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Local Authority

The local authority model Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP) was published on 28 March 2012 under section 16B of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (as amended by the Public Service Reform (Scotland) Act 2010). In line with section 16C of the SPSO Act 2002, the Ombudsman notified all local authorities in Scotland that the relevant model CHP applied to them with effect from the date of publication.

The CHP was developed through a working group of local authority complaints experts and in consultation with key partners, including the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the Improvement Service and Audit Scotland. 

Monitoring compliance and performance

Under the terms of the SPSO Act 2002 all local authorities have a duty to comply with the model CHP.  Compliance is monitored by Audit Scotland in conjunction with the SPSO and in line with the principles of the Shared Risk Assessment (SRA) arrangements. Monitoring of compliance is risk based and proportionate.  In addition, the Ombudsman may issue a declaration of non-compliance where any specified authority does not comply.

Further details on monitoring of compliance and performance are included in the Implementation Guide.

Performance indicators developed in partnership with the Local Authority Complaints Handlers Network help councils to understand their complaints handling performance in more detail. They also ensure that councils are capturing consistent and directly comparable information to enhance their benchmarking of complaints performance with their peers. The indicators formalise the indicative indicators originally published in the Local Authority Model Complaints Handling Procedure Implementation Guide and are linked to the core recording, reporting and publicising requirements within the model CHP. 

All local authorities have, since 2013/14, been required to assess complaints handling performance against these performance indicators using existing self-assessment frameworks, and to publish on an annual basis performance in handling complaints.

Please direct any queries regarding the local authority model CHP or monitoring arrangements to the CSA team at

Updated: May 2, 2017