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Complaints Standards Authority Update November 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Download the CSA Update November 2015 (PDF,153KB)


We continue to work closely with the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to plan for the development of the revised NHS model complaints handling procedure (CHP). A project steering group was formed with a supporting project and governance structure. Three sub-groups will lead the development work in key areas (drafting of a model CHP and associated documents; recording and reporting; and training and learning), with each sub-group reporting on progress to the steering group. All key stakeholders, including users, will be involved in this process. The current plan is for the NHS model CHP to be published in 2016 and implemented from April 2017.

Integration of Health and Social Care

Further to our previous update, we would remind readers that the Scottish Government is currently running a consultation to seek views on the draft Order to revise the procedures for complaints about social work. This consultation seeks views on the draft Order to amend the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 to allow the SPSO to investigate complaints in relation to the substance of social work decisions. The draft order also proposes to amend the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 in relation to the sharing of information by the Care Inspectorate with the SPSO; and amend the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 to abolish the existing system of local authority social work complaints and allow a model complaints handling procedure prepared by the SPSO to be introduced. The consultation runs until 14 December.

Local Government

The local authority complaints handlers network met in October in Glasgow. The main theme was ‘learning from complaints’, with case studies being presented by three councils to demonstrate learning as a result of complaints.

The network also enjoyed a presentation from the Improvement Service communicating their early findings in relation to complaints handling performance across the sector in Scotland.  Encouragingly, the complaints handling performance of councils is largely similar to the previous year, with improvements on performance being noted against some of the indicators.  Key findings included 81% of complaints being closed at stage 1 of the CHP with improvements in the time taken to handle complaints being evident across the sector.

Further education

The first phase of work to consider standardised complaints categories has been delivered by the City of Glasgow College. This takes account of feedback from colleges regarding the categories they currently use, and presents a proposed set of standardised categories for the complaints advisory group to consider. This  proposal, together with work on customer satisfaction with the complaints procedure and the annual complaints performance of the sector, will be considered by the group.


The housing complaints handlers network hopes to meet in January where it will have the opportunity to consider the complaints handling performance over the previous two quarters.
Further information on the role of the network, including details of how you may join, can be obtained from


We have a new course available on Managing Difficult Behaviour.

Who should attend?

Staff who might receive negative feedback from the public or other stakeholders.

What does it cover?

  • why people complain and what they want to achieve by complaining
  • how people react in situations of conflict and how this can give rise to behaviours that cause problems
  • ways to de-escalate potential complaints and look at what can go wrong when concerns are responded to badly
  • how an unacceptable actions policy (or equivalent) can be helpful in dealing with situations which become difficult

Participants will be given an opportunity to assess their own conflict styles and develop ways of managing their own personal ‘triggers’. We will consider a number of different theories and tools that can be helpful in managing conflict. The session will include a number of opportunities to put theory into practice, and participants will be able to discuss their own particular concerns.

For details on cost and location, and to apply for the course, please email

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

Updated: March 8, 2017