The local authority complaints handlers network met on 20 June. The theme of the day was ‘Benchmarking – the next steps’, with an emphasis on service improvement and good practice. The Improvement Service gave a presentation, and a workshop followed at which some early baseline information from councils was considered.
The next session was ‘Learning from Complaints’, followed by a complaints surgery where topics of discussion included the arrangements for elected members using the complaints procedure, the development of case studies to support e-learning investigations training and the Scottish Government’s consultation to support the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act (on Health and Social Care Integration).
The network is run by the sector for the sector and provides a valuable forum within which to share knowledge and experience in managing complaints. Membership is open to all complaints handlers, managers and senior managers across the sector. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact the CSA team directly at CSA@spso.org.uk.
We would like to remind local authorities that they are required to report on their performance in handling complaints annually, in line with SPSO requirements. It is for them to decide the most appropriate way of meeting this requirement, which may be online and/or by including the information in their annual report.
The second meeting of the Complaints Handling Advisory Group for the further education sector took place on 10 June at The College Development Network in Stirling. The meeting agreed a remit for the group and its membership. Issues discussed included the provision of a webinar for colleges during the new term, performance indicators against which to measure and report performance in complaints handling, and learning from complaints. The meeting also agreed the value of holding a regular ‘complaints surgery’ to share knowledge and learning as a standing item on the group’s agenda.
The Complaints Handling Advisory Group is run by the sector for the sector. Although still early in its development it is clear that it provides an excellent forum for FE complaints practitioners, managers and senior managers to share knowledge and develop sector wide solutions to shared issues. We encourage any sector representatives who are keen to join, or to learn more about the group to contact the CSA team directly at CSA@spso.org.uk.
The requirements for registered social landlords to report on their performance in handling complaints are set out in the SPSO complaints self-assessment indicators for the housing sector (PDF, 184KB), developed in partnership with HouseMark, the Scottish Housing Best Value Network and the Chartered Institute of Housing. We would reiterate the need for RSLs to publicise this information for the year 2013/2014. The information they publish will help to facilitate continuous improvement in complaints handling and benchmarking between RSLs.
The next meeting of the network is planned for later this month and we will shortly send members an update with details. As with the local authority complaints handling network, the housing network is run by the sector for the sector and we would encourage those who may be interested in attending to contact the CSA team directly at CSA@spso.org.uk.
Model CHP for the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and associated public authorities in Scotland
We continue to work closely with organisations that need support, advice or guidance in relation to their implementation and operation of the model complaints handling procedure for the sector. We will continue to monitor compliance both through the complaints that we are asked to consider and through the activities of the CSA. If and where there is a need for additional support we encourage organisations to contact us directly
Health and Social Care Integration
The Scottish Government have published for consultation regulations to support the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act (on Health and Social Care Integration). In our response to the consultation we will be mindful of the need to ensure suitable complaints arrangements to address the requirements of different statutory processes.
NHS complaints procedures
As we reported last month, the Scottish Health Council’s report Listening and Learning – How Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints Can Improve NHS Services in Scotland recommended that the CSA should lead on the development of a more succinctly modelled, standardised and person-centred complaints process for NHS Scotland.
We met recently with one NHS Board to learn about the challenges it faces in dealing with complaints, and we will continue to liaise directly with Scottish Government and NHS stakeholders as we take this work forward.