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Complaints Standards Authority Update June 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CSA Update June 2015 (PDF, 42KB)

Local Government
The Local Government Complaints Handlers Network met most recently on 12 June 2015.  Issues considered by the network included good practice in dealing with complainants who have mental health issues, learning from complaints, the peer review of annual complaints reports and solutions to complaints handling issues through the complaints surgery.

Building on the positive outcomes of annual complaints reporting for 2013/14 which produced the first ever baseline of complaints performance information for the sector, the network will soon be looking at the performance in the year 2014/15.  This information will be compared with the baseline data and will be used benchmark for improved performance across the sector.

Our work continues towards bringing forward changes to the NHS complaints handling arrangements. This includes liaising closely with key stakeholders to examine the present arrangements and to consider opportunities for improvement.  For example, we recently met with Tayside NHS to consider the issue of how complaints from prisoners are handled within a prison heath centre.  We will continue to work closely with our NHS partners as we work towards developing a model complaints handling procedure (CHP) for the NHS, which takes account of the framework of the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011, is based on the current guidance while prioritising the early resolution of complaints, and places a learning from complaints requirement on service providers.  More information will be provided in our following updates.

The next meeting of the Housing Complaints Handlers Network will be held in July.  We would like to remind all attendees that as part of the meeting we will consider the quarterly performance information of members against the requirements of the SPSO complaints self-assessment indicators for the housing sector (PDF, 184KB).  We ask that attendees prepare their complaints performance information from the first quarter of 2015/16 in advance of the meeting so that we may move quickly towards benchmarking performance within the network.

We are encouraged that interest in this network continues to grow.  Further information on the role of the network, including details of how you may join can be obtained from

Further education
The Further Education Complaints Advisory Group is making excellent progress as it works towards driving up the standards of complaints handling and learning from complaints across the sector.  It met most recently on 8 June 2015 when the issues discussed included the use of the ‘online complaints handling tool’, a review of the successful workshop event held in May, complaints categories and key performance indicators, measuring customer satisfaction with the complaints process and the impact of complaints on the quality of learning, teaching and support services across the sector. A small working group will consider the current categories of complaints used across the sector in more detail with a view to identifying opportunities to standardise across the sector.  The group will also review the current approach to measuring satisfaction with the complaints procedure with a view to identifying and sharing good practice across the sector.

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.

Higher education
We encourage all higher education institutions to contact us directly at for advice on performance reporting, the compliance requirements of The Scottish Higher Education Model Complaints Handling Procedure or for generalist advice on complaints handling.

Training Events

Bookings are now open 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 SPSO, 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

Booking forms are now available from

Booking now:
Complaint investigation skills (stage 2 of the model CHP): 1 day open course
Wednesday 9 September 2015, central Edinburgh

Our next open training course for staff handling second-stage complaints (Investigation Skills) is on Wednesday 9 September 2015 in central Edinburgh. This is open to staff from all sectors under the SPSO’s jurisdiction. Full course details are available on the SPSO Training Unit page.

For more information and to book spaces please contact

We have more information about courses that we can offer to organisations in our new flyer: SPSO Training 2015 (PDF, 40KB)

Updated: March 8, 2017