Complaints about UK government departments and agencies in 2017-18 

Improving complaint handling and good practice

We hold organisations to account when they provide a poor service or fail to handle complaints properly. We also have an important role in encouraging public services to improve. 

The report we published last year highlighted for the first time work across Whitehall to use the learning from complaints to improve services. As part of our strategic objective to improve frontline complaint handling we are keen to share more of this work. 

Government complaints champion and HMRC Director General for Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, spoke at our 2018 Open Meeting on the value of having the organisation’s best people working in complaint handling. She also stressed the importance of complaint handlers treating everyone with dignity and respect.

We only see a small proportion of complaints dealt with by the department and we partly upheld just two complaints about HMRC in 2017-18.

Their case study shows they are keen to build on the improvements they have made so far in handling complaints. 

We are supportive of the work of the Cross Government Complaints Forum (CGCF) to champion best practice around complaint handling. For instance, the Forum is looking at developing a formal qualification for complaint handlers, which will give those taking part the skills and recognition to do their job effectively. 

You can read more about the work that Government departments and agencies are doing to improve in our case studies: