Further and Higher Education

Model Complaints Handling Procedures (CHPs), one for the Higher Education sector and one for the Further Education sector were published on 19th December 2012.  These model CHPs were published under section 16B of the SPSO Act 2002 (as amended by the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010) (the Act).  Under section 16C of the Act, all Universities and Colleges in Scotland were notified that the model CHP applies to them with effect from 19th December 2012.

These model CHPs are published in line with the recommendations of the Sinclair[1] report that the SPSO simplify and improve complaints handling by developing standardised CHPs.  Both the Higher Education and the Further Education model CHPs were developed in consultation with key stakeholders from each sector, including Universities Scotland, Scotland’s Colleges, and complaints experts from each sector.

The model CHPs and associated documents are available at the following links:

Higher Education:


Further Education:


Monitoring and compliance

Each University and College should, by 28th June 2013, provide the SPSO with a compliance statement, and a self-assessment of compliance to confirm that their CHP complies with the published Model CHP, or will comply with the published Model CHP by 30 August 2013.  All Universities and Colleges are required to have implemented the model CHP by 30 August 2013.

Compliance with the model CHPs will be assessed by the Complaints Standards Authority (CSA) and will be monitored by the CSA in conjunction with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).  In addition to the requirement to adopt the model CHP under the SPSO Act 2002 (as amended) adopting the model CHP will be a requirement of the SFC’s Financial Memorandum.  Further details on monitoring and compliance arrangements are provided in the Guide to Implementation referred to above.   Any questions about the model CHP, or the requirement to implement should be addressed to the CSA at csa@spso.org.uk