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Complaints Standards Authority Update May 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Download the May CSA Update (PDF, 125KB)


Our work on developing a revised NHS model complaints handling procedure (CHP) continues. The most recent meeting of the project steering group, in April, reviewed the progress of each of the three working groups.  The draft procedure and public facing information is being updated to take account of comments from the steering group, and from a panel of volunteers convened by the Scottish Health Council.   The work of the data recording and reporting group is being finalised, with a final report being prepared for the steering group. Finally, the learning and training group have prepared options to deliver a program of learning events and training materials to support implementation of the model CHP.

Our intention remains for the NHS model CHP to be published during 2016 with implementation by NHS Scotland being introduced from April 2017.

Local Government

Linda Johnston of North Lanarkshire Council is stepping down from her role as chair of the local government complaints handlers network. Linda took on the role at the network’s inception in 2013, and much of its success can be attributed to her and her team who plan, organise and support each network event.  We are enormously grateful to Linda for her energy and expertise.  The new chair will be announced in due course.

Further Education

The FE advisory group’s annual complaints event was held in April. It included an overview of complaints handling performance across the sector for the academic year 2014/15.  The main findings were that while the number of complaints received had increased by 8% on the previous year, more were being closed at stage 1 of the procedure.  The average time to close complaints at stage 1 was 5.1 working days which is just outset the requirement of 5 working days, however, the average time to close complaints at stage 2 was 19.1 days, which is within the time requirement.

In addition to using performance information to benchmark across the sector, delegates enjoyed an update on the work done by the advisory group to develop categories of complaints, together with sessions on two different complaints management systems and a presentation on the approach to measuring and driving improvements through customer satisfaction feedback. The afternoon session allowed delegates to work in groups to apply the SPSO Quality Improvement Framework across six areas of good practice in complaints handling.  The outcome of this assessment will be used by the advisory group to inform its activities over the next year.

The advisory group provides a forum to identify and share good practice, and look at ways in which learning from complaints can be used to improve the services that colleges deliver. We encourage any college that wants to find out more to contact us at


Arrangements are currently being made for the housing complaints handlers network to meet again in June in Glasgow. If you would like to attend, please contact

Training Events

Since March, our training unit has, as usual, delivered courses to a wide variety of organisations. These include the Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Borders Council, Children’s Hearings Scotland, Grampian Housing Association and West of Scotland Housing Association. We are happy to deliver courses in organisations’ venues and there is more information in our flyer: SPSO Training 2016 (PDF, 40KB)

Upcoming courses (all based in central Edinburgh)

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

Thursday 23 June

Tuesday 29 November

Please note that booking forms for the June course should be returned to us as soon as possible to confirm your place.

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 more information and to book spaces, please contact

Updated: March 8, 2017