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Complaints Standards Authority update – April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Local authorities

The local authority complaints handling network, hosted by Glasgow City Council, met on 28 March 2014. 41 stakeholders attended, with 26 of Scotland’s 32 councils represented.  The purpose of the meeting was to consider benchmarking of complaints handling performance, and the journey towards service improvement. The group heard guest presentations, including from Police Scotland about how complaints about the police are used to assess performance and public confidence, and from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who explained their approach to recording complaints, analysing performance and identifying opportunities for improvement.  The Improvement Service (IS) also presented three benchmarking options to the network, with an assessment outlining the pros and cons of each.

North Lanarkshire Council facilitated a workshop to establish how the network wished to progress with benchmarking. It was agreed that benchmarking will take place as part of the Local Government Benchmarking Framework and that the IS will provide the lead role. This is in keeping with the CSA’s discussions with the IS about the analysis and benchmarking of SPSO complaints performance indicators, and the potential to include these within the wider SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) benchmarking indicators, which would include IS involvement in collecting and analysing information.

The network also considered how best to demonstrate ‘Learning from Complaints’.  Members agreed to look at what happens locally to them and share these examples with network colleagues with a view to working together to develop a good practice guide for the sector.

This network is run by the sector for the sector and those who regularly attend recognise the value that it provides for them and for their council. The network 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 at

Further education

At the request of New College Lanarkshire, the CSA team delivered an awareness session on complaints handling and the requirements of the model CHP to approximately 50 senior staff and complaints handlers from across the different college campuses.  The event covered the background to the work of the CSA; the operational requirements of the model complaints handling procedure (CHP); examples of complaints, requests for service and appeals; the roles and responsibilities in managing complaints; recording, reporting and publicising complaints performance; SPSO performance indicators; learning from complaints and the ongoing support that the CSA can provide for organisations.

Following the successful launch of the new further education complaints handling advisory group, the group are working on detailed terms of reference for the Quality Development Network Steering Group to agree.  The group will meet again to discuss the way forward and the key deliverables they can work towards.

Again, this advisory group is run by the sector for the sector with SPSO as equal members. We encourage any sector representatives who are keen to join, or to learn more about the work of the group, to contact the CSA team at

Model CHP for the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and associated public authorities in Scotland

The Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and all associated public authorities in Scotland are now required to have implemented, and be handling complaints within, the requirements of the model CHP.  All organisations within this sector have intimated that they were on target to achieve a successful implementation of the model CHP, and throughout the implementation phase we provided advice, guidance and support to organisations who requested our support.

We would like to remind organisations that the CSA team continue to be available to them for advice, and to respond to any operational queries that may arise during the early phases of operating the model CHP.  In this circumstance, or where organisations find they have a need for additional support, we encourage them to contact the CSA at

NHS review of complaints handling

The Scottish Health Council’s review of NHS complaints handling (commissioned by the Scottish Government) is due to report shortly.  The review involved visits to all NHS Boards to meet senior management teams and those responsible for complaints and also sought patients’ views on the operation of the feedback and complaints arrangements.  The CSA was consulted on potential areas for improvement. We look forward to working with the NHS, the Scottish Health Council, Health Improvement Scotland, the Scottish Government and other stakeholders to help take forward areas of improvement and share good practice identified in the review.

Updated: March 8, 2017