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Complaints Standards Authority Update August 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Download the CSA Update August 2015 (PDF, 41KB)

Complaints Standards Authority update

Local government
Since our last update, agreement has been reached with the Improvement Service to provide support to the Complaints Handlers Network in analysing complaints handling performance across the sector against the requirements of the SPSO performance indicators.

Each member of the network has been asked to provide their council’s 2014/15 annual data for each of the indicators in a standardised way. The Improvement Service will use this information to produce a report, with headline findings, in time for the next network meeting in October 2015, when the development of guidance to support the learning from complaints will be a feature of the meeting.

The Scottish Government issued an invitation to Health Boards for expressions of interest to form a working group on the development of a model complaints handling procedure (CHP) for the NHS. Members have now been identified and the working group will hold its first meeting in September 2015. The aim of the group will be to work with the CSA to develop a standardised model CHP for the NHS within the framework of other model CHPs developed and introduced across the public sector in Scotland, and also to consider issues around implementation. It will take account of appropriate amendments to the regulations and directions associated with the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 and to the Scottish Government’s  ‘Can I help you?’ guidance. Further information will be provided to working group members in advance of the meeting.

The most recent meeting of the Housing Complaints Handlers Network was held in August at NG Homes, Glasgow. The theme of the meeting was complaints handling performance during the year 2014/15 and in the first quarter of 2015. Full performance information was provided by 14 Registered Social Landlords against the requirements of the SPSO performance indicators for the housing sector.

The key findings of the data analysis included that:
• 88% of complaints were closed at stage 1 of the complaints procedure;
• 64% of complaints were upheld at stage 1;
• 54% of complaints were upheld at stage 2.

The data also showed that, on average, complaints were closed in 4.4 days at stage 1 and 15.2 days at stage 2.

The full data analysis will be provided to network members to allow for comparisons across the sector and to enable learning from one another.

The meeting was also updated on the Scottish Housing Regulator’s thematic inspection in relation to complaints.  The inspection is looking at 12 landlords and considering how these landlords: make tenants and customers aware of their right to complain; promote their complaints handling procedures; monitor complaints performance; learn from complaints; and report performance and good practice. The inspection will also look at how landlords use the SPSO self-assessment indicators to understand and improve their performance. The regulator’s report is due to be published towards the end of the year.

Further information on the role of the network, including details of how you may join, can be obtained from

Further education
The next Complaints Handling Advisory Group Meeting will take place on Wednesday 9 September 2015, in Stirling. The group will consider progress around complaints categories and the approach to measuring customer satisfaction.

We would encourage any colleges that wish to join the Further Education Complaints Advisory Group to contact us at, and we will pass your details on to the Chair of the group.

Training Unit

Spaces are still available for the first ever SPSO Conference

Thursday 8 October 2015
COSLA conference centre, Edinburgh

Complaints processes generally concentrate on ‘putting it right’ for the consumer. Using the intelligence that can be derived from complaints, how can we ensure we ‘get it right’ next time for everyone else? How do we ensure that our complaints processes and responses are fit for purpose and allow us to identify where there is learning and meet the needs of the consumer?

Keynote speakers from the SPSO and public and private sector organisations will talk about their real-world challenges in changing organisational culture, embedding potential learning and improving future practice. A series of workshops and ample networking opportunities will enable delegates to meet with colleagues across the public sector and beyond.

Who should attend?

  • Those with lead responsibility for monitoring and improving organisational performance
  • Managers with responsibility for organisational learning from complaints and feedback
  • Quality Assurance Managers
  • Complaints and customer service managers
  • Organisations with an interest in consumer redress.

Where and when?
9am – 4pm, COSLA conference centre, Edinburgh (near Haymarket train station)
Price: delegate rate £150 pp, including refreshments and conference materials

For booking forms or further information, please contact us at

Training Courses available to book now

Complaint investigation skills (stage 2 of the model CHP): 1 day open course
The next course for staff handling second-stage complaints (Investigation Skills) with spaces available is on Wednesday 11 November 2015 in central Edinburgh. This is open to staff from all sectors under the SPSO’s jurisdiction.

Course price (per course): £180pp – to apply, please email

For more SPSO course information, please visit the SPSO Training Unit website:

We also have a flyer available which details all of the training available from SPSO in 2015 (PDF, 40KB)

Updated: March 8, 2017