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Complaints Standards Authority Update June 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Social work

We have been working closely with social work services to ensure that authorities are fully compliant with the changes in complaints handling procedures (CHPs).  In particular, we have encouraged authorities to ensure that their online information is accurate, and there are no inappropriate references to complaint review committees.  We have fully signed off nearly half of all authorities’ complaints procedures as compliant with the requirements.  Of the remaining assessments, some only require website changes to achieve full compliance. We have been encouraged by the positive approach authorities have taken to improving their complaints procedures.  Some areas have chosen to amalgamate their local authority and social work procedures, while others have services more closely aligned to health services and have developed procedures which take account of these close working relations.  We are applying a flexible approach to this, with the overall aim of ensuring that customers can easily identify how to make a complaint and what will happen when they complain.  We are, however, also ensuring that there are no omissions from any amalgamated procedure, by checking them against all relevant model CHPs.

Integrated health and social care

As well as having procedures for their health and social work services, Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) which are listed under the SPSO Act 2002, must have a CHP which complies with the Principles approved by parliament in January 2011.  To support IJBs, we have developed a template CHP (based on the Model CHP for Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and Associated Public Authorities in Scotland) which should simplify this process for them. The template is available here.  IJBs must adapt and adopt this template CHP by 3 July 2017.  We have been in touch with all IJBs about these requirements, and are pleased that many are progressing towards adoption in time for the deadline. 

Any queries about the social work or IJB CHPs, please contact


The new NHS Scotland model CHP came into effect on 1 April 2017 and applies to all providers of NHS services in Scotland.  We are now approaching the end of the first quarter of the implementation of the new procedure and several boards have told us that the focus on early resolution and the person-centred approach is working well.

The Scottish Government have asked boards to confirm to them that they are meeting the requirements of the new procedure, and we are supporting this by ensuring that boards’ procedures are fully compliant. 

Complaints Handling Networks

Local government

The benchmarking sub-group met on 14 June to consider the early findings of the local authority 2016-17 annual returns. The majority of local authorities have now submitted their complaints data for 2016-17. An update on progress will be presented at the next network meeting in Glasgow on 23 June.


The next meeting of the Complaints Handling Advisory Group will take place in September.


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


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

Best practice tools and advice

Our Valuing Complaints website provides a centre for best practice in complaints handling. It contains information to help support improvement, including: model CHPs for public services in Scotland; implementation and compliance guidance; and good practice tools and training resources. 

The CSA is available to provide advice, guidance and support in respect of all aspects of good complaints handling.  You can contact them at

Updated: June 21, 2017