Part II – Complaints Handling and Feedback - Follow-Up Report
1. The thematic report on Complaints Handling and Feedback was published in December 2015. 
Complaints Handling and Feedback Report
2. COPFS has a diverse and divergent 'customer base'. While some people have regular, professional contact with the service, for others, such as those bereaved by sudden or unexplained death, such contact is rare and probably unwelcome, occurring at a time of significant personal crisis or distress. Responding promptly, in easily understandable language, addressing their concerns and explaining decisions can make a difference and improve public confidence.
3. Complaints provide valuable insight into areas where there is scope for improvement in an organisation.
4. The aim of the inspection was to review and assess the effectiveness of COPFS complaints handling procedure ( CHP).
Key Findings 
5. There were a number of positive findings. In particular:
- We found that the complaints handling staff in the Response and Information Unit ( RIU), the specialist unit that handles complaints and feedback, were helpful and skilled, and that there was a genuine willingness and commitment to improve the complaints handling process.
- In the majority of cases examined efforts had been made to respond in full to all issues raised and where there was fault or poor service on behalf of COPFS, it was acknowledged, often with an apology. We rated the response from RIU to be excellent or good in 80% of replies.
- The appointment of a senior prosecutor to 'champion' customer service.
We also identified areas for improvement:
- The use of legal terminology or jargon and a lack of empathy evidenced by being overly defensive, using formulaic paragraphs and failing to provide reassurance were the most common features that detracted from the quality of the response.
- 30% of the complaints flowed from a perceived or real lack of service by COPFS.
- While staff in RIU and the Enquiry Point were committed to improving the complaints handling process, there was less evidence of 'buy in' from the wider organisation about the need to learn from complaints and to resolve complaints at the point of service delivery.
- Learning from complaints was not systematic. There was no register of themes, actions taken, lessons learnt and outcomes.
Victims' Right to Review
6. At the time of publication, the Victims' Right to Review ( VRR) a prosecutor's decision not to prosecute or to discontinue proceedings had only recently been introduced  and did not fall within the scope of the review. Dissatisfaction about decisions not to prosecute or to discontinue prosecutions was previously dealt with as complaints. In our complaints handling report, the largest number of complaints related to prosecutorial decision making. It is both timely and appropriate, therefore, to incorporate a thematic inspection of the Victims' Right to Review in the follow-up report on complaints handling.
7. It is the practice of the Inspectorate to conduct follow-up inspections to promote improvement and assess the effectiveness of recommendations and their outcomes.
8. This report details the findings of the Inspectorate's follow-up review of the complaints handling report.
- Follow up interviews with key personnel dealing with complaints;
- Review of COPFS practices, procedures and policies; and
- Dip sample of complaints received by COPFS in November 2017.
10. Between April 2017 and March 2018, COPFS recorded 563 complaints.  Of these 62 (11%) were dealt with by quick resolution ( QR) and 501 (89%) by the formal investigative procedure. Taking account of the 214 VRR applications, received over the same period, the overall number of complaints remains relatively static.
11. While there has been an increase in the number of complaints dealt with by quick resolution there is considerable scope to resolve more complaints at the point of service delivery.
12. Since the publication of the thematic report, there have been significant changes in COPFS that have impacted on the relevance and applicability of some of our recommendations.
13. The most significant change was a redesign of management structures, governance and working practices. In 2016, COPFS moved from a structure where the business was delivered via four Federations  to a national and functional model.
14. There are four functions; Local Court; Specialist Casework; High Court and Operational Support.
- The Local Court function provides a local prosecution service dealing with both summary  and sheriff and jury  business across Scotland. It has six geographic business units aligned with Sheriffdoms. It also incorporates the National Initial Case Processing Unit ( NICP), which has responsibility for initial decision making for all cases likely to be prosecuted in summary courts;
- Specialist Casework comprises of a number of specialist units including Health and Safety Division, Scottish Fatalities Investigations Unit and Serious and Organised Crime;
- The High Court deals with all High Court cases; and
- Operational Support includes Policy and Engagement Division; and other support functions including Human Resources and Information Systems Division.