New research published recently shows that just one-third of people that are unhappy after using a public service actually make a complaint, despite an overwhelming number feeling that they should.

The research by the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman service is based on the results of a national survey – carried out in March and which questioned 4,263 people – to gauge the public’s attitude over the last 12 months to complaining about those public services, such as the NHS in England, which the ombudsman service investigates in the event of unresolved complaints.

The data shows that people overwhelmingly support the right to complain and that 90% feel that if they are unhappy with a public service they should complain.

When it comes to actually making a complaint – to a hospital, GP or jobcentre, for example – the research reveals a gap between what people believe they should do and what they actually do.

According to the data, almost two in three people that are unhappy with a public service don’t actually make a complaint and 29% of those say they believe that complaining will not make a difference.

The research finds the following other reasons why people who feel unhappy with a public service don’t complain:

  • 14% think it would be more hassle than it was worth
  • 9% feel it would be too time consuming
  • 7% don’t know where to go to make a complaint
  • 6% don’t think it will be taken seriously

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