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Complaints Standards Authority Update – December 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Further and higher education – model complaints handling procedures (CHPs) to be published in December

The model CHPs and associated student/customer leaflets for the FE and HE sectors have been finalised and will be published in December. They will be accompanied by an implementation guide outlining requirements for adoption and compliance, including timescales for returning self-assessment compliance forms to SPSO. The documents will also include an outline of how the requirement to adopt the CHPs will be incorporated into the Scottish Funding Council’s financial memorandum for FE and HE institutions and an outline of performance indicators.

Local authority complaints handling network

The local authority complaints handling network met most recently in late November at Renfrewshire Council.  The main focus of the meeting was implementing the model CHP. The network enjoyed an excellent presentation from Queens Cross Housing Association about the benefits and challenges in implementing the CHP. The network also shared respective experiences of implementing the CHP across council services, including potential challenges with the implementation and actions to successfully resolve these issues.
The network agreed the requirement to work towards producing a ‘Learning from complaints’ guide. A number of attendees volunteered to form a sub group to take this work forward, and will update the next meeting of the network with their proposals about this.

The network will meet again in January, when it will discuss performance indicators in regards to complaints handling, standardised complaint categories, self-assessment of performance and the monitoring role of Audit Scotland.

Registered social landlord model CHP

We have written to the majority of RSLs outlining our assessment of their compliance. We have also written to other RSLs who have not yet been in touch with us to remind them of the requirement to update us of their progress towards implementation as soon as possible by sending their pro forma to CSA@spso.org.uk.

We have provided the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) with a summary of our assessment and will keep them updated on progress.  Overall we are pleased with the positive response from the sector to adopting the model CHP.

SPSO self-assessment indicators for the housing sector

We have finalised the production of the ‘SPSO self-assessment indicators for the housing sector’ guide which has been designed to complement the SHR’s monitoring of the Scottish Social Housing Charter. This will be published in December. The guide provides a list of high level indicators for monitoring complaints handling under the SPSO’s model CHP for RSLs and the local authority model CHP for housing complaints. The indicators provide the basis for self-assessment and benchmarking activities around the CHP.

Housing complaints handlers network

Information will be provided shortly on the dates and agenda for the next meeting of the RSL complaints handling network.  If you would like more information about the network, or are interested in joining, please visit the forum or contact the CSA for details.

Training and Valuing Complaints forum

Our e-learning training modules on frontline resolution are available through our training centre at www.spsotraining.org.uk. These courses have been developed to help with the introduction of the model CHPs for each sector. This training is available to all public sector bodies and is currently free.

We are also running complaints handling training courses for all sectors in January. These include frontline complaint handling (stage 1 of the model CHP) and complaint investigation skills (stage 2 of the model CHP).

As always, the CSA team will be happy to provide further information on any aspect of this work and can be contacted at CSA@spso.org.uk. We would also encourage all complaints handlers to log on and join the discussions on the online complaints handling forum.

If you have any questions on implementation, put them up on the forum and you will get a response from the CSA team or from other complaints handlers.  Further information is also available on this website.

Fair and Equal: How does the Equality Act 2010 affect complaints handling in Scotland?

If you’ve not seen our article on the implications of the Equality Act 2010 for people working in the public sector, including in complaints handling, you can read it here.

We would ask anyone working in complaints handling within the public sector in Scotland who has already begun to work on equality and complaints handling, developed good practice policies and procedures or indeed is struggling with a particular area of the Equality Act, to provide comments on the article or ask questions through the Valuing Complaints forum or by contacting the CSA team.

Updated: March 8, 2017