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Public services policy research, surveys and consultation responses

Every year, millions of people come to us with issues to do with government departments, local councils and public services.  It’s often not the content or quality of the service that’s the problem, but the interaction with the service that’s causing real harm - whether it’s unintelligible processes, contradictory information, intimidating language, unachievable requirements, or just radio silence.  Services that are designed by people, too often just don’t work for real people.

When services aren’t responsive it’s frustrating for the public - and when it comes to social care, health or justice, it can cause real harm. People return to services time and again because they don’t get the information they need first time. Services spend time and money counting cases they’ve closed, or users they’ve triaged, without measuring the knock-on problems elsewhere.  And when things go really wrong, complaints processes are nearly impossible to navigate and get what people want.

We draw on our data to look at a wide range of public services.  We are looking at the role advice can play in supporting health and mental health services. We’re analysing our data on mixed market public services like social care, dentistry and schools, to check people aren’t falling through the gaps of regulation, protections and redress. And we’re examining whether complaints processes could be reimagined to drive quality and flag failure.

Find out more about what our Consumer and Public Services policy team is working on.