Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fiddling Comeback Statistics

During 2005 an investigator working for the Local Government Ombudsman stated to me.

(Investigator's comments) (Me)

‘…this is the rub, when it is registered as a re launched comeback on our computer systems, it opens up the whole field of the complaint now your initial complaint and I’ve got the file here, I don’t have the original file but I think the report was dated 97 but your original complaint came in 1997 and that would have the effect of looking, as far as our statistics are concerned, which I always find terribly tedious, but we’ve got to have all these returns for the government, we have certain targets one of which is that we have to discontinue investigations, or 98 percent of investigations within a year, your investigation would look as though it had been ongoing for about 7 years wouldn’t it’ ‘well it has’ ‘sorry’ ‘well it has’ ‘it has, it absolutely has …… one complaint effectively that distorts all of your figures, because it is so much longer than all the others you know it pulls your general averages down,’

Yet another reason why they won’t comeback on a complaint, it pulls their averages down;

'Well the, the horrible thing about statistics, about the government’s targets, and I’ve seen this in other area’s apart from the Ombudsman office, and it’s true in the prison service, it’s true in all of the public services, that the work is skewed to meet the statistics. (My emphasis)

They do I think influence decisions that you make, they influence the daily lives of investigators, without a doubt'

Now we know why they won’t comeback on complaints and prefer instead to register them as new complaints. That devious ‘skewing’ tactic generates two positive ticks on their stats instead of one negative tick because they had to comeback on a bad decision.

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