A survey in 2010 revealed that only about 50% of Scottish citizens who took valid complaints against public bodies to the SPSO were satisfied by the way they were treated. Even some of the ‘very satisfied’ customers were unhappy with some aspects of their experience. Unsurprisingly, this kind of survey has not been repeated.

The then Ombudsman, Jim Martin, seemed complacent about his poor satisfaction rate, apparently unaware that customer satisfaction with the UK Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in 2011-2013 was 72-95%.. Further afield, for six ombudsmen in Australia and New Zealand, the figure is around 86%. And in Gibraltar the ombudsman achieves a satisfaction rate of over 95%. By these standards, therefore, Scotland does very badly.

Jim Martin dismisses his poor statistics as the inevitable result of complainants not getting their desired outcomes. However, the high satisfaction rate in Gibraltar is achieved despite the fact that the ombudsman only settles about a quarter of his cases in the complainants’ favour.