Yesterday I attended a round table with senior officers from the Public Ombudsman for Wales, alongside representatives of charities, the third sector and advocacy groups from across Wales.
It was a fascinating couple of hours covering 2 themes:
How the Ombudsman operates, their challenges and plans.
Our thoughts on the service and how we improve awareness and accessibility of the service.
Alongside TPAS Cymru, were representatives from Shelter, Mencap, Citizens Advice, Action on Hearing, MENCAP Cymru, Age Cymru, Advocacy Support Cymru, AVOW and Diverse Cymru. I’m not going to repeat all that was discussed, but what pleased me was, 1) there were 4 senior officers present (including Nick Bennett the Ombudsman); and 2) they had a real desire to listen to our views.
There were positive discussions regarding greater transparency in the recorded statistics around diversity and the role of advocates. The subjects I was most interested in and therefore contributed to was around:
How they evolve people submitting oral complaints
How to improve the accessibility of their digital service
How they demonstrate value, confidence and success of the service in communications that are easier to consume like video and social media
The Ombudsman’s desire to initiate their own formal reviews on organisations/subject themes as a result of picking up patterns in complaints.
Note: For those who want some interesting Housing Stats regarding the Ombudsman service – they are on page 60 of this lengthy annual report document (an eye watering 7mb for each language!)