Why Case studies

Case studies are needed in order to define what is generically going wrong.

The last part of a case study is the "Preventive Action". That is what society needs to make an organisation do in order to prevent another similar occurrence.
How might that happen ? One way is for Accountability Scotland to make proposals for changes in the Law, or Rules of Conduct, or Byelaws, or what ever needs to be amended.

Writing a Case Study

A Case Study is NOT a complaint.

It is a means to an end as is intimated above.

A Case study should contain FIVE elements.

  • 1) A description of what happened - a brief history of events only.
  • 2) Next is a description of reactions - what exactly did the offending party do or not do.
  • 3) Then a description of your expectation - what should the offending party have done or not done.
  • 4) This is a necessary part: what should be done to CORRECT the situation: this might be nothing - a wrong leg amputated cannot be replaced. If permission to erect a building was given, but the building has NOT yet been erected, the correction should be to retract the permission granted.
  • 5) Lastly and most importantly, what can be done to prevent such a re-occurrence. In the case of the leg wrongly amputated it might be to insist that the hospital's checking procedures are improved, or if they exist to make sure that they are properly implemented; whereas in the case of a planning permission reversal it might be a matter of insisting on better staff training. The possibilities are endless.

About Preventive Action Plans

Whatever you want to recommend must be

  • Sensible, and
  • Feasible.

Wanting the impossible is impossible.

Demanding that which is possible, but is also fair and reasonable is most likely to gain acceptance from the authorities.

In order to achieve this interaction with the appropriate authority is a must. The existing rules and regulations need to be determined.
It may be that during the course of the events leading to the complaint [upon which the case study is based], the rules and regulations were changed - possibly as a means of escape by the authorities. Examples of this are:

  • 1) Sacking [or retiring early] a policeman or Social Services officer, so that they cannot face disciplinary charges.
    • This is a nonsense as the authority remains culpable whether or not the specific offender is still employed.
  • 2) Changing the rules as time proceeds so as to exclude a complaint.
    • This is also a nonsense. The rules in force at the time of the events is what is important.

However, if the changes that have been made are beneficial in prevent a future occurrence, then no preventive measures are necessary - they have already been implemented. Whereas if the changes that have been made are evasive in nature, then that is wholly unacceptable.