The following informal notes were given to Rosemay Agnew at the start of our 90 minute meeting, together with copies of the recent article in Scottish Review and of the  document of 27/1/2017 specified below. These notes are a good guide to what we discussed.

Notes for meeting of Mr. Peter Stewart-Blacker, Dr. Richard Burton, Professor Walter Humes with SPSO Rosemary Agnew.  

Thursday 15th June 2017

Who Accountability Scotland are. Why we were we formed.  Implication of our existence.

Concern for administrative justice generally, but recruitment in the past has been mainly due to experience with SPSO.

If we can be of help to the SPSO, it may be mainly through our knowledge of complainant experiences.

A particular concern is the lasting psychological damage that can result from injustice and poor complaint handling. (This seemed to make an impression at our meeting of 27th January – see below.)

Document from AS website on our meeting on 27th January with Huw Williams, Susan Duffy and Janice Crerar.  On orange paper.

This is not all relevant to the SPSO, as much of it relates to our efforts to get government/parliament interested in administrative justice.  

Much of this is self-explanatory, e.g. item 8 (How SPSO performance might be improved).

However, we might wish to discuss further such items as ISO 9001, ADR (alternative dispute resolution), the customer dissatisfaction survey

Implications of the Kevin Ruddy case

See our recent article in Scottish Review (with printed version on yellow paper)

http://www.scottishreview.net/Cafe255az.html

Links to the relevant court cases are as follows:

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2011-0258-judgment.pdf

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/search-judgments/judgment?id=e3b186a6-8980-69d2-b500-ff0000d74aa7

We interpret this as a major ruling for administrative justice, but need the definitive opinion of an advocate.

Jim Martin made the following two points to the LGRC  (see emails of Professor Ben Paechter:)

  1. Mistakes by the SPSO are inevitable.                   
  2. All complainants can request a review if they are unhappy with a decision.  This is untrue.

Therefore many wrong decisions will never be rectified.

Two points about local authorities - the variation in their annual reports on complaints handling and the problems members of the public have in contacting council staff.