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Social Work

The Social Work Model Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP) was published on 15 December 2016 under section 16B of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (as amended by the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010).

Under section 16C of the SPSO Act 2002, the Ombudsman has notified all relevant authorities in Scotland that the Social Work Model CHP applies to them with effect from 1 April 2017. This applies to all organisations under the Scottish Public Services’s (SPSO's) jurisdiction that deliver social work services.

The Social Work Model CHP was developed in partnership with representatives from social work, health and social care, the Scottish Government and third sector organisations, together with other key partners from the public sector.

Changes to social work complaints handling have been brought about through the Public Services Reform (Social Work Complaints Procedure) (Scotland) Order 2016. These changes include provision for the Ombudsman to consider the merits of social work decisions as part of the SPSO’s independent investigation of complaints.

Transitional arrangements

It is important to note that while the 2016 Order abolishes the current social work complaints procedure, the new Social Work Model CHP cannot be implemented before 1 April 2017. This means that there will be a period of overlap between the two systems, as organisations must continue to handle all social work complaints received by them prior to 1 April 2017 through the current social work complaints procedure.  As a result they will need to provide Complaints Review Committee hearings for some time after 1 April 2017.

SPSO’s extended role with professional judgment will only apply where the original complaint is made to the local authority on or after 1 April 2017.

Integration Joint Boards

Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) are listed under the SPSO Act 2002, and as such are expected to have a complaints handling procedure which complies with the Principles approved by parliament in January 2011.  We have developed a template for IJBs (based on the Model CHP for Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and Associated Public Authorities in Scotland) which should simplify this process for IJBs.

The CSA would be happy to respond to any queries about these requirements.

Updated: June 2, 2017