2018 Client Satisfaction Survey Report - Executive Summary
The Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) provides independent scientific laboratory services to support the administration of justice and public safety programs across Ontario. CFS clients include law enforcement officers, crown attorneys, defence counsel, coroners, pathologists and other official investigative agencies. Forensic science services include the provision of analytical test reports in the areas of biology, chemistry, documents, firearms and toxicology.
The CFS has measured client satisfaction on an annual basis since 2000. Client satisfaction measures are used by the Ministry of the Solicitor General to assess CFS performance. Obtaining feedback from clients is also a requirement of the accreditation standards to which the CFS adheres.
The client survey is used to evaluate the performance of the CFS against the organizational commitment to provide high quality forensic laboratory services in support of the administration of justice and public safety programs for all Ontarians.
In February 2019, 3,193 invitations to participate in the survey were successfully delivered and 627 responses were received by the CFS (20% response rate). A different sampling strategy was used in the 2018 survey and may have contributed to the increase in responses from 2017.
The majority of responses were provided by police officers (81%), which are also the main client group in terms of submissions in 2018. Other categories of respondents were Crown Attorney and Pathologist (4% each), Conservation Officer and Coroner (2% each), Defence Attorney and Fire Investigator (1% each) and Other (5%).
Client satisfaction is one of the performance measures that the CFS reports to the Ministry of the Solicitor General each year. The CFS sets a target of 87% client satisfaction and this target has been exceeded annually since 2007. Figure 2 shows overall client satisfaction for years 2009 to 2018.
The CFS has experienced an unprecedented increase in the demand for services since 2015 (Figure 3). Demand for services is currently exceeding capacity and resultantly, turnaround times are increasing. Despite efforts to mitigate the growing workload, satisfaction of CFS services will be impacted.
In the 2018 survey, clients were asked about their level of satisfaction in key areas of interaction. Themes that were identified included:
Information, assistance, time to respond to inquiries, and technical support provided by CFS staff
Evidence web-submission process
Overall experience with laboratory reports
Quality of training provided by CFS staff
Some key highlights from the 2018 survey:
Clients continue to express high levels of agreement when asked about satisfaction regarding information & assistance (90%), time to respond (76%) and technical support (77%) provided by CFS staff. However when compared with 2017, lower agreement was identified in all three areas.
In 2018, when asked if they were satisfied with the online process of evidence submission, 75% of clients agreed with the statement. This shows an increase from 2017 and may be associated with increased familiarity with the web-submission process.
Clients continue to express high levels of satisfaction with the ease of understanding, thoroughness and level of detail of reports. However, comprehension of reports continues to be the subject of recommendation for improvement in the open-ended response area (13% of comments).
Since 2017, there has been a decrease in satisfaction regarding the CFS training. 17 comments provided in the open-ended response area indicated lack of awareness of training available and described a need for more training opportunities.
Of the 627 responses received in this survey, 183 open-ended responses were recorded (29%). 65 (36%) of them recognized and appreciated the high quality of services provided by the CFS, including areas of client support.
The CFS is committed to engaging with clients and seeking continuous feedback. The following are some where efforts are underway to address client input:
Recommendations following the 2017 Client Satisfaction Survey aimed to improve turnaround time in all cases. However as shown in Figure 3, the CFS is experiencing an unprecedented demand for service and as such, response times are increasing and will ultimately have an impact on satisfaction with CFS services.
CFS Training provision
In 2018, the CFS embarked on a review of Client Training to ensure its provision was appropriate and accessible for clients while recognizing resources constraints. A Working Group was created and staff worked to revamp the organization’s approach. The CFS also contacted a number of client training coordinators to seek input on the type of courses sought, preferred schedule and delivery format.
A Client Training Portal is due to be launched in 2019 which will provide clients with a calendar of training opportunities based on information gathered through the review. Dedicated training will be provided on a range of subjects, including the use of the CFS Web Submission Portal, i.e. how to submit evidence.
The CFS remains committed to monitoring performance and identifying opportunities to improve customer service. Efforts will also be undertaken to address responses provided to this survey. This will include embedding feedback into the web-submission process, increased use of technology to communicate with clients and a revamped approach to Client Training.