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Complaints Standards Authority Update December 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Stakeholder engagement

Over the past month we have met with NHS staff to begin to review the current subject codes used in recording complaints and we have been involved in planning events with NHS Education Scotland and the Patient Advice and Support Service for early 2018. We also held a workshop on the second day of The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland Practice Managers’ annual conference which covered SPSO process, SPSO complaints statistics, in particular relating to health and GP practices, and the SPSO resources that we have developed for complaint handlers around self-assessment of complaint handling arrangements and tools for investigation.

We also worked closely with The Pensions Ombudsman around dual signposting and attended their first stakeholder event at the end of November. This brought together stakeholders from across the pensions industry and involved open discussion around the customer journey and informal dispute resolution.

We presented to members of Scotland’s Housing Network on an overview of the SPSO, statistics for the housing sector, complaints performance indicators and the resources available to drive improvement in complaint handling.

CHP compliance checks


The vast majority of NHS boards’ CHPs have now been signed off as fully compliant and we continue to work with those boards whose CHP has not been signed off.

Health and Social Care

We are waiting on final minor amendments to one or two last complaints procedures, before we can confirm compliance for all social work and Integration Joint Board complaints procedures.  Those remaining are largely compliant, and the final amendments are largely related to customer facing information available through websites.


Social Work – this group will meet again in February 2018 in Glasgow.

Colleges – this group will meet again in March 2018 in Stirling.

Housing – the date of the next housing network is still to be finalised.

Local Authority – this group met on Friday 24 November in Glasgow.

Following recent changes and new attendees to the network, the chair asked members to introduce themselves and ensure that the list of network members was up to date. The group were also asked to consider and give feedback on the terms of reference for the network, which were drawn up when the group was established some five years ago. We provided an update to the group around the SPSO annual report, the annual letters that were sent to local authority Chief Executives in October, and we also provided year-to-date statistics for the sector together with a summary of some recently published SPSO decisions.

We also drew attention to the research report ‘Scotland’s Model Complaint Handling Procedures: Exploring recent developments and the usefulness of complaint data for administrative justice research’ by the University of Glasgow and Queen Margaret University which was recently published. In light of one of the recommendations of this report, the group considered different examples of customer satisfaction surveys that are used in local government and other sectors in order to develop a standardised survey that all local authorities can use.

A representative of the college complaints advisory group presented to the network on the work the college sector undertook to develop and implement standardised complaints categories across the sector.

Universities – this group met on Monday 11 December in Glasgow.

We updated the group on news from the SPSO, including the recently published SPSO Annual Report 2016-17, and our work to update our guidance on apology. We also spoke about the conference held in partnership with Queen Margaret University and the University of Glasgow on 5 December about the impact on public sector employees of being complained about, and the launch of our second thematic report, which links with the theme of the conference. We also provided news from other sectors including the launch of the report about the model CHP in the local government sector and the good practice guidance being developed in the housing sector. We also provided information on the year-to-date statistics for the university sector and took questions from the group around the SPSO process and terminology used in SPSO statistics tables.

The group will meet again in April 2018.

Updated: December 20, 2017