The PCC has sought to evolve ever since its inception in 1991, voluntarily instigating many changes in order to improve the standard of service to our users.
However, we recognise that there is always more to do, and are always happy to consider suggestions about how we can do more.
Shortly after taking over as Chairman of the PCC in April 2009, Baroness Buscombe announced that the PCC's governance would be subject to an independent review. Speaking at the time, Baroness Buscombe explained that “it is important periodically to reflect on the way an organisation works to make sure we have taken account of good practice elsewhere and wider public expectations”.
The review is examining and considering the arguments for change in five main areas: the PCC Board; the Appointments Commission; Transparency; Accountability; and the organisation's Articles of Association. Following a public call for submissions towards the end of last year, it is examining a range of suggestions, and is also undertaking a series of evidence sessions with various individuals and organisations, in order to fully listen to their proposals.
The review's website – which includes information about the members of the review panel as well as the submissions – is www.pccgovernancereview.org.uk. The report is expected to be published in early summer 2010.
The PCC's website – www.pcc.org.uk – is the first port of call for many people seeking advice about how we might be able to help them, so it is important that it is as useful and comprehensive as possible. The site is updated every day with information about new complaints decisions, while the more general sections about how we work are reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure they are up-to-date.
Last year, we decided to start publishing monthly summaries of every complaint we deal with (rather than just those that are formally adjudicated or resolved). So, it's now possible to look at complaints which fell outside our remit, for example, or which the complainant decided not to pursue past an initial stage. These summaries have been welcomed as an important improvement to the PCC's transparency.
Other changes made last year include the rewriting of the 'Frequently Asked Questions' and 'How to make a complaint' sections of the site, in order to make the language more understandable. Following suggestions from members of the public who had used the website, the online complaints form was amended so that more information about the articles could be included. We also improved the overall navigation of the site.
We also listened to suggestions that the website could be improved by better presenting information about a particular part of the Code in one place, in order to guide potential complainants about past rulings. A new section called 'Understanding the Editors' Code and Key Rulings' was therefore introduced, which links through to the relevant sections of the Editors' Codebook. The Codebook contains a wealth of information about how the PCC has interpreted the Code of Practice, and this new section ensures that members of the public as well as journalists now have access to it.
Although the website regularly receives good feedback from our customers, we are always grateful for new ideas and suggestions and will be looking at improving it further in 2010. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments.
Like any organisation delivering a service to members of the public, it is important that we know how we are rated by those on whose behalf we work. One of the main methods by which we evaluate our performance is by surveying (on an anonymous basis) every person who receives a decision under the Code of Practice about their complaint. The results are made public on our website, and are generally positive. In 2009:
Some examples of more detailed feedback received last year
“As an individual it can be quite frightening and upsetting to have a conflict with a large organisation and it is very comforting to have someone from an outside organisation take an impartial look at the case and help resolve the matter”
“Not the result I hoped for but very clear and dealt with quickly and efficiently”
“The best organisation I have dealt with in years”
“Even though our complaint did not get the outcome we would have liked, your service was courteous, prompt and efficient, so thanks for that”
“I was delighted with the solicitous and highly efficient way in which [PCC staff] handled my complaint and with the robustness of the adjudication”
Send us your own feedback