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Complaints Standards Authority Update June 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Download the June CSA Update (PDF, 179KB)

Further Education

The complaints handling advisory group held its annual ‘Improving Complaints Handling’ event in April. Delegates were updated on the key findings of the sector’s complaints performance for 2014-15. It was recognised that learning from complaints, and the ability to demonstrate this learning, should be a priority area for the sector moving forward.

Delegates also enjoyed a presentation on the advisory group’s work on developing standardised complaints categories for colleges. It was agreed that the sector would move to adopt the standardised categories from the start of the next academic year. Other sessions included case studies on complaints management processes and an update on measuring and driving improvements through customer satisfaction feedback.

A further session featured ‘An Introduction to the Complaints Improvement Framework’. Edinburgh College reported that they had trialled the framework to better understand their complaints handling performance. As a result the college developed a complaints improvement plan. Delegates then participated in workshops to consider the six areas of good practice to identify the priority areas to be addressed by the advisory group over the next year.

Feedback on the event was extremely positive in respect of the excellent work this network is doing to identify and share best practices in complaints handling. We encourage any college that wants to know more about the advisory group to contact us at


The housing complaints handlers network next meets on 22 July in Glasgow.  Members will be updated on the findings of the previous two quarters’ complaints performance information. This will allow for the benchmarking of performance to improve service delivery.

The network will also look at the categories of complaints currently recorded by member associations. The intention is to replicate the work of the further education advisory group to arrive at a standardised set of complaint categories that may be used by Registered Social Landlords. Members will also consider the current approach to seeking customer feedback on the complaints procedure to learn from one another and to identify opportunities to improve the way in which this feedback is captured.

Local Government

The local government complaints handlers network met in June.  Members enjoyed a presentation from Patient Opinion/Care Opinion. Patient Opinion is about honest and meaningful conversations between patients and health services. The basic principle is that people share their story of using a health service online. The story is sent to staff in the appropriate organisation so that they may learn from the experience. Care Opinion in Scotland adopts a similar approach to telling stories through a website where service users and carers can safely share their experience of care at registered care providers. Knowledge of this resource was felt to be particularly valuable to those organisations providing integrated care services.

We presented a session on the forthcoming changes in respect of social work complaints and responded to questions about how the changes would impact on local authorities. Other sessions included an examination of how well prepared the network is to face future challenges, and discussions on the priorities for the network over the next year.

Members unanimously agreed to a proposal that the network be co-chaired by South Lanarkshire Council and Fife Council. Members also acknowledged the need to provide additional support to the network in relation to the administration and facilitation of meetings.


Our work to develop a revised NHS model complaints handling procedure (CHP) continues to make good progress. The project is led by a steering group (chaired by CSA) and supported by three discrete working groups, each tasked with developing key parts of the revised procedure. These are the CHP development group; the data recording and reporting group; and the learning and training group.

The June meeting of the steering group considered outputs of each working group. The draft model CHP and supporting documents, together with the final reports from the data recording and reporting group and the learning and training group, were agreed by the steering group. We will now work closely with the Scottish Government to prepare the draft procedure for publication. We will also engage with NHS Education Scotland (NES) through the learning and training group to provide a program of activities to support NHS organisations as we move towards planning for the implementation phase. The NHS model CHP will be implemented by NHS Scotland from April 2017.

SPSO Training Events

Upcoming courses (all based in central Edinburgh)

Complaint investigation skills (stage 2 of the model CHP) 1-day open course
Tuesday 29 November

Managing Difficult Behaviour
Wednesday 28 September

These are open to staff from all sectors under the SPSO’s jurisdiction.

Full course details are available on the SPSO Training Unit website.

For general information see our flyer: SPSO Training 2016 (PDF, 40KB)

For more information and to book spaces, please contact

Updated: March 8, 2017