Faith in power of complaint on the rise

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More than one in three people think complaining about public services is a waste of time, according to a report today. But people are becoming more confident about making complaints, Lady Wilcox, head of the Citizen's Charter Complaints Task Force, said. The task force commissioned a poll by Mori which found:

n 38 per cent of people think complaining is pointless;

n 52 per cent of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the outcome of a complaint to public services;

n For every one whose complaint is resolved, another's is not (both 37 per cent);

n Less than a quarter - 23 per cent - of those who complained got an apology.

The figures form part of a new good-practice guide for public services published yesterday by the force. It issued a final report, Putting Things Right, after two years' public sector research.

Lady Wilcox said: "People have started to feel much more confident about complaining. They have started to feel there is likely to be a response.

"People are not so placid any more. They are becoming angry. Because they are angry they are becoming more demanding. If their expectation is being raised and it is not being met they are likely to say so," she added.

John Horam, the Citizen's Charter minister, called for good habits to "enter the bloodstream of the public sector. You can't force people to do these things ... It has to come from a sort of esprit de corps."

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