Enclosed is a report concerning a complaint outcome of a school inspection after it had been through the
Scottish Public Service Ombudsman service. The respondent has asked me to place it on my website with
certain accompanying material as background. The case was within the SPSO office for sixteen months and
under case adjudication for eight months. No case adjudication report from the SPSO office was supplied to
the respondent. The means by which this was done has ensured that the case was invisible to Parliament
and to the public domain. This case deletion occurred during a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of a
Scottish head teacher immediately following her school’s inspection, which was in process at the time with
very major publicity. Click links to view letters and report.

1.
7th December 2009 - Jim Martin Ombudsman letter rejecting complaint without investigation link

2. 17th December 2009 - Response to Jim Martin Ombudsman link

3. 17th January 2011 - Request to Jim Martin to re-open complaint link

4. 12th January 2011 - Accountability and complaint handling of Scotland's public services regulators and
the role of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman" report sent to the Ombudsman and Scottish
Parliamentary Corporate Body link

The 2010-11 annual report of SPSO declares that the SPSO service is a centre of excellence (1). The new
school inspections body declares that inspections are now based on trust (2). For these reasons the
respondent has asked me now to place this material on my website. In the service of public service
transparency and accountability I am happy to do this.

Since the report there have been two significant developments which could point a way forwards to the
rigorous public accountability which might solve this. That is the Right First Time report of the
Administrative Justice And Tribunals Council, June 2011 (3) and that of the Financial Standards Authority in
their investigation of complaints handling by the Bank of Scotland, May 2011 (4). The other is a major
reform of the SPSO service to be accountable, transparent and studiously acting as the guardian of
propriety of public sector governance. It should act in all cases without fear, favour or caprice.

The material placed here, which has taken considerable dedication and application to put together, points
to the need for a proper and transparent inquiry into all complaints in this sector. The question also needs
to be asked, why is the SPSO not doing this?

Scottish Ombudsman Watch


(1) http://www.spso.org.uk/media-centre/news-releases/spso-launches-annual-report-2010-11
(2) http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6114472
(3) http://www.justice.gov.uk/ajtc/docs/PRESS_RELEASE.pdf  http://www.guardian.co.uk/public-leaders-
network/2011/jun/15/public-bodies-true-cost-mistakes
(4) http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Library/Communication/PR/2011/045.shtml
spso Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Watch
Campaigning for a more accountable & effective Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
Accountability and complaint handling of Scotland's public services
regulators and the role of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
HMIE & SPSO