I'm introducing another form of transparency into the process of handling public complaints. It involves making note on this blog and on Twitter (@cbcombudsman) of any reviews I've agreed to conduct.
I'll disclose this information very soon after alerting both the complainant and CBC programmers. I'll outline very broadly (and briefly) the nature of the complaint. In keeping with a recent change to policy, I'll also identify the complainant.
To help the public understand what is being reviewed, I'll also attempt to provide links to the relevant programs and online content. In some cases, though, the complaints will involve full-length programs that might not be electronically accessible, and I'll note that.
This practice is congruent with several other institutional processes, most notably registries of meetings and freedom of information requests. I believe it helps in a few ways. Mainly, it informs the public about the nature (and extent) of the reviews I'm conducting. The reviews themselves are conducted confidentially, but there aren't strong reasons not to indicate they're under way.
I'm also going to establish a private system of weekly email alerts to each complainant on the status of reviews. The process takes patience, but at least some ongoing communication can chronicle that.
This approach will be applied only to new reviews, not to the backlog of cases.
I'm also at work on some other measures to enhance the process. I'm open to your suggestions, too.