Research into fairness and impartiality

Last year we began exploring how best to get feedback on our Service Charter commitment 10 (whether people feel we have made a fair, impartial decision) from both organisations we investigate and complainants. This was following a recommendation from Parliament.    

To do that, an independent research company carried out focus groups and a number of in-depth interviews with complainants who have recently used our service on this issue. This included getting feedback on how any question around impartiality can best be framed.

Overall, our research company concluded that PHSO should combine the feedback we already receive from complainants and organisations on a number of key charter commitments that directly relate to fairness. This combined total provides a well-rounded score on whether PHSO has demonstrated it has acted fairly. 

We have accepted these conclusions. Going forward, we will combine the scores on the following commitments:

  • 5. We will listen to you to make sure we understand your complaint
  • 8. We will gather all the information we need, including from you and the organisation you have complained about before we make our decision
  • 9. We will share facts with you, and discuss with you what we are seeing
  • 11. We will explain our decision and recommendations, and how we reached them.

This will provide an overall score on whether our users feel we are making fair and impartial decisions and will be included in our regular quarterly reporting on our Service Charter. 

We will also: 

  • review the feedback provided through the focus groups and use this to improve our service 
  • continue to carry out in-depth interviews with complainants to explore how well we are doing to meet our Service Charter commitments.

Download the research company’s report (PDF 347KB) on what they found and their conclusions.