Today marks a milestone in our 2018 to 2021 strategy as we start to regularly publish our casework decisions on our website.
Over the past three years we’ve been taking steps to improve the quality of our casework and be more transparent.
Publishing our casework will mean that organisations we investigate can use the learning from our reports to improve their services. It will also mean that members of the public who have a complaint can look at our decisions and see what the outcome has been for others in a similar situation. We hope it will increase public understanding of who we are and what we do.
What we are publishing and when
Today we are publishing 15 of our decisions as a first step to routinely publishing our casework. We’ll continue to publish cases on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month – the next publication date is Wednesday 12 May.
From now until June we will publish around 15 cases every two weeks. We expect this number to increase from July.
We’ll shortly be adding a new email sign up feature so you can get alerts when new cases are published. In the meantime you can follow us on Twitter for updates.
Developing a portal that meets people’s needs
To make sure the decisions portal meets the needs of the public, organisations we investigate, advocacy groups and those we are accountable to, we involved future users of the site throughout the project.
Focus groups helped us understand what people would be most interested in finding out from our decisions and how they would like them to be presented.
We used this insight to:
- improve the structure of our investigation reports and assessment decisions, and the way we write them
- develop a user-friendly website so people can easily search and read our decisions online.
Getting feedback from users
Once the decisions portal was built, we tested it with people who would be using the final product. Testers broadly welcomed this new feature of the website.
They thought the design and layout was clean and clear and that it ‘made a complex process more streamlined’. They liked the use of filters so they could search by organisation, complaint issue, medical condition and more. And on the whole, they thought the language used was clear, concise and people-friendly.
However, the people testing the website also identified a number of common usability and accessibility issues and we used this vital feedback to make improvements.
The portal has been built with accessibility in mind. But to make sure we’ve got it right, we’ve also asked the Digital Accessibility Centre to test it. We’ll continue to make improvements to meet level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).
We’re really grateful to everyone who provided feedback and to staff from across the organisation – from IT, Quality and Improvement, Casework, Communications, External Affairs and Insight, Information Assurance and Legal – who’ve worked so hard to help us reach this milestone.
Let us know what you think
Whether you work for an organisation we investigate, you’re bringing a complaint to us or supporting someone who is, we hope that the new portal helps you easily find the information you need about our decisions.
We’d love to know what you think of the decisions portal and how we can make it better. Please email your feedback to Digital@ombudsman.org.uk.