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The Care Inspectorate


Introducing agile working to improve the complaints-handling process

The Care Inspectorate is a scrutiny body which supports improvement. That means they look at the quality of care in Scotland to ensure it meets high standards. Where improvement is needed, they support services to make positive changes.

Using an agile approach, we’ve developed a new application for handling complaints which has reduced the time it takes to log complaints, and cut the time needed to produce reports. This will streamline the process for staff and it means complainants, whether they’re people receiving care, carers or care service employees, also get a better experience.


Key successes

  • list

    developed a new application to support the increase in customer complaints

  • time

    reduced the time it takes to log a complaint with the Care Inspectorate by over 75 per cent

  • target

    enabled the Care Inspectorate to set a new target of handling 80 per cent of complaints in 40 days

  • schedule

    the new application will save staff over 400 working days per year when logging and triaging complaints

Supporting social care work across Scotland

Interview with Stuart MacKenzie, Regulatory development and Quality manager at Care Inspectorate
Interview with Stuart MacKenzie, Regulatory development and Quality manager at Care Inspectorate

The Care Inspectorate’s work ranges from inspecting and assessing the quality of outcomes for people who live in care homes to registering child minders. It also includes investigating complaints and taking enforcement action.

The Care Inspectorate receives 50 per cent more complaints now than three years ago. But its ageing IT system was feeling the strain and urgently needed to be replaced. The Care Inspectorate asked us for help.

Developing a new approach for handling complaints

In partnership with NHS Education for Scotland as part of the cross-Scottish-government collaboration initiative, we developed a solution. We built a new application to handle complaints, from logging and triaging to investigation. We took a user-centred approach and built the application using an agile process that let us test the evolving system with users week by week. We were then able to feed the learning back into development. A more traditional process would define design early on without including users, and risk not meeting their needs.

The new application was built entirely on Microsoft Azure, a cloud platform providing the ability to connect into existing Microsoft estate, which accelerated the application launch. With the new application staff save time because they won’t have to cut and paste information from different systems. It will save inspectors’ time by compiling their reports automatically as they go, based on the information they gather and record on the app. It’s also reduced the time it takes to log complaints in the contact centre by over 75 per cent. All this means that the Care Inspectorate hopes to increase the number of complaints they handle within the 40-day KPI to 80 per cent.

Delivering a better experience for staff and customers

We’re also developing a new system for registration, which will be easier to use and help staff handle more work. Along the way, we also found the Care Inspectorate could streamline registration by no longer asking for information that it never used in decision-making. This means customers, including care home administrators and child minders, also get a better experience.

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We helped the Care Inspectorate improve the customer complaints process by introducing #agile working

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Chris Steel

PA healthcare expert