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Complaints Standards Authority Update – July 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Further and higher education – compliance statements and self-assessments

By the required deadline of 28 June, the vast majority of colleges and universities had provided us with a statement that they had complied with the new model complaints handing procedure (CHP) and their self-assessment. Early indications confirm that significant progress has been made in both areas towards full implementation of their CHPs by the required date of 30 August. We are working through the information provided and will respond directly to each institution advising of the outcome of our assessment.

Further and higher education – e-learning courses
We have been working with representatives from the FE and HE sectors to finalise a complaints handling e-learning programme. This will be made available to all colleges and universities in Scotland through our virtual learning portal.

The e-learning training modules have been developed to help with the introduction of the model CHPs for each sector. They provide an opportunity for staff to think about complaints and how they handle them. They include real life scenarios so learners are able to practice new knowledge and skills in a safe environment and they also demonstrate how complaints can be used to improve services.We are grateful to our sector partners for their help in developing these products.

To register and gain immediate access to the e-learning modules visit the SPSO Training Centre at For further information about our training unit, including the direct delivery courses we offer, contact Kerry Barker, Training Coordinator at

Further education – online complaints handling tool
We are pleased to report that Cumbernauld College, supported and guided by the Quality Development Network and College Development Network, have developed a complaints handling tool that will be available for use by all colleges, permitting a consistency of recording and reporting across the sector. Throughout the development process, Cumbernauld College worked closely with the CSA to ensure that its work complied with the requirements of the model CHP. The launch of the college’s ‘Online complaints handling tool’ is due on 12 August and we commend the sector for its progress in this important area.

Local authority complaints handlers network
The local authority complaints handlers network continues to convene regularly, with the most recent meeting being hosted by Glasgow City Council in June. It was attended by over 30 complaints handlers from across the sector. A full agenda included the further development of a performance management framework; sharing learning about assessing customer satisfaction; and a complaints surgery where attendees helpfully shared knowledge, experiences and their learning from complaints.

The next meeting of the network is on 20 September, and will again be hosted by Glasgow City Council. If you are interested in joining the network please contact and we will provide your details to North Lanarkshire Council, who co-ordinate the network.

Model CHP for the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and associated public authorities in Scotland
As a reminder, each organisation is required to comply with the model CHP by the end of March 2014.  However, by 30 September each organisation should provide the SPSO with a compliance statement, and a self-assessment of compliance to confirm that their CHP complies with the published model CHP, or will comply by the end of March.

The model CHP and associated documents are available on this website:  Please contact if you have any questions about the model CHP, or your obligation to implement.

SPSO training – investigation skills open course
We will be running an open course in investigation skills (Stage 2 of the model CHP) on 4 September in Edinburgh. The course will be open to all sectors.We will use a variety of case studies and while examples will be mainly drawn from housing and local authority areas, delegates from other areas will have an opportunity to discuss their specific issues.

We have a maximum number of 20 for the course and will allocate places on a first come first served basis (although should there be demand for more we may be able to run a second open course).  For more details about the course including about booking please visit: or contact us at

Updated: March 8, 2017