Managing the risks associated with investigations of complaints [PDF 785KB opens in new window] - Ian Hughes, Wales Audit Office 
  3. Complaints Culture [PDF 333KB opens in new window] - James Forse/ David Jones, Acas Cymru 
  4. Complaints - the gift that keeps on (and on?) giving - Chris Vinestock, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales 
  5. Sharing approaches to complaints [PDF 1.6MB opens in new window] - Rory Farrelly/ Suzanne Holloway, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board 

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09 June 2016
16 June 2016
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