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Complaints Standards Authority Update July 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Social work
We are continuing to work closely with organisations that provide social work services to ensure that they have implemented a revised complaints handling procedure (CHP) that is fully compliant with the social work model CHP.  We are also checking that organisations’ websites provide accurate and up-to-date information on the new process without any references to complaints review committees. 

We are pleased to report that we have fully signed off the majority of complaints procedures as fully compliant with the requirements. Of the remaining assessments, some only require website changes to achieve full compliance.

The purpose of the social work CHP is to provide a standardised approach to handling customer complaints about social work services, whether they are provided by councils or by health and social care partnerships (HSCPs). In particular, the aim is to implement a consistent process for organisations to follow which makes it simpler to complain, ensures staff and customer confidence in complaints handling and encourages organisations to identify and make best use of lessons from complaints.

Further information on the social work CHP is available on our website here.
Integration Joint Boards
Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) are listed under the SPSO Act 2002 and, therefore, must have a CHP which complies with the principles approved by parliament in January 2011.  We have developed a template CHP, available on our website here for IJBs to adapt and adopt. The deadline for IJBs to submit their CHPs for compliance checking was 3 July 2017 and we are grateful to those that have done so. For those who have not yet submitted their CHP, please contact the CSA at with an update on your progress.

Significant progress has been made by the sector to adapt and adopt the NHS Scotland model CHP across all health boards.  We are working closely with the Scottish Government to assess compliance of the CHPs. The majority of the CHPs submitted have been assessed as only requiring minor amendments in order to be fully compliant with the model and we expect good progress towards full compliance to continue over the next month.

Complaints Handling Networks

Local government

The timely submission of draft data for 2016-17 from local authorities meant that the network meeting on 23 June was able to focus on benchmarking activities. This enabled members to compare and contrast their complaints data in groups of comparative local authorities and engage in detailed discussions about the headline figures and opportunities to learn from one another.

Some members highlighted the ongoing challenges of reporting accurately against the performance indicators using their complaints system.  Based on cross-sector learning, we have arranged for members of the benchmarking sub-group to visit New College Lanarkshire to experience and evaluate the college sector’s complaints handling tool. The findings of this visit will be shared with the full network.

The next meeting of the local authority complaints handlers network will be in Edinburgh on Friday 15 September.


The next meeting of the Complaints Handling Advisory Group will take place on Thursday 14 September.


The next meeting of the university complaints handlers network will take place on Friday 25 August.


The next meeting of the housing complaints handlers network will take place on Friday 18 August.

For more information about the networks, contact

Updated: July 19, 2017