CFS 2016 Client Satisfaction Survey

Centre of Forensic Sciences

2016 Client Satisfaction Survey Report

  1. Introduction

The Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) provides independent scientific laboratory services to support the administration of justice and public safety programs across the province. The clients of the CFS 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 Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) to assess CFS performance. Obtaining feedback from clients is also a requirement of the accreditation standards to which the CFS adheres.

  1. Executive Summary

The annual CFS 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 the citizens of Ontario.

In January 2017, 1,919 invitations to complete the survey were successfully delivered and 420 responses were received (22% response rate). This rate shows a slight decrease from 2015 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 - CFS 2016 Client Satisfaction Survey Response Rate

Response rates - 2011-2016

2011 - 33%
2012 - 31%
2013 - 29%
2014 - 25%
2015 - 28%
2016 - 22%

Respondents to the 2016 survey (see Figure 2) are considered to be representative of the CFS client base, based on evidence submissions. The police interact most frequently with the organization and as such, they were the largest client group surveyed and provided the highest number of responses to the survey.

Figure 2 - CFS 2016 Client Survey Respondent Breakdown

Respondent breakdown - 2016

police officer - 80%
coroner - 5%
Crown attorney - 4%
pathologist - 3%
fire investigator - 3%
defence attorney - 3%
conservation officer - 1%
other - 1%

Client satisfaction is one of the performance measures that the CFS reports to the ministry each year through the Program Review, Renewal and Transformation (PRRT) process. The CFS sets a target of 87% client satisfaction and this target has been exceeded since 2007. Figure 3 shows the overall client satisfaction for the years 2008 to 2016. Client satisfaction increased from 91% in 2015 to 96% in 2016.

Figure 3 - CFS 2016 Client Satisfaction Rating 2008-2016

Client Satisfaction 2008-2016

2008 - 88%
2009 - 89%
2010 - 88%
2011 - 93%
2012 - 91%
2013 - 90%
2014 - 90%
2015 - 91%
2016 - 96%

  1. Highlights

The CFS asked clients about their level of satisfaction in the following key areas of interaction between the organization and clients:

  • Evidence submission process
  • Timeliness of CFS services
  • Overall experience with laboratory reports
  • Information, assistance and technical support provided by CFS staff and
  • Quality of training provided by the CFS.

The following are some key highlights from the 2016 survey:

  • Report turnaround time (TAT) continues to be of high importance to clients. The average TAT for 2016 was 37 days and 80% of survey respondents agreed that the TAT met their needs, a decrease of 5% from 2015.
  • Clients continue to show satisfaction with the thoroughness of lab reports but also indicated there is room for improvement on the wording/language used.
  • Some clients indicated that the CFS training meets their needs. Others highlighted lack of awareness of training provided by the CFS and requested better communication on training opportunities.
  • Clients continue to express a high level of satisfaction with the information, assistance and technical support provided by CFS staff and the time taken to respond to enquiries.
  • Of the 420 survey responses received, 120 included individual comments (28%). 
    • 47% of written comments were clients expressing satisfaction and recognizing the high quality services provided by the CFS
    • 40% identified areas where there may be room for improvement and
    • 13% reflected clients’ other ideas and suggestions.

The CFS values the qualitative comments provided by respondents as they can be used to inform service reviews or provide information about future organizational initiatives. It is hoped that a growing proportion of respondents will use this mechanism to feed into the CFS on issues that are of greatest importance to them.

  1. Looking Ahead – CFS Actions and Responses

The CFS is proactively addressing the top three areas identified in 2016 as requiring improvement:

  1. Reduction in report TAT

Through continued evaluation of incoming evidence, CFS recently reviewed its performance targets. As a result, the CFS revised the report due date based on the type of case and whether the submission related to the investigative phase or the litigation phase.

Using this approach, new TAT targets are as follows:

  • A 30-day TAT target applied to:
    • Serious offences against the person and Special Investigation Unit cases in the investigative phase.
    • Coroner’s cases that require non-complex Toxicology and Biology analysis.
    • Letters of opinion (LOP) requested in response to litigation priorities (e.g. Toxicology LOP on impaired driving cases).
  • A 60-day TAT target applied to:
    • All other submissions.
  1. Evidence submission process

On June 5, 2017, the CFS completed the phased roll-out of the new Evidence Web-Submission System. Implementation of the new system ensures that correct information is shared between submitters and the CFS prior to evidence being sent to the laboratory. It is expected that this process will reduce turnaround time by addressing case related issues/problems before the submission of the items to the CFS.

Clients will benefit from a more efficient and effective submission service, where only those items which have been pre-approved for acceptance are delivered to the laboratory.

  1. Understandable reports

The CFS is reviewing both the format and content of reports. This initiative will entail consultation with clients, to ensure results and conclusions are both scientifically accurate,