All public sector complaint systems should be put on a statutory basis. If the letter of all promises, procedures, governance arrangements and published standards was applied things could change overnight. Public services would also improve almost overnight because complaints would be addressed properly because they have to be. This would cost very little money with a massive cost/benefit result with very little outlay. If complaint systems at councils, quangos, government departments and the rest were applied properly and honesty the improvements in service would be massive. Of course everyone makes mistakes but the maintenance of the status quo is the prime motivator which results in badly applied procedures and tendency to cover up purely to mainatin the status quo. If citizens had faith in complaint systems and the application of them then public service  improvement would result with very little extra financial outlay. The problem is that very few people have any faith in public sector complaint systems. The maintenance of the status quo and no accountability is the end result with no individuals being dealt with or brought to account. This results in little or no real improvement in that public service because mistakes, errors or worse ae not addressed properly. Serious, wilful and deliberate dishonesty from public servants, whomever they are, has to be gross misconduct at every juncture. This has to be implemented by statute and not via such as an airy fairy group of Nolan Principles that are meaningless and disregarded at will. If public servants knew that there was a draconian penalty for proven wilful and serios dishonesty, which would mean losing their job and all subsequent perks, things would improve naturally. But there is no such statutory basis as regards Nolan or any ethical arrangements in public life. If statutory penalties for serious dishonesty and misconduct were there and seen to be there then nobody wil risk the misconduct or dishonesty in the first place.

The same goes for the governance frameworks, audits, systems of internal control, annual governance statements and published standards. If these types of arrangement were put on a full statutory basis with real penalties for disregarding them then things will certainly change for the better. Any citizen can look at any quango, council or government department etc and the governance and control systems are massive and widespread. If these were followed in any way instead of being invariable ignored, as they are, then they would be taken seriously. These type of arrangements must be placed on a statutory basis with penalties tat are clear and transparent if they are not observed. The promises made are so ethical. proper, reasonable and honest that nobody can argue with the above. But, unfortunately, these glossy promises look good in practice but quite a lot are routinely disregarded. A statutory basis would put some real teeth and meaning into these arrangements with very little cost and a massive effect.

Why is this idea important?

Effectively addressed complaints in the public sector result in benefits for all and, in particular, improved public services. This is why honest determination of valid complaints is essential. The promises are there massively to allow this to be achieved in practice. These promises just need to be placed on a full statutory basis. New laws for the good of the public interest rather than for the good of the public sector. However the opposite is what citizens generally get. In these days of massive budget shortfalls making public authorities do as they say and promise by statute would be a cheap and universally effective way of improving things for the benefit of all and with very little cost. Then scarce resources could be diverted to where they are needed most. Making the public sector do precisely what they say in public in private as regards complaints by statute would make major change for the better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.