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Scrutiny Question Government’s Complaint Handling and Lessons Learned from Covid-19

Oct 11, 2021

On Monday 4 October, Scrutiny’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) held a public hearing to investigate whether taxpayers’ money is being used effectively and for its intended purpose in two Government departments: Customer and Local Services (CLS) and Strategic Policy, Planning and Performance (SPPP).

The Director Generals of each department answered a series of questions about specific areas of work within their departments. The key outcomes from the public hearing are:

  • Performance management: The Committee was pleased to see that the objectives of the Government Plan to improve the lives of Islanders were reflected in each individual’s performance appraisal and that there will be a follow up to the criticisms made in the last BeHeard Survey. The Committee understand that there was a high quantitative engagement with objective setting in My Conversation/My Goals (>90%) and look forward to hearing more about the qualitative engagement in the next BeHeard survey to understand how well performance management is embedding.
  • Restructuring departments: The explanation of the structure and remit of CLS and SPPP was informative, however, the Committee did not receive the full cost of delivery or the cost benefit achieved through implementation of the department restructuring for the CLS and SPPP departments.
  • Customer services: The Director General for CLS confirmed that La Motte Street Help Centre doors are open and people can book an appointment, however the Public Accounts Committee have learned that some members of the public would like to walk in and seek information without a pre-arranged appointment. A CLS customer satisfaction survey was focused on telephone calls which the Committee understands to be a popular method of communication however the Committee suggest a wider public engagement review could be carried out to find out about public preferences on how services should be delivered.
  • Complaint handling: The top 3 complaints focus on the quality of service that individual customers have, response times in how fast government are getting back to people, and the consistency of provision of information.
  • Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC): Clarification of the role of STAC and the preparation and publication of minutes from these meetings was helpful.
  • The Director of Public Health role: The Committee was reassured to hear confirmation of the independence of the Director of Public Health, which allow him to comment publicly.
  • Covid-19 response: The Committee was pleased to see that roles in public health have been strengthened as a result of the pandemic, to give extra safety assurance to the public.

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Deputy Inna Gardiner, commented:

“I am grateful to both Director Generals for attending the public hearing and sharing updates. The Public Accounts Committee is very interested in understanding whether the huge structural changes to departments, often called Target Operating Models, are beneficial to the public and deliver value for money. We always want to hear from the public regarding what they think of performance measures to improve public sector service.”

Scrutiny Press Release.

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