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Complaints Standards Authority Update – May 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our work to create standardised complaints procedures and improve complaints handling standards across Scotland’s public services continues.

Higher and further education – compliance statement and
e-learning materials
Following on from our complaints procedures standardisation work in other sectors, all universities and colleges are required to implement the model Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP) by 30 August 2013. Using the online self-assessment and pro-forma, each university and college should, by 28 June 2013, provide the SPSO with a statement confirming that they will comply.

We are currently developing e-learning materials for the higher and further education sectors, to help organisations provide training and awareness-raising for frontline staff involved in complaints handling. We aim to have these available online by June.

NHS complaints handling training
As the Ombudsman notes in his Commentary, e-learning modules for NHS frontline staff on feedback and complaints handling will be launched this month. We have developed these with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) as part of the Scottish Government sponsored ‘Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints’ project. The project aims to provide training and education for NHS staff to support the requirements of the Patients’ Rights Act 2011.

Further training and education for NHS staff on feedback and complaints handling will be delivered later this year. This will aim to provide more focused training for complaints officers, managers and senior managers on various aspects of their responsibilities for complaints handling.

Local authority complaints handlers network – performance indicators
The local authority complaints handlers network, which was established in September 2012, met on 26 April at Stirling Council. The key area for discussion was the performance reporting framework, including performance indicators and a suggested best practice internal reporting framework. The final performance indicators, against which local authorities will be required to report annually, will shortly be circulated to the network and will be published on this website.

The next meeting of the network will take place on 21 June, hosted by Glasgow City Council. If you are interested in joining please contact and we will provide your details to North Lanarkshire Council, who co-ordinate the network.

Housing complaints handlers network
In response to requests, a further meeting of the network for RSL complaints handlers is being planned. We will issue further information about this shortly.

Model CHP for the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and associated public authorities in Scotland
A number of organisations have contacted us for further information about this model CHP. For clarification, it applies to all central government public authorities, including executive agencies, executive, advisory and tribunal non-departmental public bodies, non-ministerial departments and the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and associated Parliamentary bodies and commissioners.

Each organisation is required to comply with the model CHP by the end of March 2014. By 30 September 2013 each organisation should provide the SPSO with a compliance statement, and a self-assessment confirming that their CHP complies with the published model CHP, or that it 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 it.

The CSA Team is always available to provide specific advice or support to complaints handlers across the public sector. Please address any questions to

Updated: March 8, 2017