Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Source: Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGOS)


Many people who complain simply want an apology. A good apology is short and straightforward. You should show empathy, accept responsibility, acknowledge the impact on the person and explain how it will put it right.


It is recommended you use the Scottish Ombudsman’s guidance on apologising; which includes the 4Rs of an apology:

  • Regret (I am sorry)
  • Responsibility (we didn’t)
  • Reason (e.g. process your application on time)
  • Remedy (e.g. I have now fast-tracked your application)


It covers how to say sorry in specially tailored complaints handling courses aimed at the independent sector. More information is available below:

» Click here to read more


Signposting- Are you doing enough?

All providers are being called upon to check their complaints processes to ensure clients and their families are being made aware of their right to complain to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGOS). 


LGOS’s Annual Review of Adult Social Care Complaints revealed the volume of complaints they received from people who pay for their care in 2018-19 is still lower than expected. It is thought that many people remain unaware they can complain to LGOS because not all care providers are correctly explaining this in their complaints processes.


LGOS has a whole host of resources available on its website, which offers help on everything from template letters and complaints procedures to signposting guides.

» Click here to access the LGOS’s resources

» Click here to view the annual adult social care review reports



Ombudsman Decisions are Final

When the Local Government& Social Care Ombudsman (LGOS) end their investigation and issue a decision, that decision is final.


LGOS give care providers several opportunities to contribute to the decision during the life of an investigation. This is through their response to enquiries and at the draft decision stage. They also look for agreement from the care provider if they are recommending a remedy, prior to them closing a case.


Once that agreement is given they expect the care provider to adhere it.


It is totally unacceptable for a provider to try to engage the complainant in any form of non-disclosure agreement as the basis for completing the remedy or to ask the complainant to keep the outcome of the complaint confidential. 


LGOS investigate in private which means that during the life of the complaint they do not expect information to be shared. However, three months after a decision is issued they publish the majority of cases on their website. These decisions are anonymised. They do this in this in an open and transparent way to help others learn from the complaints they investigate.